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Cordova v. University of Notre Dame Du Lac

United States District Court, N.D. Indiana, South Bend Division

October 8, 2014

AMBER MARIE LETTS CORDOVA, Plaintiff,
v.
UNIVERSITY OF NOTRE DAME DU LAC, Defendant.

OPINION AND ORDER

RUDY LOZANO, District Judge.

This matter is before the Court on the Motion, filed by Plaintiff, Amber Marie Letts Cordova, on April 1, 2014 (DE #15.) For the reasons set forth below, the motion is DENIED.

BACKGROUND

Plaintiff, Amber Marie Letts Cordova ("Cordova"), originally filed a complaint on January 25, 2011, against Defendant, the University of Notre Dame du lac ("Notre Dame"), in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Wisconsin; that case was transferred to the United States District Court for the Northern District of Indiana on May 17, 2011. (See Cordova v. University of Notre Dame du lac and Charles Edward Barber, cause number 3:11-CV-210, DE #36.) On June 23, 2011, the Honorable Robert L. Miller, Jr. dismissed the complaint pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 8 because the complaint was "made unintelligible by scattering and concealing in a morass of irrelevancies the few allegations that matter." ( Cordova v. University of Notre Dame du lac and Charles Edward Barber, cause number 3:11-CV-210, DE #40.) On July 13, 2011, Cordova, through her attorney Michael Dalrymple ("Attorney Dalrymple"), filed an amended complaint alleging that Notre Dame and Dr. Charles Barber violated her rights under Titles I and III of the Americans with Disabilities Act, 42 U.S.C. § 12101 et seq., Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act, 29 U.S.C. § 794, the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996, 42 U.S.C. § 1320d-5, the due process and equal protection clauses of the United States and Indiana Constitutions, and Indiana tort law by engaging in discriminatory practices based on her disabilities. (See Cordova v. University of Notre Dame du lac and Charles Edward Barber, cause number 3:11-CV-210, DE #41.) On December 13, 2011, Judge Miller issued an opinion and order for that case which, as related to Notre Dame, provided that several of Cordova's claims were dismissed with prejudice and several were dismissed without prejudice. (See Cordova v. University of Notre Dame du lac and Charles Edward Barber, cause number 3:11-CV-210, DE #51.)

On March 30, 2012, more than three months later, Cordova, though Attorney Dalrymple, filed a new lawsuit in this Court against Notre Dame based on the same basic underlying facts as her previous lawsuit. (DE #1.) In lieu of an answer, Notre Dame filed a motion to dismiss on June 1, 2012, arguing that Cordova's claims were time-barred. (DE #6.) On June 15, 2012, Cordova, through Attorney Dalrymple, filed an unopposed motion for an enlargement of time to respond to Notre Dame's motion to dismiss. (DE #8.) The motion requested a ten day extension and stated that:

Counsel for Plaintiff continues to research specific issues relating to defenses raised in Defendant's Motion to Dismiss and requires additional time to provide a complete and useful response. In addition, personal issues required the immediate and undivided attention of Plaintiff's counsel during this week. While all attorneys must tend to such matters, they have a greater impact on solo practitioners. This is Plaintiff's Counsel's first request for an extension in this matter.

( Id. ) Magistrate Judge Christopher A. Nuechterlein granted the motion for enlargement of time. (DE #9.) On June 25, 2012, Cordova, through Attorney Dalrymple, filed a detailed response in opposition to Notre Dame's motion to dismiss, arguing that Cordova's complaint was timely filed pursuant to the applicable statute of limitations. (DE's #10 & #11.) Notre Dame filed its reply on July 3, 2012. (DE #12.) On March 29, 2013, this Court entered a twenty-one page opinion and order granting Notre Dame's motion to dismiss; Cordova's claims were dismissed with prejudice, and the clerk of court entered judgment on April 3, 2013. (DE's #13 & #14.)

On April 1, 2014, Cordova filed the instant pro se motion, asking the Court to reconsider and correct "error, mistake, abuse, incorrect actions, inactions" and to "[v]acate [j]judgment, or provide other corrective action to allow [her] leave to retain counsel, and/or amend the complaint." (DE #15, p. 1.) Cordova apparently takes issue with the June 15, 2012, order which granted the request for an extension of time to respond to Notre Dame's motion to dismiss. ( Id. at 2-7.) In her pro se motion, Cordova repeatedly states that Attorney Dalrymple "told" this Court that he had "disabling issues" and was "unable to practice law." ( Id. at 2, 7.) Cordova argues that this Court "erred in not referring [Attorney] Dalrymple to be evaluated for fitness by the Supreme Court" because the Court "knew" that Attorney Dalrymple was "incapacitated" and yet chose not to allow for his "evaluation, discharge, or withdrawal." ( Id. at 2-3.) Cordova states that "[w]hen a licensed professional admits incapacitation it is an error for any other licensed member of the profession to allow them to continue to practice." ( Id. at 3.) She then proceeds to detail alleged "performance" issues of Attorney Dalrymple on various unrelated federal cases. ( Id. at 3-4.)

Next, Cordova states that "[i]f the dismissal is based on technical failures and/or [Attorney] Dalrymple's inability to organize information correctly, then the dismissal is an evaluation of the attorney's admitted disabling issues, not a just evaluation of the claims." ( Id. at 5.) Cordova proceeds to detail alleged deceptions and "misrepresentations" Attorney Dalrymple made to her regarding the response brief and his actions following the dismissal of the case. ( Id. at 5-6.) Cordova alleges that Attorney Dalrymple was inebriated when he discussed the Court's dismissal decision with her, was unreachable until after the time within which to file an appeal had expired, and failed to tell her that he was no longer representing her until November of 2013. ( Id. at 6.) Cordova claims that "[a]ny delay in coming to this [C]ourt for reconsideration or correction is the result of [Attorney] Dalrymple having not been evaluated or removed when he admitted inability to practice." ( Id. ) After describing Attorney Dalrymple's alleged failures and shortcomings, Cordova nonetheless insists that she is not requesting reconsideration "due to attorney quality" but rather because "access to Justice must not be affected by Judicial mistake, error, misconduct, abuse, neglect or just failure to correct an error that occurred." ( Id. at 7.)

Finally, Cordova requests that this Court correct its mistake(s) of not having Attorney Dalrymple's "incapacity properly evaluated and/or not allowing for a fair opportunity to respond to the 12(b)(6) or for other reasons the [C]ourt can articulate more clearly than I can." ( Id. ) Cordova concludes by providing a list of "magical words" in case they are "required" and asks the Court to:

1. Provide relief after judgment
2. Vacate judgment due to mistake
3. Vacate judgment due to ...

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