United States District Court, M.D. Pennsylvania
ANDREW J. ALLAM SR, Petitioner
LAUREL HARRY, Respondent
Introduction and Procedural History
before the Court are two motions to amend, (Docs. 50, 52), as
well as several letter requests to "reinstate"
appeal rights, (Docs. 51, 53, 54), filed by petitioner Andrew
J. Allam, Sr. ("Petitioner"). Petitioner seeks to
amend his motion for relief under Federal Rule of Civil
Procedure 60(b) (Doc. 46), which this Court has already
denied, (see Docs. 48, 49). Petitioner also requests to
extend the time in which he can appeal the denial of his Rule
60(b) motion, claiming he never received a copy of the
Court's memorandum opinion and order.
detailed factual and procedural background of this case has
been fully set forth in the magistrate judge's report,
(see Doc. 34 at 2-21), and knowledge of that extensive
background is presumed here. A short recitation of the
procedural history will suffice for the instant matter.
filed a petition for a writ of habeas corpus seeking relief
from his state-court convictions for dozens of charges
involving the sexual abuse of a minor. (Doc. 1). On February
21, 2017, Chief Magistrate Judge Susan E. Schwab issued a
comprehensive fifty-two page report recommending that
Petitioner's habeas claims be denied. (Doc. 34).
Petitioner filed numerous objections to Judge Schwab's
report, none of which was found to have merit. Thus, on April
4, 2017, the Honorable William W. Caldwell overruled
Petitioner's objections and denied the habeas petition.
(See Docs. 38, 39). A certificate of appealability was also
denied. (Doc. 42).
sought a certificate of appealability from the United States
Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit. (See Docs. 40, 43).
On July 24, 2017, the Third Circuit denied Petitioner's
request, finding that for "substantially the same
reasons given by the District Court and the Magistrate Judge,
[Petitioner] has not made a substantial showing of the denial
of a constitutional right nor shown that reasonable jurists
would find the correctness of the procedural aspects of the
District Court's determination debatable." (Doc. 45
(citing 28 U.S.C. § 2253(c)(2); Slack v.
McDaniel, 529 U.S. 473, 484 (2000))).
November 13, 2017, Petitioner filed, in this Court, a motion
for relief from judgment under Federal Rule of Civil
Procedure 60(b). (Doc. 46). On February 6, 2018,
Petitioner's case was reassigned from Judge Caldwell to
the undersigned due to Judge Caldwell's retirement. On
February 26, 2018, the Court issued a memorandum opinion and
order denying Petitioner's Rule 60(b) motion. (Docs. 48,
April 30, 2018, Petitioner filed a motion to amend his Rule
60(b) motion. (Doc. 50). The Clerk of Court sent a courtesy
copy of the docket sheet to Petitioner that same day, as the
Rule 60(b) motion had already been decided. In a letter to
the Clerk of Court dated May 2, 2018, Petitioner acknowledged
receiving the docket sheet but contended that he never
received a copy of the February 26, 2018 memorandum opinion
and order. (Doc. 51). He further requested that his appeal
rights be reinstated. (Id.)
weeks later, Petitioner filed another motion to amend his
Rule 60(b) motion, despite having actual knowledge that his
Rule 60(b) motion had been denied. (Doc. 52). He then sent
two more letters, essentially arguing that because he had not
received a copy of the opinion and order denying his Rule
60(b) motion, the Court should extend the time in which he
could appeal that denial. (Docs. 53, 54). For the reasons
that follow, Petitioner's motions to amend will be
denied, but the Court will reopen the time for Petitioner to
appeal the denial of his Rule 60(b) motion.
Standard of Review
Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 15, if more than twenty-one
days have elapsed after service of a pleading or service of a
responsive pleading, a party may amend only with the opposing
party's written consent or with leave of court.
Fed.R.Civ.P. 15(a)(1), (2). Leave to amend should be freely
given by the court when justice so requires. Id.
seminal case of Foman v. Davis, 371 U.S. 178 (1962),
the Supreme Court of the United States provided guidance for
when leave to amend may be denied. Circumstances that weigh
against granting leave to amend include undue delay, bad
faith or dilatory motive, repeated failure to cure
deficiencies by amendments previously allowed, undue
prejudice to the opposing party, and futility of amendment.
Foman, 371 U.S. at 182. "Futility" means
that the proposed amendment would fail to redress the
material insufficiencies or flaws found in the original
motion or pleading. Cf. Travelers Indem. Co. v. Dammann
& Co., 594 F.3d 238, 243 (3d Cir. 2010) (explaining
that, in context of denying leave to amend complaint that was
found insufficiently pleaded, "futility means that the
complaint, as amended, would fail to state a claim upon which
relief could be granted" (citation and internal
quotation marks omitted)).
seeks to amend his Rule 60(b) motion for relief from
judgment, which this Court previously construed as a motion
for relief under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 60(b)(6).
(Doc. 48 at 3-4). The Third Circuit has consistently
admonished that "the Rule 60(b)(6) ground for relief
from judgment provides for extraordinary relief and may only
be invoked upon a showing of exceptional circumstances."
Coltec Indus., Inc. v. Hobgood, 280 F.3d 262, 273
(3d Cir. 2002) (quoting In re Fine Paper Antitrust
Litig., 840 F.2d 188, 194 (3d Cir. 1988)). Relief under
Rule 60(b)(6) should be granted only "where, without
such relief, an extreme and unexpected hardship would
occur." Cox v. Horn, 757 F.3d 113, 115 (3d Cir.
2014) (quoting Sawka v. Healtheast, Inc., 989 F.2d
138, 140 (3d Cir. 1993)). "This is a difficult standard
to meet, and 'such circumstances will rarely occur in the
habeas context.'" Satterfield v. District
Attorney Phila., 872 F.3d 152, 158 (3d Cir. 2017)
(quoting Gonzalez v. Crosby, 545 U.S. 524, 528
addressing claims invoking Rule 60(b)(6), the Third Circuit
employs a flexible case-by-case analysis that "takes
into account all the particulars of a movant's case"
before determining whether Rule 60(b)(6) relief should be
granted. Cox, 757 F.3d at 122. The movant bears the