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King v. Rumbaugh

United States District Court, W.D. Washington

June 6, 2017

CHRISTOPHER KING, J.D., et al., Plaintiffs,
v.
HON. STANLEY J. RUMBAUGH, Defendant.

          ORDER DENYING PLAINTIFFS' RULE 59 MOTION AND RULE 60 MOTION

          RICARDO S. MARTINEZ CHIEF UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE

         This matter comes before the Court on Plaintiffs Christopher King, J.D., Wally Brown, and Chris Nubbe's Motion for Rule 59(a)(1)(b) or (e) Relief from Judgment, Dkt. #26, and Plaintiffs' separately filed Motion for Rule 60(b)(3) and (6) Relief from Judgment, Dkt. #32.[1]Because Plaintiff's Rule 59 Motion exceeds the required page limits, this Court has previously ruled it “will not consider Plaintiffs' briefing after page twelve and Defendant need not respond to any argument made after page twelve.” Dkt. #30 at 2. The Court incorporates by reference the background facts contained in the Court's prior Order, Dkt. #24.

         A motion for relief from judgment under Rule 59(e) should be granted when the Court: “(1) is presented with newly discovered evidence; (2) committed clear error or the initial decision was manifestly unjust; or (3) if there is an intervening change in the controlling law.” In re Syncor ERISA Litigation, 516 F.3d 1095, 1100 (9th Cir. 2008) (citation omitted). Plaintiffs in this matter do not allege newly discovered evidence or an intervening change in the controlling law.

         Rule 60(b) provides that a court may relieve a party from a final judgment, order, or proceeding for any of the following six reasons:

(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 (whether previously called intrinsic or extrinsic), misrepresentation, or misconduct by an opposing party;
(4) the judgment is void;
(5) the judgment has been satisfied, released, or discharged; it is based on an earlier judgment that has been reversed or vacated; or applying it prospectively is no longer equitable; or
(6) any other reason that justifies relief.

Fed. R. Civ. P. 60(b). Plaintiffs clearly seeks relief under subsections 3 and 6 only. See Dkt. #32 at 1. Under Rule 60(b)(3), the movant must “(1) prove by clear and convincing evidence that the verdict was obtained through fraud, misrepresentation, or other misconduct; and (2) establish that the conduct complained of prevented the losing party from fully and fairly presenting its case or defense.” Casey v. Albertson's Inc., 362 F.3d 1254, 1260 (9th Cir. 2004); Jones v. Aero/Chem Corp., 921 F.2d 875, 878-79 (9th Cir. 1990). Rule 60(b)(3) “require[s] that fraud . . . not be discoverable by due diligence before or during the proceedings.” Casey, 362 F.3d at 1260 (brackets and ellipsis in original). Rule 60(b)(3) “is aimed at judgments which were unfairly obtained, not at those which are factually incorrect.” In re M/V Peacock, 809 F.2d 1403, 1405 (9th Cir. 1987). Rule 60(b)(6) is a “catchall provision” that applies only when the reason for granting relief is not covered by any of the other reasons set forth in Rule 60. United States v. Washington, 394 F.3d 1152, 1157 (9th Cir. 2005), overruled on other grounds by United States v. Washington, 593 F.3d 790 (9th Cir. 2010). “It has been used sparingly as an equitable remedy to prevent manifest injustice and is to be utilized only where extraordinary circumstances prevented a party from taking timely action to prevent or correct an erroneous judgment.” Id. (internal quotation marks omitted). Thus, to reopen a case under Rule 60(b)(6), a party must establish “both injury and circumstances beyond his control that prevented him from proceeding . . . in a proper fashion.” Id. (internal quotation marks omitted).

         Plaintiffs argue the Court's April 6, 2017, Order dismissing this case was “based on three or more essential fallacies, ” that the Court “at no time engaged in ANY analysis of Administrative vs. Judicial capacities, ” and that Plaintiffs “are NOT potential litigants and thuse [sic] their conduct is not of a Judicial nature…. [t]hey are more akin to law clerks or court employees seeking administrative relief.” Dkt. #26 at 1. Plaintiffs repeat prior arguments and citations to the record and argue that “the Court is NOT reading the facts in the light most favorable to Plaintiff…” Id. at 2. Plaintiffs assert that “[i]t simply does not pass the Giggle Test to say that Defendant was not on Actual Notice of News Coverage and First Amendment sorts of Constitutional claims.” Id. at 6. Plaintiffs continue to assert that Defendant “willfully misrepresented the fact that Plaintiff King had indeed issued a Notice of Media Coverage in the Duzan case that was prospective in nature, as per his norm.” Id. at 8. Plaintiffs argue that this case should have been remanded, again citing King v. Wright Finlay & Zak, 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 53130 (W.D. Wash. Apr. 20, 2016) and arguing that the Court should have reached the same outcome as that case. Id. at 9. Plaintiffs spend many pages arguing that Defendant's actions were administrative and not judicial in nature.

         In Response to the Rule 59 Motion, Defendant argues that Plaintiffs “do not identify any newly discovered evidence or cite any intervening change in controlling law, and thus presumably instead argue the order at issue contained ‘a clear error or the initial decision was manifestly unjust ….'” Dkt. #33 at 2. Defendant argues that Plaintiffs “never previously alleged or argued Judge Rumbaugh's ruling was ‘administrative, '” and “neither cite the applicable test for analyzing that issue nor point to precedent holding that barring recording of a hearing is an ‘administrative act' unprotected by judicial immunity.” Id. at 3-4 (citing Dkt.#25 at 1, 10-12). Defendant argues the Court must examine “whether (1) the precise act is a normal judicial function; (2) the events occurred in the judge's chambers; (3) the controversy centered around a case then pending before the judge; and (4) the events at issue arose directly and immediately out of a confrontation with the judge in his or her official capacity.” Id. (citing Ashelman v. Pope, 793 F.2d 1072, 1075-76 (9th Cir. 1986); Duvall v. Cty. of Kitsap, 260 F.3d 1124, 1133 (9th Cir. 2001), as amended on denial of reh'g (Oct. 11, 2001) (Superior Court judge absolutely immune because “exercising control over the court-room while court is in session” is a "normal judicial function”). Defendant walks through the elements of Ashelman and argues how the denial of Plaintiffs request to record in the courtroom was a normal judicial function, made in open court, centered around a pending case before Judge Rumbaugh, and arising directly and immediately out of a confrontation with Judge Rumbaugh in his official capacity. Id. at 4-5. Defendant also argues that Plaintiffs fail to show that GR 16 creates a private action or was indeed even violated. Id. at 5-7. Defendant argues that the Court properly denied Plaintiffs leave to amend given the above immunity from suit. With regard to Plaintiffs' arguments that the Court should have remanded this case as it did in King v. Wright Finlay & Zak, Defendant argues:

Of course, the Court in fact extensively considered King in its analysis and found it supported the existence and retention of supplemental jurisdiction here. See Dkt. 24 at 8-11. In asking this Court now to find its conclusion from that analysis was error, plaintiffs: 1) ignore the analysis of this Court; 2) offer no analysis of their own; and 3) rely exclusively on the bold, conclusory, unexplained, and unjustified assertion that “there is simply no material difference between these two cases regardless of whatever sophistry the Defendant or Court wish to engage in ….” See Dkt. ...

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