United States District Court, W.D. Pennsylvania
Flowers Conti, Senior United States District Judge.
closed case, plaintiff Thomas Davis (“Davis”)
seeks relief pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure
60(b)(3), (4) or (6). Davis filed identical pro se motions at
ECF Nos. 20 and 21. He alleges a fraud upon the court
involving corruption of the judicial process itself.
Defendants filed a response in opposition to the motions (ECF
No. 23) and they are ripe for decision.
forth more fully in the court's memorandum opinion of
August 22, 2018, which granted defendants' motion to
dismiss this case with prejudice, Davis contends that on
February 25, 1989 (now more than 30 years ago), he was
arrested and charged with a series of state robberies at
Allegheny County criminal information number 8904098. Davis
avers that on March 2, 1990, during an unrecorded pretrial
proceeding, he was definitively acquitted of all robbery
charges both in fact and in law. (ECF No. 3 ¶ 18). Davis
avers that despite this “acquittal, ” he remained
charged and confined at criminal information number 8904098.
(ECF No. 3 ¶ 19). Davis was released from imprisonment
on May 2, 2018. (ECF No. 3 ¶ 20). Davis seeks damages
under § 1983.
recognizes that on March 23, 2010, this court dismissed his
civil rights action at Civil No. 09-415, which asserted the
same claims. (ECF Nos. 3 ¶ 25, 6-4, 6-5). He seeks
relief from the judgment at Civil No. 09-415 pursuant to
Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 60(d)(1) and (3), asserting
it was induced by a fraud upon the court, namely that there
was a misstatement of his acquittal date (May 3, 1991 versus
March 2, 1990). (ECF No. 3 ¶¶ 25, 26). Davis also
pleaded in the complaint that the limitations period did not
accrue until his release from prison in 2018. (ECF No. 3
memorandum opinion of August 22, 2018, the court noted that
Davis' complaint suffers from several incurable legal
flaws and must be dismissed with prejudice, and explained why
the complaint must be dismissed on the grounds of res
judicata and statute of limitations. The case was marked
appealed to the United States Court of Appeals for the Third
Circuit, which affirmed the dismissal of Davis'
complaint. The court of appeals observed that Davis failed to
advance any argument with respect to the doctrine of res
judicata. (ECF No. 19-2). The court of appeals explained that
because the complaint was properly dismissed on res judicata
grounds, it did not need to address Davis' statute of
limitations argument. Id. The court noted that
Davis' argument about an incorrect date in court
documents did not satisfy the “high showing”
required to succeed on a theory of “fraud upon the
pending motion, Davis essentially asks this court to
improperly overrule the court of appeals' decision. Davis
contends that the court of appeals fraudulently avoided
addressing his statute of limitations arguments, did not
notify him of the decision until the mandate was issued
several weeks later, and failed to consider his exhibits
about his exoneration at CC:198904098. Davis argues that
these actions constitute a corruption of the judicial
vague and speculative accusations do not support a cognizable
“fraud on the court” claim. In Herring v.
United States, 424 F.3d 384, 386-87 (3d Cir. 2005), the
court explained that such actions are “so rare”
that a plaintiff has “not just a high hurdle to climb
but a steep cliff-face to scale.” Id. at 386.
“The concept of fraud upon the court challenges the
very principle upon which our judicial system is based: the
finality of a judgment.” Id. To state a claim,
there must be: (1) an intentional fraud; (2) by an officer of
the court; (3) which is directed at the court itself; and (4)
in fact deceives the court. A determination of fraud on the
court may be justified only by the “most egregious
misconduct” directed to the court itself, and must be
supported by clear, unequivocal and convincing evidence.
Id. at 386-87.
fell far short of this standard. His proper remedy, if he
disagreed with the decision of the Court of Appeals for the
Third Circuit, was to pursue a writ of certiorari to the
United States Supreme Court. This court is not permitted to
grant the relief he seeks. See Cyclops Corp. v. United
States, 408 F.Supp. 1287, 1291 (W.D. Pa. 1976)
(“The decisions of the United States Courts of Appeals,
of course, are binding upon the District Courts within such
reasons set forth above, the motions for relief filed by
Davis (ECF Nos. 20, 21) will be DENIED.
appropriate order follows.
now, this 25th day of June, 2019, for the reasons set forth
in the accompanying memorandum opinion, it is hereby ORDERED
that the motions for ...