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Reed-Smith v. Spartanburg County School District Seven

United States District Court, D. South Carolina, Spartanburg Division

March 3, 2015

Carolyn E. Reed-Smith, Plaintiff,
v.
Spartanburg County School District Seven, Defendant.

ORDER AND OPINION

J. MICHELLE CHILDS, District Judge.

This matter is before the court by way of pro se motions filed by Plaintiff Carolyn E. Reed-Smith ("Plaintiff"), pursuant to Rule 60(b) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure ("Rule 60(b) motions"), seeking relief from an Order of the court filed on May 31, 2012 (the "May Order"). (ECF Nos. 107, 138.) In the May Order, the court granted a Motion for Summary Judgment by Defendant Spartanburg County School District Seven ("Defendant"). (ECF No. 68.) For the reasons stated below, the court DENIES Plaintiff's Rule 60(b) motions.

I. RELEVANT BACKGROUND TO PENDING MOTION[1]

On November 28, 2011, Defendant filed a Motion for Summary Judgment, asserting that Plaintiff cannot satisfy her burden of proving that Defendant intentionally discriminated against her. (ECF No. 40-1 at 13.) Plaintiff filed a response to Defendant's Motion for Summary Judgment on January 3, 2012. (ECF No. 49.) Defendant filed a reply to Plaintiff's response on January 13, 2012. (ECF No. 52.) In accordance with 28 U.S.C. ยง 636(b) and Local Rule 73.02 D.S.C., the matter was referred to United States Magistrate Judge Kevin F. McDonald. (ECF No. 40.) On April 5, 2012, the Magistrate Judge issued a Report and Recommendation in which he recommended that the court grant Defendant's Fed.R.Civ.P. 56 Motion for Summary Judgment. (ECF No. 62 at 17.) On April 22, 2012, Plaintiff filed objections to the Report and Recommendation, asking the court to reject the Magistrate Judge's recommendation. (ECF No. 65.) Thereafter, the court issued the May Order, accepting the Magistrate Judge's recommendation and granting Defendant's Motion for Summary Judgment. (ECF No. 68.)

On July 15, 2014, Plaintiff filed her first Rule 60(b) motion, asserting that subsections (1) and (3) afford her relief from the May Order. (ECF No. 107.) Defendant filed opposition to Plaintiff's first motion on August 1, 2014. (ECF No. 108.) Plaintiff filed a reply in response to Defendant's opposition on August 11, 2014, reiterating the facts from her first motion. (ECF No. 109.)

On December 29, 2014, Plaintiff filed her second Rule 60(b) motion, asserting that subsections (1) and (3) afford her relief from the May Order.[2] (ECF No. 138.) Defendant filed opposition to Plaintiff's second motion on January 15, 2015. (ECF No. 149.)

II. LEGAL STANDARD

A. Rule 60 Motion for Relief from a Judgment or Order

Fed. R. Civ. P. 60(b) allows a party to obtain relief from a final judgment based on: (1) mistake, inadvertence, surprise, or excusable neglect; (2) newly discovered evidence which by due diligence could not have been discovered in time to move for a new trial under Rule 59(b); (3) fraud (whether heretofore denominated intrinsic or extrinsic), misrepresentation, or other misconduct of an adverse party; (4) the judgment is void; (5) the judgment has been satisfied, released, or discharged, or a prior judgment upon which it is based has been reversed or otherwise vacated, or it is no longer equitable that the judgment should have prospective application; or (6) any other reason justifying relief from the operation of the judgment. Fed.R.Civ.P. 60(b); see also United States v. Winestock, 340 F.3d 200, 203-4 (4th Cir. 2003). Rule 60(b) "does not authorize a motion merely for reconsideration of a legal issue." United States v. Williams, 674 F.2d 310, 312 (4th Cir. 1982). Rule 60(b) does not provide relief from a final judgment "[w]here the motion is nothing more than a request that the district court change its mind." Id. at 313. Furthermore, Fed.R.Civ.P. 60(c)(1) requires "[a] motion under Rule 60(b) [to] be made within a reasonable time - and for reasons (1), (2), and (3) no more than a year after the entry of the judgment or order or the date of the proceeding." Fed.R.Civ.P. 60(c)(1).

1. Fed.R.Civ.P. 60(b)(1)

Under Fed.R.Civ.P. 60(b)(1), a district court can relieve a party from an adverse judgment resulting from "mistake, inadvertence, surprise, or excusable neglect." Fed.R.Civ.P. 60(b)(1). A Fed.R.Civ.P. 60(b)(1) motion will be granted if: (1) the moving party has a meritorious defense to the judgment; and (2) "that arguably one of the four conditions for relief applies-mistake, inadvertence, surprise or excusable neglect." Universal Film Exchanges, Inc. v. Lust, 479 F.2d 573, 576 (4th Cir. 1973).

2. Fed.R.Civ.P. 60(b)(3)

Under Fed.R.Civ.P. 60(b)(3), a district court can relieve a party from an adverse judgment due to "fraud (whether previously called intrinsic or extrinsic), misrepresentation, or other misconduct of an adverse party." Fed.R.Civ.P. 60(b)(3). A Fed.R.Civ.P. 60(b)(3) motion will be granted if: (1) the moving party has a meritorious defense; (2) the misconduct is proved by clear and convincing evidence; and (3) the misconduct prevented the moving party from fully presenting its case. Columbia Commc'n Corp. v. Echostar Satellite Corp., 2 F.Appx. 360, 366 (4th Cir. 2001) (citing Schultz v. Butcher, 24 F.3d 626, 630 (4th Cir. 1994)). In this regard, Fed.R.Civ.P. 60(b)(3) provides ...


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