United States District Court, S.D. New York
June 1, 2005.
GUY MARSHALL, Plaintiff,
NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF LETTER CARRIERS BR36, NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF LETTER CARRIERS, EQUAL EMPLOYMENT OPPORTUNITY COMMISSION, NATIONAL LABOR RELATION BOARD, UNITED STATES POSTAL SERVICE, JOHN E. POTTER, POSTMASTER GENERAL, et al., Defendants.
The opinion of the court was delivered by: LAURA TAYLOR SWAIN, District Judge
AMENDED MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER
By Order dated September 29, 2004, this Court adopted the
Reports and Recommendations of Magistrate Judge Andrew Peck
dismissing the above-captioned actions and denying Plaintiff Guy
Marshall's motion for a preliminary injunction. Judgment in
Defendants' favor was entered in each action on or about October
5, 2004. Plaintiff now moves for reconsideration, requests that
this Court recuse itself, moves to amend the judgment, and moves
for a trial, all of which applications Defendants oppose.
The Court treats Plaintiff's applications, insofar as they are
directed to the September 29, 2004, decision, as requests for
relief pursuant to Rule 60(b) of the Federal Rules of Civil
Procedure, which authorizes relief from a final judgment or order
on the grounds, inter alia, of mistake, inadvertence, surprise,
or excusable neglect, newly discovered evidence, or "any other reason justifying relief from the operation of the
judgment." The Court has considered thoroughly the parties'
submissions in connection with these motions and the arguments
contained therein. For the reasons that follow, Plaintiff's
motions are denied.
Motion for Reconsideration
Plaintiff seeks, in essence, reconsideration and vacatur of the
September 29, 2004, decision. He reiterates many of the arguments
advanced in his earlier submissions, contending that the Court's
determinations constituted "plain error" in many respects and
wrought manifest injustice.*fn1 Although Plaintiff argues
zealously for the requested relief, he does not identify any
controlling decisions or factual matters that the Court
overlooked in the September 29, 2004, Order. Rather, he simply
debates the Court's conclusions. Nor do Plaintiff's submissions
demonstrate that the analyses set forth in Magistrate Judge
Peck's Report and Recommendation in these cases, or this Court's
Order adopting those Reports and Recommendations, are so
erroneous as to constitute plain error or manifest injustice.
The undersigned and Magistrate Judge Peck have indeed reviewed
thoroughly and sympathetically, all of Plaintiff's submissions in
these and other related cases. We have applied the law in a
thorough and appropriate manner. Plaintiff's frustration with not
having been permitted to engage in discovery or take his case
through to trial is understandable, but the courts are bound to
apply the law and, in these cases, dismissal of Plaintiff's
claims was warranted under the law, for the reasons detailed in
Judge Peck's Reports and Recommendations and the September 29, 2004, Order adopting them.
Because those decisions are so detailed and deal with the
arguments Plaintiff again seeks to raise here, the Court will not
address in this Order the details of Plaintiff's contentions. The
Court will, however, supplement the explanations in those earlier
decisions in one respect. Plaintiff argues here (as he did
earlier) that his Title VII claim was filed timely because of the
date and manner in which the Equal Employment Opportunity
Commission ("EEOC") issued his Right to Sue letter. Even if the
Court accepted Plaintiff's factual analysis of the timeliness
issue as true, however, the Title VII claims relating to the
events in 1999 and earlier would still be barred by res
judicata and collateral estoppel arising from, among other
things, the dismissal on the merits of his Title VII claims in
Marshall II on the ground that Plaintiff failed to offer any
facts giving rise to an inference of racial discrimination.
(See Order, Marshall v. Nat'l Ass'n of Letter Carriers Br. 36,
et al., Nos. 00 Civ. 3167, 01 Civ. 3086, February 3, 2003, at
18.) Furthermore, Plaintiff's claims regarding post-1999 negative
references citing the termination and the reasons therefor depend
on his contention that the employment termination and earlier
disciplinary determinations were wrongful. Under the preclusion
doctrines discussed in Magistrate Judge Peck's Reports and
Recommendations, and this Court's September 29, 2004, Order,
Plaintiff can no longer seek to establish that those actions
cited in the references were taken wrongfully.
Accordingly, Plaintiff's application for reconsideration and
relief from the judgment is denied. Motion for Recusal
Plaintiff also moves, pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 455(a), for
recusal of the undersigned. Section 455(a) provides that "[a]ny . . .
judge . . . of the United States shall disqualify himself in
any proceeding in which his impartiality might be reasonably
questioned." 28 U.S.C.A. § 455(a) (West 1993). As the Second
Circuit has explained, "the test of impartiality is what a
reasonable person, knowing and understanding all the facts and
circumstances, would believe." In re Drexel Burnham Lambert
Inc., 861 F.2d 1307, 1308 (2d Cir. 1988). The Second Circuit has
further stated, however, that "[a] judge is as much obliged not
to recuse himself when it is not called for as he is obliged to
when it is." Id. at 1312. In the instant matter, Plaintiff's
argument is essentially that, because the Court ruled in favor of
Defendants in granting the motions to dismiss, the Court has
shown itself to be biased. Aside from disagreeing with the
Court's legal analysis, Plaintiff has not proffered any evidence
from which a reasonable person could conclude that the Court has
conducted itself in anything less than an impartial manner.
Simply because the Court determines that the law does not favor a
litigant does not mean that the Court is biased against that
litigant. Plaintiff's motion for recusal is denied. CONCLUSION
The Court has reviewed Plaintiff's arguments in support of his
motion for reconsideration and relief from the judgment, and in
support of his motion for the Court to recuse itself, as well as
Defendants' opposition thereto. For the foregoing reasons,
Plaintiff's motions are denied in their entirety.
The Court certifies pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915(a)(3) that any
appeal from this order would not be taken in good faith. See
Coppedge v. United States, 369 U.S. 438, 444 (1962).