United States District Court, D. New Jersey
ANDREW K. BONNER, JR., Plaintiff,
JUSTIA INCORPORATED, et al, Defendants.
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER
G. SHERIDAN, U.S.D.J.
matter comes before the Court on several motions filed by
Plaintiff Andrew K. Bonner Jr. ("Plaintiff), including:
(i) a motion for "Relief from a Judgment or Order"
under Fed.R.Civ.P. 60 (ECF No. 46); (ii) a motion for a
"Jury Action to find the defendant Civilly
Contempt" (ECF No. 49); and (iii) two
motions to seal all documents and orders related to those two
motions (ECF Nos. 47, 50). For the reasons stated below, all
of Plaintiffs motions are denied and this case remains
underlying facts in this matter are set forth at length in
the Court's August 19, 2019 Memorandum and Order (the
"Order") (ECF No. 45), from which Plaintiff seeks
relief. In the interest of judicial economy, the Court will
only provide a brief summary of the factual and procedural
background of this dispute. The Court refers the parties to
the Order for a full recitation of same.
context, Plaintiff was a litigant in an underlying New Jersey
State court case. Bonner v. Cumberland Reg'l High
Sch. Disl, No. A-4133-15T1, 2017 WL 2774081 (
N.J.Super.Ct.App.Div. June 27, 2017), cert, denied,
139 S.Ct. 97, 202 L.Ed.2d 62 (2018), reh'g
denied, 139 S.Ct. 657, 202 L.Ed.2d 507 (2018). In this
action, Plaintiff claims that Defendant Justia Inc.'s
("Justia") publication of a publicly-available
legal opinion in connection with that state court action on
Justia's website constituted a "theft and
embezzlement of [Plaintiffs] property." (See
Amended Complaint at 3, ECF No. 23; see also
Complaint, ECF No. 1).
Justia is a provider of free online legal information. In
prior briefings in this matter, Justia indicated that it
obtained the legal opinion at issue from the online
repository of New Jersey case law maintained by Rutgers
Court's prior Order dismissing the Amended Complaint with
prejudice, the Court held, as it still believes upon
reexamination of this case, that Plaintiff sets forth no
cognizable legal harm in connection with Justia's
publication of the legal opinion, a public record, on its
website. (Order at 7).
same, the Court also denied Plaintiff's motion to seal
the state court legal opinion at issue. (Id. at
4-5). The Court also pei milled Professor Eugene Volokh
("Intervenor") to intervene to oppose
Plaintiff's motion to seal because, inter alia,
he is writing a law review article related to the subject
matter of this litigation. (Id. at 3). Professor
Volokh has opposed at least one of Plaintiff's motions to
seal currently pending before the Court.
Civ. P. 60(b) permits "a party to seek relief from a
final judgment, and request reopening of his case, under a
limited set of circumstances including fraud, mistake, and
newly discovered evidence, as well as inadvertence, surprise,
or excusable neglect." Rich v. State, 294
F.Supp.3d 266, 273 (D.N.J. 2018) (citations and quotation
marks omitted). "The general purpose of Rule 60 ... is
to strike a proper balance between the conflicting principles
that litigation must be brought to an end and that justice
must be done." Harris v. Greater Erie Cnty. Action
Comm., 671 Fed.Appx. 853, 855 (3d Cir. 2016) (quoting
Boughner v. Secretary of Health, Education &
Welfare, 572 F.2d 976, 977 (3d Cir. 1978)).
Nevertheless, "Rule 60(b) is a provision for
extraordinary relief and may be raised only upon a showing of
exceptional circumstances." Mendez v. Sullivan,
488 Fed.Appx. 566, 569 (3d Cir. 2012) (citation omitted).
Because reconsideration of a judgment after its entry is an
extraordinary remedy, requests pursuant to these rules are to
be granted "sparingly," Maldonado v.
Lucca, 636 F.Supp. 621, 630 (D.N.J. 1986); and only when
"dispositive factual matters or controlling decisions of
law" were brought to the Court's attention but not
considered. Pelham v. United States, 661 F.Supp.
1063, 1065 (D.N.J. 1987); see G-69 v. Degnan, 748
F.Supp. 274, 275 (D.N.J. 1990). Rule 60(b) does not provide a
vehicle for advancing new arguments that could have been made
prior to the entry of a judgment. Red Roof Franchising
LLC, Inc. v. AA Hospitality Northshore LLC, 937
F.Supp.2d 537, 543 (D.N.J. 2013). And, "[m]ere
'disagreement with the Court's [prior] decision'
does not suffice." ABS Brokerage Servs., LLC v.
Penson Fin. Servs., Inc., No. CIV. 09-4590 DRD, 2010 WL
3257992, at *6 (D.N.J. Aug. 16, 2010) (citation omitted).
it is well established that "[a] Rule 60(b) motion may
not be used as a substitute for appeal, and ... legal error,
without more, cannot justify granting a Rule 60(b)
motion." Holland v. Holt, 409 Fed.Appx. 494,
497 (3d Cir. 2010) (citation omitted). In particular,
"[a] motion under Rule 60(b) may not be granted where
the moving party could have raised the same legal argument by
means of direct appeal." Rich, 294 F.Supp.3d at
Motion for Relief from a Judgment or Order
argues that the Court should grant his Fed.R.Civ.P. 60 motion
because the Court "dismissed [his] case with prejudice
in an attempt to bar plaintiff from being able to pursue his
grievance against [Justia]." (Motion under Rule 60
F.R.C.P. - Relief from a Judgment or Order at 2 of 6, ECF No.
46). In support of his motion, Plaintiff attaches an
affidavit arguing that the Court should reconsider its prior
Order because the Court allegedly acted with "judicial
bias" by virtue of Judge ...