United States District Court, M.D. Pennsylvania
RICHARD CAPUTO UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
before the Court is pro se Plaintiff Ronald
Stockton's motion to reinstate his action pursuant to
Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 60(b). (ECF No. 19.) Mr.
Stockton seeks reconsideration of this Court's June 28,
2019, decision dismissing his Complaint due to his failure to
tender the filing fee in this matter or complete the
Court's application to proceed in forma
pauperis. (ECF No. 17.) The Court will deny Mr.
Stockton's motion for the reasons stated herein.
Standard of Review
Rule of Civil Procedure “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, 528-29, 125 S.Ct. 2641,
2645-46, 162 L.Ed.2d 480 (2005) as well as
“inadvertence, surprise, or excusable neglect.”
Fed.R.Civ.P. 60(b)(1). Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 60(b)
is a catch-all provision that permits a court to vacate a
final judgment, order, or proceeding for “any other
reason that justifies relief.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 60(b)(6).
Relief pursuant to Rule 60(b) is “extraordinary relief
which should be granted only where extraordinary justifying
circumstances are present.” Bohus v. Beloff,
950 F.2d 919, 930 (3d Cir. 1991). A Rule 60(b) motion
“may not be used as a substitute for appeal, and that
legal error, without more, cannot justify granting a Rule
60(b) motion.” Holland v. Holt, 409 Fed.Appx.
494, 497 (3d Cir. 2010) (quoting Smith v. Evans, 853
F.2d 155, 158 (3d Cir. 1988)).
April 27, 2019, Mr. Stockton, a state prisoner housed at
SCI-Houtzdale, in Houtzdale, Pennsylvania,
filed a pro se civil rights action concerning an
alleged use of force event that occurred on January 27, 2018.
(ECF No. 1.) On May 3, 2019, the Court advised Mr. Stockton
that he either needed to pay the $400.00 filing fee or
complete and file an application to proceed in forma
pauperis. (ECF No. 4.) A copy of the Court's
application to proceed in forma pauperis was
forwarded to Mr. Stockton. (ECF No. 4-1.) On May 7, 2019, Mr.
Stockton filed an “in forma pauperis
petition” which he drafted. (ECF No. 5.) Mr. Stockton
stated he was litigating three other actions and therefore
could not afford the additional garnishment of his inmate
account at this time if granted in form pauperis
status in this case. Instead, he proposed the Court to defer
any payment of filing fee in this matter until he fully
satisfied his other court imposed financial obligations. Mr.
Stockton authorized prison officials to deduct the filing
fees in this matter only when he completed his court fees in
other matters. ECF No. 5 at 2 (“I am only authorize for
such deductions to begin after the 20% deduction for case No.
as I has other court ordered obligations, and litigation
4, 2019, the Court rejected Mr. Stockton's hand-written
application to proceed in forma pauperis and again
provided him with a copy of the Court's application to
proceed in forma pauperis. (ECF Nos. 9 and 9-1.) On
June 10, 2019, Mr. Stockton filed a second handwritten
application to proceed in forma pauperis. (ECF No.
he conditioned his authorization allowing prison authorities
to deduct the filing fee installments from his account when
completed court ordered payments in his other cases.
Petitioner only authorizes a 20% deduction if it is after
Plaintiff's Court ordered obligation for No.
CP-51-CR-0002597-2007, that was in conjunction with No.
CP-51-CR-0001236-2007, Phila. County.
(Id. at 1.)
Plaintiff is willing to pay if the order by this court
explicitly states: “That the 20% deduction starts after
other court ordered obligations.”
(Id. at 2.) As of April 29, 2019, Mr. Stockton's
Inmate Account balance was $ 85.95. (ECF No. 13 at 7.)
28, 2019, the Court dismissed Mr. Stockton's Complaint
without prejudice after he failed to pay the filing fee or
submit the appropriate forms to allow him to seek in
forma pauperis status. (ECF No. 17.) On July 2, 2019,
Mr. Stockton filed a motion to ...