United States District Court, D. New Jersey
OPINION AND ORDER
KEVIN MCNULTY, U.S.D.J.
matter comes before the Court on the motion of plaintiff
Robert Shaun Neal for relief from judgment, pursuant to
Fed.R.Civ.P. 60(b)(b)(3). Although filed under Civ. No.
14-2495, the motion states that it applies "to the
related cases" captioned above. (Neal Br.
The motion seeks relief from an Opinion and Order granting
summary judgment, filed in Civ. No. 13-6981. (See
13-6981 ECF nos. 167, 168.) Neal's motion for
reconsideration was denied. (See 13-6981 ECF nos.
176, 177.) For purposes of this Opinion, familiarity with
those earlier orders and opinions is assumed. For the reasons
expressed herein, the Rule 60(b)(3) motion will be denied.
'movant under Rule 60(b) bears a heavy burden, ' and
'[w]e view Rule 60(b) motions as extraordinary relief
which should be granted only where extraordinary justifying
circumstances are present.' Bohus v. Beloff, 950
F.2d 919, 930 (3d Cir.1991) (internal citations and quotation
marks omitted)." Oat v. Sewer Enterprises,
Ltd., 584 F.App'x 36, 41 (3d Cir. 2014). Neal relies
in particular on Rule 60(b)(3), which provides for relief
from a final judgment, order, or proceeding based on
"(3) fraud (whether previously called intrinsic or
extrinsic), misrepresentation, or misconduct by an opposing
party." The standard is a rigorous one:
To reopen a judgment under Rule 60(b)(3), specifically, a
plaintiff must show, by clear and convincing evidence:
"(1) that the adverse party engaged in fraud or
misconduct; and (2) that is conduct prevented the moving
party from fully and fairly presenting this case.["]
Bamigbade v. City of Newark, 2006 U.S. Dist. LEXIS
3534, at *7 (D.N.J. Jan. 30, 2006) (citing Stridiron v.
Stridiron, 698 F.2d 204, 207 (3d Cir.1983); see also
Brown v. Perm. R.R. Co., 282 F.2d 522, 527 (3d Cir.
Toolasprashad v. Wright, No. CIV A 02-5473(JBS),
2008 WL 4845306, at *5 (D.N.J. Nov. 3, 2008).
motion may be considered a motion to vacate my own award of
summary judgment which affirmed the arbitration award. As to
that, Neal has already sought and been denied reconsideration
once. This Rule 60(b) motion may be viewed, then, as a second
motion for reconsideration.
other hand, what Neal is really asking the Court to
reconsider is the arbitration award itself. As to that, Rule
60(b) does not supply the standard. An arbitration award is
(and in this case was) reviewed under the highly deferential
standards of the Federal Arbitration Act, 9 U.S.C.
§§ 9, 10.Overlaid by the standards of Rule 60(b)(3),
such a motion requires an additional measure of deference.
offers no "clear and convincing evidence" of
"fraud" that "prevented" him from
presenting his case to the arbitrator, or, on review, to me.
See Toolasprashad, supra. He complains, rather, that
he came out on the losing end of a credibility contest. If
that were grounds for relief, then perhaps every losing
litigant would have a Rule 60(b)(3) motion.
witnesses in the arbitration, says Neal, are
liars. Contrary to the arbitrator's findings,
he did not misappropriate Asta's emails. Asta witnesses,
moreover, lied and withheld evidence when they said that SISI
(an entity controlled by Neal and/or Coyne) did not perform
significant computer consulting work. And yet the arbitrator,
as quoted by Neal, found that "Mr. Neal's deposition
testimony regarding SISI was evasive and not credible; Mr.
Coyne refused to answer questions regarding SISI, despite
being directed to do so (by me) when die questions were
objected to, and his refusal to answer gives rise to an
adverse inference that his testimony would be adverse to
Respondents." (Neal Brf. 5-6)
however, are issues that were properly for the arbitrator to
resolve. Even on a motion to confirm or vacate an award, a
court will not ordinarily delve into such matters. Still less
will it do so on a subsequent Rule 60(b)(3) motion, where the
movant simply disagrees with the result and the alleged
"fraud" consists chiefly of the testimony of
is another problem. None of this was unknown to Neal at the
time of the arbitration or at die time of the motions to
confirm or vacate the award. Neal acknowledges this, but he
has a reason for not bringing it up until now: "The
statute of limitations has fully run on any action that ASTA
might take against SIS, therefore Neal and Coyne are now free
to explain the SIS discrepancies." (Neal Brf. 6) But
Neal cites no case that permits a party to sit out a
proceeding for fear tiiat its explanation would expose it to
civil liability, and reopen proceedings once the statute of
limitations has run. So far as I am aware, there is no such
authority permitting a party to spool out its contentions one
at a time in motions.
short, tiiere is no clear and convincing evidence of die kind
of fraud that would justify Rule 60(b)(3) relief.
IT IS this 26th ...