United States District Court, S.D. New York
February 3, 2004.
PETER McCAULEY, Plaintiff, -against- TRANS UNION LLC, Defendant
The opinion of the court was delivered by: VICTOR MARRERO, District Judge
DECISION AND ORDER
Pro se plaintiff Peter McCauley ("McCauley") moves this
Court pursuant to Fed.R.Civ.P. 60(b)(1) for relief from the Court's
Decision and Order dated December 16, 2003 and from the Judgment entered
on December 30, 2003 in favor of the defendant Trans Union LLC ("Trans
Union"). Rule 60(b)(1) allows a court to relieve a party from a final
judgment based on "mistake, inadvertence, surprise, or excusable
neglect." Fed.R.Civ.P. 60(b)(1).
To prevail on a motion for reconsideration under Local Civil Rule 6.3,
which governs such motions in this District, "the moving party must
demonstrate controlling law or a factual matter before the court on the
underlying motion that the movant believes the court overlooked and that
might reasonably be expected to alter the court's decision." Maxwell
v. City of New York, 272 F. Supp.2d 285, 305 (S.D.N.Y. 2003).
McCauley argues that the Court made a judicial error in
its judgment.*fn1 McCauley's arguments challenge the reasoning of
the Court's decision. He relies on Lish v. Harper's Magazine
Found., 148 F.R.D. 516 (S.D.N.Y. 1993), to support his assertion
that the Court erred in dismissing his claim after he rejected Trans
Union's offer of judgment. In Lish, a plaintiff rejected an
offer of settlement for the full monetary value that he was seeking
because the plaintiff interpreted the proposed settlement agreement as
lacking an admission of liability on the part of the defendant. See
id. The court ruled that a "judicial determination of copyright
violation confers a benefit on a plaintiff which he would not have
obtained merely by the entry of judgment in his favor: that is, to use
the precedent established by a court finding in future instances."
Id. at 520.
McCauley similarly argues here that because he could have obtained a
judicial determination at trial that Trans Union negligently violated the
Fair Credit Reporting Act, 15 U.S.C. § 1681 et seq., and
then used that precedent in future cases, his rejection of the offer of
judgment that Trans Union made following this Court's Decision and Order
dated December 16, 2003 did not moot his claim.
Lish is not binding precedent on this Court. Federal courts
are courts of limited jurisdiction and only resolve actual cases or
controversies. See U.S. Const. art. III, § 2; Utah v.
Evans, 536 U.S. 452 (2002). The Supreme Court has stated that * [a]
lawsuit does not fall within this grant of judicial authority unless,
among other things, courts have the power to `redress' the `injury' that
the defendant allegedly `caused' the plaintiff." Evans, 536
U.S. at 459. As this Court stated in McCauley I, courts have
consistently held that "When a defendant makes an offer of everything a
plaintiff could possibly be entitled to from a plaintiff's lawsuit, that
case may be dismissed if the plaintiff rejects the offer." McCauley
I, 2003 WL 22845741, at *2. Once Trans Union offered McCauley all
the damages that he was seeking, there was nothing further that this
Court could do to redress the injury that McCauley claims Trans Union
McCauley argues that despite his rejection of Trans Union's offer of
judgment of $240 plus costs, the Court should nevertheless have entered
judgment against Trans Union for $240 plus costs. He relies on Weiss
v. Fein, Such, Kahn & Shepard, P.C, No. 01 Civ. 1086, 2002 WL
449653 (S.D.N.Y. Mar. 22, 2002), and Amblau v. Rosenblatt,
194 F.R.D. 451 (E.D.N.Y. 2000), which this Court cited in McCauley
I for the proposition that a court may dismiss a case when the
offers the plaintiff all that the plaintiff could possibly recover
through litigation. See McCauley I, 2003 WL 22845741, at *2. In
McCauley I, the Court stated that it "would be compelled to
dismiss the action if McCauley were to reject the offer." Id.
at *4. McCauley rejected Trans Union's offer. He has cited no binding
authority under which this Court must now grant him the relief he seeks.
Finally, McCauley argues that despite his pro se status, he
is entitled to recover attorney's fees for his of-counsel attorneys. The
Court addressed this issue in McCauley I, see
id. at *2 n.4, and McCauley has not raised any binding
precedent or facts that might reasonably be expected to alter the Court's
McCauley's arguments for relief from the judgment are essentially an
attempt to reargue the merits of his case before this Court. McCauley has
cited no controlling law and no facts that the Court may have overlooked
that could reasonably be expected to alter the Court's decision.
For the reasons discussed forth above, it is hereby
ORDERED that the motion of plaintiff Peter McCauley for relief from the
Decision and Order dated December 16, 2003 and
the Judgment entered on December 30, 2003 is denied.