United States District Court, E.D. Washington
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER DENYING MOTION TO VACATE
ORDER DISMISSING ACTION AND MOTION FOR SANCTIONS
L. Quackenbush, Senior United States District Judge.
THE COURT is the Plaintiffs' Motion to Vacate Order
Dismissing Action, (ECF No. 39), and Defendants' Motion
for Sanctions, (ECF No. 46). This Order memorializes the
court's ruling on the Motions.
27, 2017, this court issued an Order granting Defendants'
Motion to Dismiss for Failure to State a Claim and denying
Defendants' Motion for CR 11 Sanctions. (ECF No. 25). In
granting Defendants' Motion to Dismiss, the court made
two specific determinations: (1) the court did not have
subject matter jurisdiction under the Rooker-Feldman
doctrine, (ECF No. 25 at 8-10), and (2) Defendants were
entitled to judicial immunity, (ECF No. 25 at 10-13).
Plaintiffs appealed the dismissal of this case to the Ninth
Circuit Court of Appeals, (ECF No. 29), and Defendants
cross-appealed the denial of the motion for sanctions, (ECF
No. 33). The court has reviewed the docket of the Ninth
Circuit Court of Appeals, and no dispositive order has been
entered on either appeal. See 17-35678, 17-35717
January 28, 2019, Plaintiffs filed the Motion to Vacate the
Order Dismissing the Action under Fed.R.Civ.P. 60. (ECF No.
39). Plaintiffs allege Defendants misrepresented the status
of the state court claims by asserting that the state court
claims were dismissed and no appeal had been taken. (ECF No.
39 at 4). Plaintiffs argue that the appeal actually
continued, and this rendered the Rooker-Feldman
doctrine inapplicable because the state court case was not
final at the time of this court's Order. (ECF No. 39 at
9-10). Plaintiffs request that the Order be reversed in full
or in part, leaving the court's ruling regarding judicial
immunity to be argued before the Ninth Circuit Court of
Appeals. Plaintiffs make no argument that the court's
judicial immunity determination should be vacated under Rule
allege that no misrepresentation occurred and that any appeal
of the state court claims did not render the
Rooker-Feldman doctrine inapplicable. (ECF No. 42).
Defendants also filed a Motion for Sanctions. (ECF No. 46).
The Motion to Vacate and Motion for Sanctions were submitted
for decision without oral argument.
Recent State Court Activity
court summarized the state court actions in the Memorandum
Opinion and Order Re: Motion to Dismiss and Motion for CR 11
Sanctions filed on July 27, 2017. (ECF No. 25). Since the
Order was filed, litigation has continued within the state
court system. See No. 33356-6 (Wash.Ct.App. Div.
October 18, 2018, the Court of Appeals of the State of
Washington Division III entered an opinion reversing the
money judgments. (ECF No. 40 at 23-47). According to that
order, Plaintiffs were allowed to challenge the assessment of
Guardian ad Litem (GAL) fees, but not the orders removing
them as guardians. Id.
November 19, 2018, Plaintiffs filed a Petition for Review
with the Washington Supreme Court (ECF No. 40 at 49-77). A
review of the online docket of that court shows an Order
terminating Review was filed on April 3, 2019. See
No. 96535-8 (Wash. Sup. Ct.).
Motion to Vacate
Civ. P. 60(b) allows a party to seek relief from a final
judgment and request the case be reopened under six
circumstances: (1) mistake; (2) newly discovered evidence;
(3) fraud; (4) the judgment is void; (5) the judgment has
been satisfied, release, or discharge; it is based on an
earlier judgment that has been reversed or vacated; or
applying it prospectively is no longer equitable; and (6) any
other reason that justifies relief. A motion to request
relief under the first three circumstances must be brought
within one year after the entry of the judgment. Fed.R.Civ.P.
admit relief under the first three circumstances is
time-bared, but assert Fed.R.Civ.P. 60(b)(5) is applicable as
the prospective application of the order is no longer
equitable. ECF No. 39 at 9. Later, in Reply briefing,
Plaintiffs allege ...