Villalobos v. New York State Division of Parole, Commissioner - Document 25
MEMORANDUM & ORDER denying 24 Motion re: 24 MOTION. For the foregoing reasons, Plaintiff Amaury Villalobos's Rule 52(b) motion is denied. The Clerk of the Court is directed to terminate the motion pending at ECF No. 24, mark this case closed, and enter a judgment dismissing the action in favor of Defendant. (Signed by Judge William H. Pauley, III on 9/13/2012) Copies Mailed By Chambers. (djc)
~. SDC -SDNY--~~~-
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
SOUTHERN DISTRICT OF NEW YORK
DOC #:_~_._._. _ _ __
09 Civ. 8431 (WHP)
MEMORANDUM & ORDER
-againstNEW YORK STATE DIVISION OF PAROLE
WILLIAM H. PAULEY III, District Judge:
By summary order dated August 28,2012, entered as a mandate on that day, the
Court of Appeals remanded this action to this Court with instructions to docket and decide
Plaintiff Amaury Villalobos's ("Villalobos") motion to amend the judgment pursuant to Federal
Rule of Civil Procedure 52(b). On September 12,2012, this Court docketed Villalobos's motion.
(ECF 24.) For the following reasons, Villalobos's motion to amend the judgment is denied.
This Court's August 23,2010 Memorandum & Order (the "August 23 Order")
sets forth the background of this action. Villalobos v. N. Y. Div. of Parole, No. 09 Civ.
8431(WHP), 2010 WL 3528926, at *1 (S.D.N.Y. Aug. 23, 2010). After this Court dismissed his
complaint, Villalobos moved to amend the judgment and this Court's findings. By letter dated
September 20,2010, the Clerk of the Court (the "Clerk") returned Villalobos's motion without
docketing it. As the Court of Appeals noted, this was a mistake because Villalobos's Rule 52(b)
motion was timely. This Court docketed the order of dismissal on August 23 but the Clerk failed
to enter a judgment. Villalobos v. N.Y. State Div. of Parole, 2012 WL 3660069, at *1 (2d Cir.
2012). As a result, the August 23 Order dismissing the action did not become final until January
20,2011. See Fed. R. App. P. 4(a)(7)(ii). In any event, the Court of Appeals held that it did not
have jurisdiction because this Court had not resolved Villalobos's Rule 52(b) motion. Villalobos
v. N.Y. State Div. of Parole, 2012 WL 3660069, at *1 (2d Cir. 2012).
"Rulings on motions under RuleD 52(b) ... are committed to the sound discretion
of the district court." Segua Corp. v. OBJ Corp., 156 FJd 136, 143-144 (2d Cir. 1998). "'[AJ
party appearing without counsel is afforded extra leeway in meeting the procedural rules
governing litigation,' and hence 'courts are, for example, to construe a pro se litigant's pleadings
and motions liberally.'" Chavis v. Chappius, 618 FJd 162, 171 (2d Cir. 2010) (quoting In re
Sims, 534 F Jd 117, 133 (2d Cir. 2008)). The purpose of amendment under Rule 52(b) is not to
upset the finality ofjudgments but to ensure an adequate factual record for appellate review. See
United States v. Local 1804-1, Itn'l Longshoremen's Ass'n, 831 F. Supp. 167, 169 (S.D.N.Y.
1993); see also Bazuaye v. United States, No. 09 Civ. 8288 (KTD), 2011 WL 1201696, at *1
(S.D.N.Y. Mar. 24,2011) ("Here, however, [J it is unnecessary to amend the judgment, since
there is (1) no need to correct manifest errors of law or fact; and (2) no newly discovered
evidence."); Panton v. United States, No. 98 Civ. 1881 (LAP), 2010 WL 5422293, at *2
(S.D.N.Y. Dec. 23, 2010) ("Rule 52(b) provides a means to dispute underlying facts that resulted
in faulty factual findings or conclusions of law based on those facts."). Amendment under Rule
52(b) may also be proper to correct manifest error, introduce newly discovered evidence, or
apply new law that would affect the outcome of the case. See Dow Chern. Pac. Ltd. v. Rascator
Mar. S.A., 609 F. Supp. 451,452-453 (S.D.N.Y. 1984). Rule 52(b) is not a vehicle for
relitigating losing arguments or advancing new legal theories. See Local 1804-1 ,_831 F. Supp. at
Villalobos raises two issues in his Rule 52(b) motion. First, he requests that this
Court reconsider its denial of his claim for injunctive relief. (ECF 24 ~1.) But that claim was
before this Court when it considered Villalobos's opposition to the motion to dismiss. (Pl.'s
Opp'n to Mot. To Dismiss, dated Apr. 4, 2011, ECF 23 at ~4-6.) Second, Villalobos maintains
that his original complaint did not assert a claim under the Due Process Clause. (ECF 24 ~2.)
Villalobos's assertion about what is not in his pleading is irrelevant. This Court considered a Due
Process theory only in an effort to tease any possible claim from Villalobos's complaint. See
Bertin v. United States, 478 F.3d 489, 491·92 (2d Cir. 2007) ("We liberally construe pleadings
and briefs submitted by pro se litigants, reading such submissions to raise the strongest
arguments they suggest.") (internal quotation marks omitted).
Finally, Villalobos's motion does not disclose any new facts or seek to amend the
findings in this Court's August 23 Order. It does not bring to the Court's attention a manifest
error oflaw, introduce newly discovered evidence, or ask this Court to apply new law. Rather, it
is a collateral attempt to relitigate issues already decided by this Court. Cf. Panton, 2010 WL
5422293, at *2 (denying a Rule 52(b) motion after noting that the motion was "purely legal in
nature" and "would not warrant amending or finding additional facts pursuant to the application
oflaw"). For the same reasons, to the extent that Villalobos's Rule 52(b) motion can be
characterized as a motion for reconsideration, it is denied. See Pa. Pub. Sch. Emps.' Ret. Sys. v.
Bank of Am. Corp., --. F.Supp.2d ----, 2012 WL 3847025, at *2 (S.D.N.Y. 2012) ("[Defendant]
cannot use this motion [for reconsideration] as a vehicle to advance new theories."); Panchishak
v. U.S. Dep't of Homeland Sec., No. 08 Civ. 6448 (WHP), 2010 WL 4780775, at * 1 (S.D.N.Y.
Nov. 22,2010) ("Reconsideration is not an invitation for parties to 'treat the court's initial
decision as the opening of a dialogue in which that party may then use such a motion to advance
new theories or adduce new evidence in response to the court's rulings.''') (quoting De Los
Santos v. Fingerson, No. 97 Civ. 3972(MBM), 1998 WL 788781, at *1 (S.D.N.Y. Nov.12,
1998». Such attempts to relitigate frustrate the purposes of Rule 52(b) and erode the "compelling
interest in the finality of litigation." Local 1804-1,-831 F. Supp. at 169.
For the foregoing reasons, Plaintiff Amaury Villalobos's Rule 52(b) motion is
denied. The Clerk of the Court is directed to terminate the motion pending at ECF No. 24, mark
this case closed, and enter a judgment dismissing the action in favor of Defendant.
September 13, 2012
New York, New York
~ ~ ~~Sl)'WILLIAM H. PAULEY III
Copies mailed to:
Green Haven Correctional Facility
P.O. Box 4000
Stormville, NY 12582
Maria Barous Hartofilis, Esq.
Attorney General's Office
New York, NY 10271
Counsel for Defendants