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Benitez v. Atkins

United States District Court, S.D. Mississippi, Southern Division

January 29, 2019

RUBEN ORLANDO BENITEZ PLAINTIFF
v.
JEFFEREY ATKINS DEFENDANT

         ORDER DENYING PLAINTIFF'S [73] MOTION FOR RELIEF FROM PROCEEDINGS PURSUANT TO FEDERAL RULE OF CIVIL PROCEDURE 60(b); OVERRULING PLAINTIFF'S [77] OBJECTION; ADOPTING MAGISTRATE JUDGE'S [72] PROPOSED FINDINGS OF FACT AND RECOMMENDATION; GRANTING DEFENDANT'S [54] MOTION TO DISMISS AND/OR FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT; AND DENYING PLAINTIFF'S [59] MOTION FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT

          HALIL SULEYMAN OZERDEN UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.

         This matter comes before the Court on: (1) Plaintiff Ruben Orlando Benitez's Motion [73] for Relief from Proceedings Pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 60(b); and (2) Plaintiff Ruben Orlando Benitez's Objection [77] to the Proposed Findings of Fact and Recommendation [72] of United States Magistrate Judge Robert H. Walker, which addressed Defendant Jefferey Atkins' Motion [54] to Dismiss and/or for Summary Judgment and Plaintiff's Motion [59] for Summary Judgment.

         After thoroughly reviewing all of these filings, the related pleadings, the record, and relevant legal authority, the Court finds that Plaintiff's Motion [73] for Relief should be denied, that Plaintiff's Objection [77] should be overruled, and that the Magistrate Judge's Proposed Findings of Fact and Recommendation [72] should be adopted as the finding of the Court. Plaintiff's Motion for Summary Judgment [59] should be denied, and Defendant's Motion [54] to Dismiss and/or for Summary Judgment should be granted. Plaintiff's claims will be dismissed with prejudice.

         I. BACKGROUND

         Plaintiff filed a Complaint [1] in the Circuit Court of Greene County, Mississippi, on August 1, 2017, naming as Defendant Jefferey Atkins (“Defendant”), who is an employee of the Office of the Clerk of the Supreme Court of the United States. Compl. [5] at 30-31; see also Ans. [18] at 3. Plaintiff claims that Defendant violated his due process rights by not approving Plaintiff's pauper's oath in conjunction with his application to proceed in forma pauperis on a petition for writ of certiorari, by denying Plaintiff's request for rehearing, and by allegedly preventing the proper judicial official from ruling on his request for rehearing. Compl. [5] at 31-32. On August 29, 2017, Defendant removed the case to this Court pursuant to 28 U.S.C. §§ 1442(a)(3) and 1446. Notice of Removal [1] at 1.

         On August 30, 2017, Defendant filed a Motion [2] for Extension of Time to File Answer or Present Other Defenses, which the Magistrate Judge granted, making Defendant's Answer due by October 5, 2017, see Sept. 11, 2017, Text Order. On October 4, 2017, Defendant filed a Second Motion [13] for Extension of Time to File Answer or Present Other Defenses. The Magistrate Judge granted the Second Motion [13], extending Defendant's deadline to file an Answer until on or before October 12, 2017. See Oct. 5, 2017, Text Order. Defendant filed his Answer on October 12, 2017. See Ans. [18] at 1. Plaintiff sought entry of default against Defendant on several occasions [44], [49], [50], but the Clerk of Court declined to enter a default. Plaintiff filed a Motion [46] for Reconsideration of Entry of Default, which this Court denied [47].

         Plaintiff also filed a Motion [7] for Summary Judgment before Defendant filed his Answer. Plaintiff argued that Defendant had failed to timely respond to the Complaint such that he was entitled to a judgment in his favor. The Magistrate Judge entered a Proposed Findings of Fact and Recommendation [32], recommending that Plaintiff's Motion [7] for Summary Judgment be denied. Plaintiff filed an Objection [37] and an Amended Objection [40] to the Magistrate Judge's Proposed Findings of Fact and Recommendation [32], which this Court overruled on May 17, 2018. See Order [71] at 5.

         Defendant then filed a Motion [54] to Dismiss and/or for Summary Judgment asking the Court to dismiss this action pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(2) for lack of personal jurisdiction, Rule 12(b)(5) for insufficient service of process, or Rule 12(b)(6) for failure to state a claim upon which relief can be granted. See Def.'s Mot. [54] at 1; Def.'s Mem. [55] at 4-13. Alternatively, Defendant asked the Court to grant summary judgment in his favor under Rule 56(a). See Def.'s Mot. [54] at 1; Def.'s Mem. [55] at 13-19. Plaintiff filed a Response [61] in opposition to Defendant's Motion [54].

         Plaintiff also filed his own Motion [59] for Summary Judgment, again insisting that Defendant was in default and that the Court “should have entered an order and judgment of default . . . .” Pl.'s Mem. [60] at 10. Plaintiff essentially reurged his previous Motion [7] for Summary Judgment, his Objections to the Magistrate Judge's earlier Proposed Findings of Fact and Recommendation [32], and the other Motions he had previously filed.

         The Magistrate Judge considered Plaintiff's Motion [59] for Summary Judgment and again found that Defendant filed his answer within the time allotted. Accordingly, the Magistrate Judge recommended that Plaintiff's Motion [59] for Summary Judgment be denied. See Proposed Findings of Fact and Recommendation [72] at 5. The Magistrate Judge next considered Defendant's Motion [54] to Dismiss and/or for Summary Judgment and concluded as a threshold matter that this Court lacks personal jurisdiction over Defendant. The Magistrate Judge also found that Plaintiff has failed to state a constitutional or statutory claim against Defendant or, in the alternative, that Defendant is entitled to qualified immunity. The Magistrate Judge recommended that Defendant's Motion [54] to Dismiss and/or for Summary Judgment be granted and that Plaintiff's claims be dismissed with prejudice. See Id. at 12.

         The same day the Magistrate Judge entered his Proposed Findings of Fact and Recommendation [72], Plaintiff filed a Motion [73] for Relief, which appears to seek reconsideration of the Court's May 17, 2018, Order [71] which adopted the Magistrate Judge's earlier Proposed Findings of Fact and Recommendation [32] and denied Plaintiff's earlier Motion [7] for Summary Judgment. Plaintiff again maintains that he is entitled to judgment as a matter of law on his claims against Defendant.

         II. DISCUSSION

         A. Plaintiff's ...


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