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Mills v. Appellate Division Fourth Department

United States District Court, W.D. New York

March 22, 2017

RICHARD MILLS, Plaintiff,
v.
APPELLATE DIVISION FOURTH DEPARTMENT, JUSTICE KEHOE, JUSTICE GORSKI, JUSTICE MARTOCHE, JUSTICE SMITH, JUSTICE PINE, JUSTICE EUGENE F. PIGOTT, COMMISSION OF JUDICIAL CONDUCT, LAWRENCE GOLDMAN, STEVEN COFFEY, COLLEEN DIPIRRO, RICHARD EMERY, RAOUL LIONEL FELDER, CHRISTINA HERNANDEZ, THOMAS KLONICK, DAVID L1CIANO, KAREN PETERS, ALAN POPE, TERRY RUDERMAN, FRANCES CAFARELL, RANDOLPH ZICKL, ELIOT SPITZER, DEL ATWELL, Defendants.

          DECISION AND ORDER

          HON. MICHAEL A. TELESCA United States District Judge

         BACKGROUND

         Pro se inmate Richard Mills (“Plaintiff”) instituted this action under, inter alia, 42 U.S.C. § 1983 and 1985, alleging the existence of a conspiracy among a number of Justices of the New York State Supreme Court, Appellate Division, Fourth Department; the New York State Commission on Judicial Conduct and its individual Commissioners; the Fourth Department's Assigned Counsel Program Administrator; the Genesee County Assigned Program Administrator; the New York State Attorney General; and Plaintiff's court-appointed appellate counsel. According to Plaintiff, these individuals and entities conspired to deny him of his constitutional rights to a direct appeal from his conviction and his constitutional right to the effective assistance of appellate counsel.

         On March 7, 2006, the Court (Arcara, D.J.) issued an Order (Dkt #25) finding that, inter alia, the Fourth Department the named Justices were entitled to absolute judicial immunity; that the Commissioners of the Commission on Judicial Conduct were entitled to absolute quasi-judicial immunity; Plaintiff failed to state any claims against the assigned counsel program administrators; and Plaintiff's court-appointed appellate counsel was not acting “under color of state law” for purposes of Section 1983. Judgment (Dkt #26) was entered in favor of the defendants on March 8, 2006. Plaintiff's appeal to the Second Circuit was dismissed on September 20, 2006 (Dkt #30), as lacking an arguable basis in fact or law.

         In pro se papers dated July 20, 2016, Plaintiff moved to vacate (Dkt #33) the May 10, 2004, Decision and Order dismissing his Complaint pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 60(b) (“Rule 60(b)”). Plaintiff also has moved for sanctions (Dkt #37) under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 11 (“Rule 11”). For the reasons discussed below, both motions are denied.

         MOTION TO VACATE

         I. Legal Principles

         Pursuant to Rule 60(b), “[o]n motion and just terms, a court may relieve a party or its legal representative from a final judgment, order, or proceeding” for any of the following reasons:

(1) mistake, inadvertence, surprise, or excusable neglect;
(2) newly discovered evidence that, with reasonable diligence, could not have been discovered in time to move for a new trial under Rule 59(b);
(3) fraud (whether previously called intrinsic or extrinsic), misrepresentation, or misconduct by an opposing party;
(4) the judgment is void;
(5) the judgment has been satisfied, released or discharged; it is based on an earlier judgment that has been reversed or vacated; or applying it ...

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