United States District Court, W.D. Washington, Seattle
ORDER DENYING PETITIONER'S AMENDED RULE 60
RICARDO S. MARTINEZ CHIEF UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
matter comes before the Court on Petitioner Mark
Spangler's Amended Motion for Reconsideration, brought
under Rule 60(b). Dkt. #16. Mr. Spangler argues that the
Court should reconsider its prior Order dismissing this case,
specifically its failure to grant him leave to amend his
§ 2255 Petition, citing Ninth Circuit case law
establishing that the court “should not dismiss a pro
se complaint without leave to amend unless it is absolutely
clear that the deficiencies of the complaint could not be
cured by amendment.” Dkt. #16 at 5 (citing Schucker
v. Rockwood, 846 F.2d 1202, 1204 (9th Cir. 1988)). Mr.
Spangler also argues the merits of his original petition.
underling facts of this case have been set forth in the prior
Order at issue and are incorporated here. See Dkt.
60(b) provides that a court may relieve a party from a final
judgment, order, or proceeding for any of the following six
(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;
(6) any other reason that justifies relief.
Fed. R. Civ. P. 60(b). Plaintiffs clearly seeks relief under
subsection 6 only. See Dkt. #16 at 3, 22. 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). A motion under Rule 60(b)(6) must be made
“within a reasonable time.” Fed.R.Civ.P.
Court begins by addressing the timeliness of this Motion. The
Court's Order dismissing this case was issued on May 24,
2017. Dkt. #10. Mr. Spangler did not file a Motion for
Reconsideration or Rule 60(b) Motion following that Order;
instead he appealed to the Ninth Circuit. See Dkt.
#11 (July 10, 2017, Notice of Appeal). His appeal was
ultimately dismissed for lack of a certificate of
appealability on January 31, 2018. Dkt. #13. The Ninth
Circuit found that “appellant has not shown that
‘jurists of reason would find it debatable whether the
[section 2255 motion] states a valid claim of the denial of a
constitutional right and that jurists of reason would find it
debatable whether the district court was correct in its
procedural ruling.'” Id. Thirteen months
after this ruling, Mr. Spangler filed a Rule 60(b) Motion in
this case, amending it to its current form over two months
later. Dkts. #14 and #16.
years have thus passed since the underlying Order was issued.
Although Rule 60 does not define a “reasonable time,
” other Courts have found that a Rule 60(b) motion is
untimely if it is filed after two years, and specifically in
the circumstance of this case where the motion is filed after
an appeal has been denied. See United States v.
Washington, 20 F.Supp.3d 899, 924, (W.D. Wash. Sep. 2,
2008) (citing cases); Pursley v. Estep, 2007 U.S.
Dist. LEXIS 90192, 2007 WL 4322330 (D. Colo. Dec. 7, 2007).
Spangler addresses the timeliness of his Motion at some
length. Dkt. #16 at 22-23. He argues that this Motion
required the aid of an attorney, which took time to find, and
that a transfer between prisons resulted in a delay in
obtaining his legal materials. Id. These arguments
are unavailing for several reasons. First, Mr. Spangler
apparently began searching for an attorney “by the end
of the second quarter of 2018.” Id. at 22. The
initial process in drafting this Motion thus occurred well
after Mr. Spangler had filed and lost his appeal in this
case. Second, it is not clear Mr. Spangler actually used the
services of an attorney in drafting this Motion, which was
filed pro se. Third, Mr. Spangler alleges that there was a
delay in obtaining his ...