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LEONARD v. LOWE'S HOME CENTERS

United States District Court, Southern District of New York


March 25, 2003

RAYMOND A. LEONARD, PLAINTIFF, AGAINST LOWE'S HOME CENTERS, INC., DEFENDANT.

The opinion of the court was delivered by: Robert W. Sweet, United States District Judge.

MEMORANDUM OPINION

Plaintiff pro se Raymond A. Leonard ("Leonard") has moved pursuant to Rule 60(b)(2) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure for relief from the December 6, 2001 judgment of this Court awarding summary judgment to defendant Lowe's Home Centers, Inc. ("Lowes"), the April 12, 2002 order denying his motion for reconsideration and the November 12, 2002 order stating that this Court lacked jurisdiction to grant Leonard an extension of time to file a notice of appeal. For the following reasons, the motions are denied.*fn1

Leonard filed the instant motion on January 9, 2003, and it was considered fully submitted on February 19, 2002. Lowes did not submit a reply in opposition.

Standard of Review

In addressing the present motion, the Court is mindful that the plaintiff is proceding pro se and that his submissions should be held "`to less stringent standards than formal pleadings drafted by lawyers. . . .'" Hughes v. Rowe, 449 U.S. 5, 9, 101 S.Ct. 173, 176 (1980) (per curiam) (quoting Haines v. Kerner, 404 U.S. 519, 520, 92 S.Ct. 594, 595 (1972)); see also Ferran v. Town of Nassau, 11 F.3d 21, 22 (2d Cir. 1993). Indeed, district courts should "read the pleadings of a pro se plaintiff liberally and interpret them to raise the strongest arguments they suggest.'" McPherson v. Coombe, 174 F.3d 276, 280 (2d Cir. 1999) (quoting Burgos v. Hopkins, 14 F.3d 787, 790 (2d Cir. 1994). Nevertheless, the Court is also aware that pro se status "`does not exempt a party from compliance with relevant rules of procedural and substantive law.'" Traguth v. Zuck, 710 F.2d 90, 95 (2d Cir. 1983) (quotations omitted).

The December 6, 2001 Judqment

Rule 60(b)(2)*fn2 permits a court to grant relief when a party uncovers "newly discovered evidence which by due diligence could not have been discovered in time to move for a new trial under Rule 59(b)." The rule requires that the motion be made "not more than one year after the judgment, order or proceeding was entered or taken." The order was docketed on December 10, 2001, and the judgment was entered on December 28, 2001. As a result, Leonard would have had to file this motion by December 27, 2002. Because he failed to do so, relief may not be granted. E.g., Carrol v. Local 144 Pension Fund, 152 F.3d 917 (2d Cir. 1998) (unpublished) (affirming district court's denial of motion to reopen as it was untimely). As discussed below, Leonard has in any case failed to present any "newly discovered evidence" to merit the reopening of the case.

April 12, 2002 and November 14, 2002 Orders

Leonard also apparently moves under Rule 60(b)(2) for reconsideration of the Court's April 12, 2002 order denying his motion for reconsideration of the Court's December 6, 2001 opinion and the Court's November 14, 2002 order denying Leonard's request for an extension of time to file a notice of appeal because this Court lacked the jurisdiction to so grant. While these motions are arguably timely as they occurred within the one-year limit prescribed by Rule 60, Leonard has nonetheless failed to produce any newly discovered evidence that would warrant a different result. He appears to base these motions on the arguments that (1) he did not have to respond to Lowe's motion to dismiss and (2) Leonard requested discovery from Lowe's on two occasions (September 10, 2001 and January 11, 2002) and was ignored both times. He also includes about twenty pages reciting the facts of the case and a legal analysis thereof. Neither of the reasons put forth above constitute "newly discovered evidence" and, in any case, would not warrant a different result.

As a result, Leonard's motion for reconsideration of the three orders of this Court is denied.

It is so ordered.


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