United States District Court, E.D. North Carolina, Western Division
JOHN B. LASCHKEWITSCH as administrator for the Estate of Ben Laschkewitsch, Plaintiff,
LINCOLN LIFE AND ANNUITY DISTRIBUTORS, INC., d/b/a/ LINCOLN FINANCIAL GROUP, INC., Defendant.
TERRENCE W. BOYLE, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
matter comes before the Court on a motion by plaintiff,
pro se, for relief from judgment. Defendant has
responded, plaintiff has replied, and the motion is ripe for
ruling. Also before the Court and ripe for adjudication are
plaintiffs motions to seal and defendant's motion for
entry of a prefiling injunction.
Court incorporates by reference the factual background of
this matter as recited in its summary judgment order entered
September 16, 2014. [DE 114]. Since final judgment was
entered in this case, the Court has denied plaintiffs motion
to alter or amend judgment and the court of appeals has
dismissed his appeal. [DE 120; 135]. The United States
Supreme Court has denied plaintiffs petition for writ of
certiorari. [DE 140]. On September 5, 2017, plaintiff filed
the instant motion for relief from judgment pursuant to Rules
60(a) and 60(b)(4) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure.
Plaintiff asks this Court to correct its prior errors arising
from oversight or omission and to dismiss defendant's
counterclaims for lack of subject matter jurisdiction due to
defendant's failure to demonstrate standing.
60(a) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure allows a court
to correct clerical mistakes or mistakes arising from
oversight or omission. Fed R. Civ. P. 60(a); Am. Trucking
Ass 'ns v. Frisco Transp. Co., 358 U.S. 133, 145
(1958) ("It is axiomatic that courts have the power and
the duty to correct judgments which contain clerical errors
or judgments which have issued due to inadvertence or
mistake."). Rule 60(a) allows a court to correct
typographical and clerical errors as well as ambiguities in a
prior order, or make corrections that are consistent with the
court's intention. Sartin v. McNair Law Firm PA,
756 F.3d 259, 266 (4th Cir. 2014) (listing cases). Thus,
"the scope of a court's authority under Rule 60(a)
to make corrections to an order or judgment is circumscribed
by the court's intent when it issued the order or
has presented no grounds in his motion which would support
relief under Rule 60(a). Although plaintiff refers to
"omissions" and "oversights" in the
Court's prior order on summary judgment, he has failed to
identify any "correction" required to make the
order consistent with the Court's intent. His motion on
this basis is denied.
60(b)(4) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure provides for
relief from final judgment where the judgment is void.
"An order is 'void' for purposes of Rule
60(b)(4) only if the court rendering the decision lacked
personal or subject matter jurisdiction or acted in a manner
inconsistent with due process of law." Wendt v.
Leonard, 431 F.3d 410, 412 (4th Cir. 2005). Where, as
here, a judgment is challenged as void on the basis of the
absence of subject matter jurisdiction, the jurisdictional
error must be deemed egregious before the judgment will be
treated as void, and it must be demonstrated that there was a
'"total want of jurisdiction' and no arguable
basis on which [the court] could have rested a finding that
it had jurisdiction." Id. at 413 (quoting
Nemaizer v. Baker, 793 F.2d 58, 65 (2nd Cir. 1986)).
challenges defendant's standing to have brought its
counterclaims. Federal courts may consider only cases or
controversies, and "the doctrine of standing has always
been an essential component" of the case or controversy
requirement. Marshall v. Meadows, 105 F.3d 904, 906
(4th Cir. 1997) (citing Lujan v. Defenders of
Wildlife, 504 U.S. 555, 560 (1992)). To demonstrate
standing, a plaintiff must establish that they have suffered
an injury in fact that is concrete and particularized, that
the injury is fairly traceable to the challenged action of
the defendant, and that the injury is likely to be redressed
by a favorable decision from the Court. Chambers Med.
Techs. of S.C, Inc. v. Bryant, 52 F.3d 1252, 1265 (4th
Cir. 1995) (citing Lujan, 504 U.S. at 555); see
also Spokeo, Inc. v. Robins, 136 S.Ct. 1540, 1547
(2016), as revised (May 24, 2016).
has failed to demonstrate that there is no arguable basis for
the Court to have found it had jurisdiction over
defendant's counterclaims. The Court's summary
judgment order plainly detailed that plaintiffs fraud against
defendant was beyond dispute, that plaintiff engaged in
unfair and deceptive trade practices, that he engaged in
misrepresentation, that plaintiff breached his producer
agreement with defendant, and that defendant was damaged
thereby. Accordingly, contrary to plaintiffs argument that
defendant's alleged injury was not imminent or concrete,
defendant had standing to assert its claims against
plaintiff. Moreover, nothing in the Court's review of
this matter would convince it that there was a total want of
jurisdiction over defendant's counterclaims. Plaintiffs
motion on this ground is also denied.
bottom, although judgment has been entered and this case is
closed, plaintiff seeks another opportunity to litigate his
claims and defenses. Rule 60, however, "may not be used
to relitigate claims already decided by the court."
Saunders v. City of Petersburg Police Dep't, 158
Fed.Appx. 491 (4th Cir. 2005); see also CNF Constructors,
Inc. v. Donohoe Const. Co., 57 F.3d 395, 401 (4th Cir.
1995) (Rule 60 not a substitute for direct appeal).
has filed a motion for entry of a prefiling injunction in
this matter, which would prevent plaintiff from filing any
document against defendant in this case and enjoin plaintiff
from filing any action against defendant or its related
entities arising from the underlying factual allegations of
this case without first obtaining leave of court. "[T]he
All Writs Act, 28 U.S.C. § 1651(a) (2000), grants
federal courts the authority to limit access to the courts by
vexatious and repetitive litigants", but "[s]uch a
drastic remedy must be used sparingly . . . consistent with
constitutional guarantees of due process of law and access to
the courts." Cromer v. Kraft Foods N. Am.,
Inc., 390 F.3d 812, 817 (4th Cir. 2004). The Court
declines to exercise its discretion to enter a prefiling
injunction against plaintiff at this time. Plaintiff is,
however, warned that continuing to file baseless motions in
closed cases may lead to just such a result.
the Court has considered plaintiffs motions to seal. For good
cause shown, and as the requested sealed material consists of