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Sabatino v. Pill

United States District Court, N.D. West Virginia

December 11, 2017

COLEEN D. SABATINO, Plaintiff,
v.
RICHARD A. PILL, ESQ. and WEST VIRGINIA HOUSING DEVELOPMENT FUND, a public body corporate and governmental instrumentality of the State of West Virginia, Defendants.

          MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER DENYING PLAINTIFF'S MOTION FOR RECONSIDERATION AND MOTION TO STAY PROCEEDINGS TO ENFORCE JUDGMENT

          FREDERICK P. STAMP, JR. UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE

         I. Background

         The pro se[1] plaintiff, Coleen D. Sabatino, filed a complaint and motion for a temporary restraining order to prevent the foreclosure sale of property situated at 2083 Pinecrest Drive, Morgantown, Monongalia County, West Virginia. The defendants filed a motion to dismiss the complaint, to which the plaintiff filed a response and the defendants filed a reply. This Court granted the defendants' motion to dismiss, and the plaintiff has now filed a motion for reconsideration of that ruling.

         In her motion, the plaintiff argues that she was not sent a briefing schedule and was not informed that the Court had lifted the stay of the civil action, which was originally issued pursuant to the agreement of the parties. The plaintiff acknowledges that she received the Roseboro[2] notice but contends that there was prejudicial error in the Court allowing the defendants to proceed without allowing the plaintiff an opportunity to be heard. The plaintiff notes that she responded to the defendants' status report, which she argues was unilateral, argumentative, and beyond the scope of pure notice. The plaintiff also notes that she responded to the defendants' motion to dismiss and that the Court disregarded her legal analysis and argument. The plaintiff further contends that she has a viable contract for the sale of the subject property for the amount of $228, 000.00. Accordingly, the plaintiff requests a stay of execution of judgment for a period of 60 days and that this Court reconsider the previous final judgment.

         In response, the defendants argue that the plaintiff provides no grounds for relief under either Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 59(e) or Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 60(b). The defendants contend that, while the plaintiff argues that she was not afforded the opportunity to be heard, she timely filed a response to the defendants' motion to dismiss and a reply to the defendants' response in opposition to her motion for a temporary restraining order. The defendants also point out that the plaintiff filed her own status report with the Court. The defendants state that the Court made reference to the plaintiff's arguments in its order dismissing the civil action, but found that her arguments were legally untenable for various reasons. The defendants also argue that the plaintiff has provided no new facts that could not have been brought before this Court before its order dismissing the civil action.

         As to the plaintiff's request for a stay of execution of judgment, the defendants contend that there is nothing to execute because the Court dismissed the plaintiff's claims and denied as moot her motion for a temporary restraining order. The defendants further contend that the request for a stay of execution of judgment fails even if construed as a request for a stay pending appeal under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 62(c).

         II. Applicable Law

         “In case where a party submits a motion . . . which is unnamed and does not refer to a specific Federal Rule of Civil Procedure, the courts have considered that motion either a Rule 59(e) motion to alter or amend a judgment, or a Rule 60(b) motion for relief from a judgment or order.” In re Burnley, 988 F.2d 1, 2 (4th Cir. 1992).

         The United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit has recognized three grounds for amending an earlier judgment under Rule 59(e): (1) to accommodate an intervening change in controlling law; (2) to account for new evidence not available at trial; or (3) to correct a clear error of law or prevent manifest injustice. Pacific Ins. Co. v. Am. Nat'l Fire Ins. Co., 148 F.3d 396, 403 (4th Cir. 1998). “[Federal] Rule [of Civil Procedure] 59(e) motions may not be used . . . to raise arguments which could have been raised prior to the issuance of the judgment, nor may they be used to argue a case under a novel legal theory that the party had the ability to address in the first instance.” Id. A Rule 59(e) motion may not be used to relitigate old matters and is an extraordinary remedy that should be used sparingly. Id. It is improper to use such a motion to ask the court to “rethink what the court has already thought through -- rightly or wrongly.” Above the Belt, Inc. v. Mel Bohannan Roofing, Inc., 99 F.R.D. 99, 101 (E.D. Va. 1983).

         Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 60(b) permits courts to “relieve a party or its legal representative from a[n] . . .order.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 60(b). Such relief “is extraordinary and is only to be invoked upon a showing of exceptional circumstances.” Compton v. Alton S.S. Co., Inc., 608 F.2d 96, 102 (4th Cir. 1979). The moving party must first “show[] a meritorious defense against the claim on which judgment was entered as a threshold condition to any relief whatsoever under the Rule.” Id. The moving party must then demonstrate that one of the following grounds warrants relief:

(1) mistake, inadvertence, surprise, or excusable neglect;
(2) newly discovered evidence that, with reasonable diligence, could not have been discovered in time to move for a new trial under Rule 59(b);
(3) fraud . . ., misrepresentation, or misconduct by an ...

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