Favors-Morrell v. UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, No. 2:2009cv00058 - Document 86 (S.D. Ga. 2017)

Court Description: ORDER denying 80 Motion to Vacate Order. Signed by Judge Lisa G. Wood on 6/30/2017. (csr)
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Favors-Morrell v. UNITED STATES OF AMERICA Do tUntteb ^tatesi IBiiestirtct Court for tfie ^oittfiem Biotrtct of ^leorgia PranOtoick Pibtoton ANGELA FAVORS-MORRELL, Plaintiff, CV 200-158 V. STEVEN MNUCHIN, the Treasury, Secretary of Defendant. ANGELA FAVORS-MORRELL & TONY L. MORRELL, Plaintiffs, V. CV 209-58 UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, Defendant. ANGELA FAVORS-MORRELL, Plaintiff, V. CV 211-91 UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, Defendant. ANGELA FAVORS-MORRELL, Plaintiff, A0 72A (Rev. 8/82) Dockets.Justia V. CV 215-24 UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, Defendant. ORDER In fraud all on four the cases. Court Plaintiffs and to move reopen. Dkt. Plaintiffs' motions will be DENIED, will be DENIED at t h i s vacate Defendant injunction to limit future filings. 158. to No. order moves 118, No. for for an 2:00-CV- and Defendant's motion time. Background The facts of previous order. these cases are set out in the Court's See Dkt. No. 121, No. 2:00-CV-158. Legal Standards Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 60(d)(3) to be set aside for fraud on the court. allows a Such established by clear and convincing misconduct." Att'y Gen., 556 F. App'x 838, 840 (11th Cir. 2014) fraud judgment ^''must Gupta v. be U.S. (per curiam). '"Generally speaking, only the most egregious misconduct, such as bribery of a evidence by a judge or members of a jury, or the fabrication of party in which an attorney is constitute a fraud on the court." Rule 60(b)(6) a final judgment. Id. implicated, will (citations omitted). is a catch-all provision allowing relief from Fed. R. Civ. P. 2 60(b)(6). The party raising it must show ^'extraordinary circumstances." 545 U.S. movants 524, must 535 show (2005) that (citations 'absent such omitted). relief, "unexpected" hardship will result.'" Airways, V. 715 F.3d 1290, Swim-Tech Corp., United States v. then, whether 1294 Swift & Co., to grant the 680 611, 628 (11th Cir. District appropriate agreeable § 2014) courts in to aid the usages 2013) and W. Caribbean (quoting Griffin (11th Cir. 1984) (quoting (1932))). requested relief" is Arthur v. left "Even "the 739 Thomas, to F. 3d (citations omitted). "may of is, "extreme" an 286 U.S. 106, 119 district court's sound discretion." "[T]hat Galbert v. (11th Cir. 722 F.2d 677, Gonzalez v. Crosby, issue their and all writs respective principles of necessary or jurisdictions law." 28 and U.S.C. 1651(a). Discussion I. PLAINTIFFS' MOTIONS Plaintiffs moved March 16 and April 5, question "has been TO VACATE ABE DENIED. to vacate 2017. made order for fraud on the Court on Plaintiffs claim that the fraud in by the court itself," as this Judge "served as US Attorney for the Southern District of Georgia from 2004 to 2007; the and adjudicated the civil actions filed reference US Attorney and District of Georgia." Judge, Plaintiffs Assistant US Attorneys for the Southern Dkt. No. 123 at 3, No. 2:00-CV-158. argue, "[did] not have discretion not This to disqualify [herself]." Id^ at 7. Plaintiffs also allege that I needed to recuse myself because one of the defendants was an Assistant U.S. Attorney who represented me in a different, unrelated lawsuit that was dismissed on immunity grounds. Dkt. No. 119 at 1. There was no fraud on the court. between 2004 and 2007. I served as U.S. Attorney Seven of the cases brought by Plaintiffs had not even been filed by that point. ^ United States v. Champlin, 388 F. Supp. 2d 1177, 1181 (D. Haw. 2005) ( [T]he United States Attorney . . . would have to rescue [sic] . herself from cases investigated or prosecuted while .—^—^_s^ was in office . . . ." (emphasis added)). The other one, 2:00- CV-158, did not have any filings between 2002 and 2014. It was not proceeding in any meaningful way while I was U.S. Attorney, and I had no involvement in the case during that time. Nos. 94-95. Therefore, observer would [not] "'an objective, fully S^ Dkt. informed entertain significant doubt about lay [my] impartiality,"' so I was under no obligation to recuse myself. Christo V. Padgett, 223 F.3d 1324, 1333 (11th Cir. 2000). Besides, it is much too late to complain that I should have recused myself when the reason why I supposedly needed to was known to Plaintiffs long ago. Serv., 188 F. App'x 954, See, e.g., Daniel v. U.S. Marshal 959 (11th Cir. 2006) (^'Although a literal reading of [28 U.S.C.] (per curiam) § 455 places the duty to recognize the conflict on the judge, this Court has held that a motion to disqualify must be timely." (citations omitted)). The mere fact that disqualify me, No. either. lO-CV-02655, 2010) (^'Any Attorney's WL district Office is once served as U.S. See, 2010 her capacity as a of a I e.g., 3619544, judge who likely to judge as a Attorney does not Ciampi v. at *3 City of Palo Alto, (N.D. previously ^see[ ] Cal. Sept. served previous matter of course.' judge's former acquaintance with a party . in a 13, U.S. colleagues in The mere fact . . through her previous employment does not constitute grounds for recusal. this Court former held otherwise, [Assistant U.S. it would Attorneys] be to nearly become impossible federal If for district judges, for they would be required to recuse themselves from any case in which their former colleagues served as counsel . . . . In this case, interest, there is or out-of-court reasonable person to no close information question the relationship, . . . financial that would cause Court's a impartiality." (internal citations omitted)). As for defendants the in fact No. that one 2:15-CV-24 of the Assistant represented me in U.S. Attorney an unrelated matter, ^'[c]ourts across the country have accepted the propriety of United States Attorney representation of federal judges"—even though members of U.S. Attorney's offices regularly appear before those judges in other proceedings. Bryan v. Murphy, F. 2003). Indeed, their official Supp. when 2d 1256, federal 1261 judges (N.D. are Ga. sued in 'Mn]ormally, capacity, government attorney will be assigned to defend them." V. Admin. 1992). Office of U.S. Ct., judge has ^'a litigation [her]." personal in 1264, which I Id. 1267 Tashima (9th Cir. the only Recusal is only required if the rather than an official United States 1976) . Wood, F.2d a Not only is this compatible with judicial independence- it is ^^necessary" to it. Cal. 967 246 counsel v. Zaqari, had so this is not a an in question 419 official reason why I interest F. had Supp. represented 494, interest in in the 506 (N.D. Moreland v. should have recused myself here and it cannot support an allegation of fraud on the court. See Dkt. No. (finding 59 that 13, For these court-dkt. CV-58, dkt. no. no. 123 in No. 56 in No. to vacate 2:00-CV-158, 2:11-CV-91, [relevant 2:14-CV-143 all claims against me because of judicial immunity). motions times No. (dismissing Plaintiffs' all Wood, judicial capacities."); id. at 17 [my] ''at v. Moreland], reasons. was, Moreland to acting within I at order dkt. for no. and dkt. fraud 80 in No. no. 67 on the 2:09- in No. 2:15-CV-24-are DENIED. II. PLAINTIFFS' MOTIONS TO REOPEN ARE DENIED. Plaintiffs moved to reopen case no. 2:00-CV-158 on June 12, 2017, and in the other cases, their June 20, 2017 reply briefs on the motions reopen." to vacate were partially entitled ^'motion to Even assuming all of these to be proper motions, they must be denied. Plaintiffs argue that a congressional committee is now investigating the Federal Law Enforcement Training Center (^^FLETC") . argue Dkt. on based evidence Federal as No. newly a Rule 127 basis at 1-3; Dkt. discovered for of Civil 127-1. evidence. reopening Procedure No. a case They Newly is thus discovered provided for 60(b)(2)—and i t must be in raised ^^no more than a year after the entry of the judgment or order or the date of the proceeding." Fed. judgment of was entered than a year ago. 2:09-CV-58; in each Dkt. No. Dkt. No. 16, 86, No. R. Civ. the No. P. cases 60(c)(1). at 2:OO-CV-158; 2:11-CV-91; Dkt. issue here Dkt. No. No. Final 53, more 51, No. No. 2:15- CV-24. Granted, the deadline. But evidence Rule it argument is 60(b)(6) catch-all forbidden under that to bring lacks a provision, the newly discovered- precisely parties cannot ''circumvent the timing restrictions." U.S. Att'v Gen., curiam) ; n.3 556 F. App'x see also Sneed v. (11th Cir. 2011) 838, 842 Pan Am. Hosp., (per curiam). (11th Cir. one-year so that Gupta v. 2014) 435 F. App'x 839, (per 841 The investigation is not a basis for reopening these cases. Plaintiffs' reopen. Thus, briefs do not raise any other valid reason to their motions—dkt. no. 127 in No. 2:OO-CV-158; dkt. no. 83 in and dkt. no. 72 III. No. 118, 2:09-CV-58; in No. PLAINTIFFS' Defendant Dkt. No. dkt. no. 59 in No. 2:11-CV-91; from Plaintiffs. 2:15-CV-24—are DENIED. FUTURE FILINGS. seeks No. to limit future 2:00-CV-158. This filings motion is denied at this time. CONCLUSION For the reasons above, • dkt. no. 2:00-CV-158, in case number: dkt. nos. 123 and 127 are DENIED, 118 is DENIED at this time; • 2:09-CV-58, dkt. nos. 80 and 83 are DENIED; • 2:11-CV-91, dkt. nos. 56 and 59 are DENIED; and • 2:15-CV-24, dkt. nos. 67 and 72 are DENIED. SO ORDERED, this 30th day of June, 2017. HONi^LISA GCTDBEp WOOD, JUDGE UNITED STATES SOUTHERN DISTRICT COURT DISTRICT OF GEORGIA and