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Thorson v. United States

United States District Court, W.D. Washington, Seattle

May 8, 2018

ROBERT D. THORSON, Petitioner,
v.
UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, Respondent.

          ORDER DENYING MOTION FOR RECONSIDERATION

          RICARDO S. MARTINEZ, CHIEF UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE

         I. INTRODUCTION

         This matter comes before the Court on Petitioner's Motion for Reconsideration of Minute Order Striking Petitioner's Rule 55(a) Motion for Default Judgment and Notice of Interlocutory Appeal (“Motion for Reconsideration”). Dkt. #13. Because the Court has previously entered a stay in this matter pending Petitioner's direct appeal to the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals (Dkt. #9) and because Petitioner's Motion fails on the merits, the Court denies Petitioner's Motion.

         II. BACKGROUND

         On April 11, 2018, the Court stayed Petitioner's § 2255 Motion pending resolution of his direct appeal to the Ninth Circuit. Dkt. #9. The Court stayed the matter because Petitioner did not demonstrate extraordinary circumstances warranting pursuit of a direct appeal and a § 2255 Motion at the same time and because a stay was warranted for judicial economy and to avoid duplicitous and inconsistent decisions. See id.

         On April 11, 2018, the Court received and docketed Petitioner's Motion for Default Judgment and Dismissal of All Counts and Charges against Petitioner (“Motion for Default”). Dkt. #10. That Motion was dated by Petitioner on April 9, 2018. Id. Because the Court had already found a stay appropriate, the Court struck, by minute order, Petitioner's Motion for Default. Dkt. #11. Petitioner now seeks reconsideration of the Court's April 13 Minute Order.

         III. DISCUSSION

         Petitioner's Motion for Reconsideration fails because the Court has already stayed this action. Petitioner did not seek reconsideration of the stay and cannot now attempt to sidestep the stay. Petitioner argues that the Court should apply the “prison mailbox rule” to his Motion for Reconsideration and treat his Motion as though it had been filed prior to entry of the stay. Dkt. #13. Whether or not the prison mailbox rule applies, [1] this argument misses the point. The Minute Order was entered because the Court determined that a stay is warranted and the reasons justifying a stay apply whether Petitioner's Motion for Default was filed before or after the stay. Petitioner's Motion also fails on the merits. “Motions for reconsideration are disfavored.

         The court will ordinarily deny such motions in the absence of a showing of manifest error in the prior ruling or a showing of new facts or legal authority which could not have been brought to its attention earlier with reasonable diligence.” LCR 7(h). Petitioner does not allege new facts or legal authority showing that the Court erred in striking his Motion pursuant to the stay.

         Instead, Petitioner argues that the Court should have considered the merits of his underlying Motion for Default and granted him the relief requested. Even if the Court is required to consider the strength of the merits in striking a motion pursuant to a stay, Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 55(a) does not clearly apply to § 2255 Motions, [2] Petitioner sought default judgment, [3] and the government had appeared in the action.[4] Petitioner has not demonstrated any manifest error with regard to the Court's April 13 Minute Order striking his Motion for Default.

         VI. CONCLUSION

         Accordingly, the Court hereby finds and ORDERS that Petitioner's Motion for Reconsideration (Dkt. #13) is DENIED. The Court will not consider further filings from Petitioner until the status of Petitioner's direct appeal warrants lifting the stay in this matter.

         The Clerk of the Court is directed to mail a copy of this Order to Robert D. Thorson, No. 48042-086, FCI-Sheridan, Federal ...


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