The opinion of the court was delivered by: Sweet, District Judge.
Plaintiff Dolores Canales ("Canales") has moved the Court to
reconsider and vacate its order and judgment (the "Order")
dismissing Canales' complaint and to reopen this case to review
it on the merits. For the reasons set forth below the motion is
Canales had applied for Disability Insurance benefits and
Supplemental Security Income ("SSI") benefits based on
disability. The complaint, filed on August 12, 1988, was filed
104 days after the final decision denying benefits filed by the
Appeals Council on April 29, 1988. Canales never made a request
to the Secretary for an extension of time in which to file a
civil complaint and no extension was granted.
Canales is fifty-three years old and suffers from a variety
of medical and psychiatric impairments. She has been under
bi-monthly psychiatric care since January 1986 for paranoid
ideations, crying spells, and irritability. She was diagnosed
as suffering from major depression with psychotic features.
Since the motion to dismiss was presented to the court, Canales
has been deemed disabled and entitled to benefits because of
her mental illness in a decision dated March 6, 1990 issued by
the Social Security Administration, North Bronx District
Canales, now represented by counsel, has submitted papers
indicating that the court was under the misimpression that
Canales was represented during her administrative proceedings.
Canales contends that her failure to file a timely appeal was
caused not by deliberate intent but by the very same mental
disability for which she is seeking benefits and thus, under
these circumstances, the doctrine of equitable tolling should
be applied to afford her an opportunity to have her rights
decided on the merits.
Rule 60(b) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure enumerates
six grounds upon which a party may seek relief from a final
judgment. "Properly applied, the rule preserves a balance
between serving the ends of justice and ensuring that
litigation reaches an end within a finite period a time."
House v. Secretary of Health and Human Serv., 688 F.2d 7, 9 (2d
Cir. 1982) (citations omitted).
Rule 60(b) provides that:
[T]he court may relieve a party or a party's legal
representative from a final judgment, order, or
proceeding for the following reasons: (1) mistake,
inadvertence, surprise or excusable neglect . . .;
(3) fraud . . ., misrepresentation, or other
misconduct of an adverse party; (4) the judgment
upon which it is based has been reversed or
otherwise vacated, or it is no longer equitable
that the judgment should have prospective
application, or (6) any other reasons justifying
relief from the operation of the judgment.
Rule 60(b) grants courts "broad authority" to relieve a party
from a final judgment "upon such terms as are just" as long as
one of the six reasons set forth in the Rule apply.
Liljeberg v. Health Serv. Acquisition Corp., 486 U.S. 847, 108
S.Ct. 2194, 2204, 100 L.Ed.2d 855 (1988).
The Second Circuit has recognized that this Circuit's
interpretations of the scope of Rule 60(b)(6) has varied
greatly. Nemaizer v. Baker, 793 F.2d 58, 63 (2d Cir. 1986)
("whether the water in the reservoir [of equitable power] is
scant or grand is far from clear"). Most recently, Judge Leval
has stated that Rule 60(b) requires that "the evidence in
support of the motion must be `highly convincing,' a party must
show good cause for failure to act sooner, and no undue
hardship must be imposed on other parties." Security Pacific
Mortg. & Real Estate Serv., Inc. v. Herald Center Ltd.,
731 F. Supp. 605, 611 (S.D.N.Y. 1990) (citing Kotlicky v. U.S.
Fidelity & Guar. Co., 817 F.2d 6, 9 (2d Cir. 1987)).