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JACKSON v. REFINED SUGARS

November 20, 1998

WILLIE JACKSON, Plaintiff, against REFINED SUGARS, INC., Defendant.

David N. Edelstein, U.S.D.J.


The opinion of the court was delivered by: EDELSTEIN

OPINION & ORDER

EDELSTEIN, District Judge:

 Pro se Plaintiff, Willie Jackson, brings this motion pursuant to Federal Rules of Civil Procedure Rule 60 ("Rule 60"), seeking to vacate the judgment this Court ordered on October 19, 1989. For the reasons stated below, Plaintiff's request is Denied.

 Background

 In 1988, Plaintiff, a former employee of Defendant, Refined Sugars, Inc., ("RSI"), commenced an action against RSI alleging that his 1987 discharge was based on race in violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, 42 U.S.C. § 2000e, and of 42 U.S.C. § 1981. See Affidavit of Donald W. Brainard, ("Brainard Aff."), PP 1-2 and Exh. A. The parties reached agreement on a settlement that afforded Plaintiff payments from RSI totaling $ 82,500. Id. at P 5. Accordingly, on September 28, 1988, the parties entered into a Stipulation and Order of Discontinuance that this Court "so ordered" on October 19, 1989. Id. at Exh. B.

 Nine years later, Plaintiff now seeks to vacate the judgment of dismissal pursuant to Rule 60(b). He argues that the judgment of dismissal should be vacated because he signed the settlement agreement "under duress from [his] lawyer." Plaintiff's Affidavit in Support of Motion ("Plaintiff Aff."), at 1. Plaintiff contends that in 1988, he advised his attorney that he wanted to receive pension payments as part of the settlement. Id. He claims, however, to have signed the settlement agreement that did not include pension payments because his attorney advised him that "this was the best [Plaintiff] could do under the law." Id.

 Discussion

 Rule 60(b) provides in part:

 
(b) Mistakes; Inadvertence; Excusable Neglect; Newly Discovered Evidence, Fraud, Etc. On motion and upon such terms as are just, the court may relieve a party . . . from a final judgment, order or proceeding for the following reasons: (1) mistake, inadvertence, surprise or excusable neglect; (2) newly discovered evidence which by due diligence could not have been discovered in time to move for a new trial under Rule 59(b); (3) fraud (whether heretofore denominated intrinsic or extrinsic), misrepresentation, or other misconduct of an adverse party; (4) the judgment is void; (5) the judgment has been satisfied, released, or discharged, or a prior 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 reason justifying relief from the operation of the judgment. The motion shall be made within a reasonable time, and for reasons (1), (2), and (3), not more than one year after the judgment, order or proceeding was entered or taken.

 Fed. R. Civ. P. Rule 60(b).

 Plaintiff does not argue that there is any newly discovered evidence (Rule 60(b)(2)); misconduct by RSI (Rule 60(b)(3)); that the judgment is void (Rule 60(b)(4); or any of the bases under Rule 60 (b)(5). Moreover, because Plaintiff does not state in his papers what part of Rule 60(b) he bases his request for relief, this Court must assume that Plaintiff's motion is brought under either Rule 60(b)(1) or Rule 60(b)(6). Therefore, this Court will analyze Plaintiff's claim under both.

 1. Rule 60(b)(1)

 Plaintiff asserts that his representation in the prior proceedings was inadequate. He claims that part of his desired outcome prior to settlement was to receive pension payments. Nonetheless, Plaintiff asserts that, based on his attorney's recommendation, he accepted a settlement of $ 82,500 without pension payments. Plaintiff Aff. at 1. Plaintiff does not allege that his attorney prevented him from proceeding to trial or from attempting to secure a better settlement. Plaintiff only claims that his attorney expressed the opinion that "this was the best [Plaintiff] could do under the law." Id. This does not amount to error by the Plaintiff's attorney, and thus Plaintiff's argument fails.

 Even assuming that Plaintiff's claim does demonstrate error by his attorney, Plaintiff would not be entitled to relief. The ...


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