United States District Court, M.D. Pennsylvania
JOHN E. JONES III JUDGE.
Lonnie Spellman (“Spellman” or
“Plaintiff”), a Pennsylvania state inmate,
incarcerated at the State Correctional Institution,
Frackville, (“SCI-Frackville”), Pennsylvania,
commenced this civil rights action on December 3, 2010. The
named Defendants are the former Department of Corrections
Secretary Jeffrey Beard and the following SCI-Frackville
employees: Deputy Superintendent Robert Collins,
Superintendent Michael Wenerowicz, Unit Manager George Evans,
Grievance Officer Peter Damiter, Assistant Coordinators
Joseph Lukashewski and Victor Mirarchi, Unit Manager Joanne
Miranda, Major Michael Lorady, Correctional Officers Michael
Throway, Ralph Johnson, and Kenneth Stutzman, the entire
medical department, and Thomas Derfler, and Anthony
Kovalchik. Plaintiff complains that he is a non-smoker and
that he would prefer not to share his cell with someone who
smokes. (Doc. 1). On March 14, 2011, Plaintiff filed an
amended complaint. (Doc. 13).
Memorandum and Order dated October 30, 2015, all Defendants
and claims were dismissed, except for Defendants Johnson and
Evans, and Plaintiff's Eighth Amendment claim based on
Environmental Tobacco Smoke (“ETS”). (Doc. 59).
On April 4, 2017, summary judgment was granted in favor of
Defendants Johnson and Evans and against the Plaintiff, and
the case was closed. (See Docs. 85, 86).
pending before the Court is Plaintiff's “Motion for
Relief on Order under Rule 60.” (Doc. 88). For the
reasons set forth below, Plaintiff's motion for relief
will be denied.
Standard of Review
motion for reargument/reconsideration may be filed pursuant
to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 59(e) or Federal Rule of
Civil Procedure 60(b). A motion for reconsideration filed
pursuant to Rule 60(b) “allows a party to seek relief
from a final judgment, and request reopening of his case,
under a limited set of circumstances including fraud,
mistake, and newly discovered evidence.” Gonzalez
v. Crosby, 545 U.S. 524, 528 (2005). Rule 60(b) provides
grounds for relief from a judgment, an order, or other part
of the record. Specifically, in order to prevail on a Rule
60(b) motion, the moving party must establish mistake,
inadvertence, surprise or excusable neglect; newly discovered
evidence; fraud or other misconduct; that the judgment is
void; that the judgment was satisfied; or any other reason
that justifies relief. Fed.R.Civ.P. 60(b)(1)-(6); see
also Frazier v. City of Philadelphia, No. 14-0756, 2015
WL 1383100 (E.D. Pa. Mar. 24, 2015); Hardwick v.
Warden, Civ. No. 12-1254, 2016 WL 4265727, at *1 (D.
Del. Aug. 8, 2016).
the court is mindful of its obligation to construe a pro se
litigant's pleadings liberally, Higgs v. Att'y
Gen., 655 F.3d 333, 339 (3d Cir. 2011); Capogrosso
v. The Supreme Court of New Jersey, 588 F.3d 180, 184 n.
1 (3d Cir. 2009); Haines v. Kerner, 404 U.S. 519,
520-21 (1972), Rule 60(b) motions are left to the sound
discretion of the trial court, consistent with accepted legal
principles applied in light of all relevant circumstances.
Pierce Assoc. Inc. v. Nemours Found, 865 F.2d 530,
548 (3d Cir. 1988); see also Hardwick, 2016 WL
4265727 at *1. The motion must be “made within a
reasonable time” and if the motion is based on reasons
(1), (2), or (3), then “no more than a year after the
entry of the judgment.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 60(c). Moreover,
the “party moving under Rule 60(b) for relief from a
judgment or order, must clearly establish the grounds
therefor, to the satisfaction of the district court.”
Talley v. City of Atlantic City, 2007 WL 2021792 at
*3 (D.N.J. Jul. 10, 2007); see also Federal Deposit Ins.
Corp. v. Alker, 234 F.2d 113, 116-17 (3d Cir. 1956).
Relief from a judgment under Rule 60 should be granted only
in extraordinary circumstances, and a Rule 60(b) motion is
not appropriate to reargue issues that the court has already
considered and decided. Brambles USA Inc. v.
Blocker, 735 F.Supp. 1239, 1240 (D. Del. 1990). It is
also well recognized that motions under Rule 60(b) “may
not generally substitute for an appeal.” Harris v.
Martin, 834 F.2d 361, 364 (3d Cir. 1987) (citing
Marshall v. Bd. of Education of Bergenfield, NJ, 575
F.2d 417, 424 (3d Cir. 1978)); see also Boughner v.
Sec'y of Health, Educ. & Welfare, 572 F.2d 976,
977 (3d Cir. 1978). Relief under Rule 60(b) is available only
under such circumstances that the “‘overriding
interest in the finality and repose of judgments may properly
be overcome.' ” Martinez-McBean v. Gov't of
the Virgin Islands, 562 F.2d 908, 913 (3d Cir.
1977)(quoting Mayberry v. Maroney, 558 F.2d 1159,
1164 (3d Cir. 1977)).
60(b)(3) provides relief from a final judgment where there
has been “fraud ... misrepresentation, or other
misconduct of an opposing party.” In order to prevail
under Rule 60(b)(3), the moving party must “establish
that the adverse party engaged in fraud or other misconduct,
and that this conduct prevented the moving party from fully
and fairly presenting his case.” Stridiron v.
Stridiron, 698 F.2d 204, 207 (3d Cir. 1982). What this
does not mean is that a plaintiff who fails to convince a
judge or jury is later entitled to relief under the Rule on
the basis of fraud. The fraud in Rule 60(b)(3) involves a
showing of: (1) intentional fraud; (2) by an officer of the
court; (3) which is directed at the court itself; and (4)
that “in fact deceives the court.” Gillespie
v. Janey, 527 Fed.Appx. 120, 122 (3d Cir.2013) (citing
Herring v. United States, 424 F.3d 384, 390 (3d
seeks entitlement to relief on the basis that he did not
receive Defendants' reply brief. Specifically, his motion
for relief states in toto:
On April 4, 2017, an order was sent to plaintiff, granting
defendants' motion for summary judgment. Exhibit A. The
plaintiff asks that this order be reconsidered due to fraud
and negligence on the part of the defendants. See Exhibit B
(motion to compel).
Defendants filed their motion for summary judgment. Plaintiff
filed a motion in opposition, he also filed a declaration
explaining how he was given the defendants summary judgment
motion by another inmate. Plaintiff will show through the
granting of the motion to compel discovery that the
defendants have directly or indirectly denied plaintiff due
process in his quest to correct a violation of his civil
rights. The plaintiff again asks if this motion is granted,
could his appointment of counsel be revisited, as well as his
(Doc. 88, Motion for Relief).
Plaintiff's allegations as true, Plaintiff fails to meet
the exacting standards required to secure relief under Rule
60(d)(3). Plaintiff identifies no evidence, whether direct or
circumstantial, that defense counsel ...