United States District Court, D. New Jersey
JOHN E. REARDON, Plaintiff,
MAGISTRATE ZONIES, et al., Defendants.
B. SIMANDLE U.S. DISTRICT JUDGE
matter is before the Court upon motions by Plaintiff for
relief under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 60(b)(2) and (6)
[Docket Item 93], and to amend the Complaint. [Docket Item
104.] The Court finds as follows:
this case, Plaintiff John Reardon, pro se
(“Plaintiff”) generally alleges that he was
denied his right to a jury trial when he was fined for
various traffic violations in 1988. [See generally
Docket Item 1.] Plaintiff moved to amend the Complaint
[Docket Item 33], which the Court denied without prejudice.
[Docket Item 48.] Defendants subsequently moved to dismiss
all claims against them [Docket Item 49], which the Court
granted. [Docket Items 68 & 70.] Plaintiff then filed a
motion for reconsideration of the dismissal Order [Docket
Item 71], which the Court denied. [Docket Items 89 & 90.]
Plaintiff appealed the Court's Orders dismissing his
complaint and denying his motion for reconsideration and
leave to amend [Docket Items 48, 70, and 90] to the U.S.
Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit. [Docket Items 91
& 92.] The Third Circuit affirmed. Reardon v.
Zonies, 2018 WL 1747739 (3d Cir. Apr. 11, 2018).
While his appeal was pending before the Third Circuit,
Plaintiff filed the present Rule 60(b) motion. [Docket Item
93.] After the Third Circuit affirmed, Plaintiff filed the
motion to amend the Complaint. [Docket Item 104.] Both
motions must be denied because the Court lacks jurisdiction
to consider them.
60(b) provides specific bases for reconsideration of a
“final judgment, order or proceeding, ”
including, as relevant here, due to “newly discovered
evidence” or “any other reason that justifies
relief.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 60(b)(2), (6).
Rule 60(b) motion is “addressed to the sound discretion
of the trial court guided by accepted legal principles
applied in light of all the relevant circumstances.”
Ross v. Meagan, 638 F.2d 646, 648 (3d Cir. 1981).
Rule 60(b) “does not confer upon the district courts a
‘standardless residual of discretionary power to set
aside judgments.'” Moolenaar v. Gov. of the
Virgin Islands, 822 F.2d 1342, 1346 (3d Cir. 1987).
“Rather, relief under Rule 60(b) is available only
under such circumstances that the ‘overriding interest
in the finality and repose of judgments may properly be
overcome.'” Tischio v. Bontex, Inc., 16
F.Supp.2d 511, 533 (D.N.J. 1998) (quoting Martinez-McBean
v. Gov. of the Virgin Islands, 562 F.2d 908, 913 (3d
Cir. 1977); see also Moolenaar, 822 F.2d at 1346
(“The remedy provided by Rule 60(b) is
‘extraordinary and special circumstances must justify
granting relief under it.”) (internal citation
omitted). “Rule 60(b) must be applied ‘[s]ubject
to the propositions that the finality of judgments is a sound
principle that should not lightly be cast aside, [and] . . .
is not a substitute for appeal.” Kock v. Gov. of
the Virgin Islands, 811 F.2d 240, 246 (3d Cir. 1987)
(internal citation omitted).
an appeal is taken, a Rule 60(b) motion may only be properly
reviewed by the district court “based on matters that
come to light after the appellate court has issued a
decision.” Bernheim v. Jacobs, 144 Fed.Appx.
218, 222; see also Standard Oil v. United States,
429 U.S. 17, 18 (1976). Thus, the Third Circuit has held
that, “when reviewing a Rule 60(b) motion brought
following an appeal, district courts are ‘without
jurisdiction to alter the mandate of [the appellate court] on
the basis of matters included or includable in the
party's prior appeal.'” Berheim, 144
Fed.Appx. at 222 (quoting Seese v. Volswagenwerk,
A.G., 679 F.2d 336, 337 (3d Cir. 1982)).
noted above, Plaintiff filed his Rule 60(b) motion [Docket
Item 93] shortly after he appealed the Court's Orders to
the Circuit Court [see Docket Item 91], but before
the Third Circuit affirmed. [See Docket Items 101
& 102.] The Rule 60(b) motion thus necessarily involves
“matters included or includable in the party's
prior appeal, ” and not “matters that come to
light after the appellate court has issued a decision.”
Berheim, 144 Fed.Appx. at 222. Moreover, none of
Plaintiff's current submissions contain any relevant
evidence that was not already presented to this Court or the
Third Circuit during prior proceedings. Nor does Plaintiff
raise any arguments that were not previously raised. These
matters have already been decided several times by this
Court, and now affirmed by the Court of Appeals. This
litigation is over.
the reasons explained above, this Court no longer has
jurisdiction over this matter, which has been dismissed and
affirmed. It would, therefore, be futile for Plaintiff to
amend. Accordingly, and for good cause shown;
this 9th day of
July , 2018 hereby
that Plaintiff's motion for relief [Docket Item 93] and
to amend the Complaint [Docket Item 104], shall be, and
hereby are, DENIED.
 Once the Third Circuit dismissed his
appeal, Plaintiff's sole avenue to challenge this
Court's dismissal Order and Orders denying
reconsideration and for leave to amend was to file a petition
of certiorari in the U.S. Supreme Court. To this ...