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Jones v. Wells Fargo Bank, N.A.

United States District Court, N.D. Indiana, Fort Wayne Division

December 3, 2018

JOY JONES, Plaintiff,
v.
WELLS FARGO BANK, N.A., and JOHN DOE, et al., Defendants.

          OPINION AND ORDER

          THERESA L. SPRINGMANN, UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT CHIEF JUDGE

         This matter is before the Court on the Plaintiff's, Joy Jones, Motion to Correct Error [ECF No. 16] and Amended Motion to Correct Error [ECF No. 17]. The Court construes these as Motions for Reconsideration pursuant to Federal Rules of Civil Procedure 59(e) and 60(b)(1)-(3). For the foregoing reasons, the Court DENIES the Plaintiff's Motions for Reconsideration.

         BACKGROUND

         The Plaintiff filed a complaint, pro se, on May 9, 2018 [ECF No. 1], along with a Motion for Leave to Proceed in Forma Pauperis [ECF No. 2], seeking to challenge a mortgage foreclosure and a pending sheriff's sale litigated and ruled upon in Indiana state court. On May 14, 2018, the Court denied the Plaintiff's Motion for Leave to Proceed in Forma Pauperis and dismissed the Plaintiff's Complaint [ECF No. 3]. On August 6, 2018, the Plaintiff filed a second Motion for Leave to Proceed in Forma Pauperis [ECF No. 6]. On September 7, 2018, the Plaintiff filed an Amended Complaint [ECF No. 10]. On September 10, 2018, the Plaintiff filed a Motion to Amend the Amended Complaint and attached a Second Amended Complaint [ECF No. 11 at 1, 11-1]. On September 25, 2018, the Court denied the Plaintiff's Motion for Leave to Proceed in Forma Pauperis and dismissed the Plaintiff's Amended Complaint for lack of subject matter jurisdiction [Op. and Order, ECF No. 12]. On September 25, 2018, the Plaintiff filed a Motion for an Emergency Stay and requested that the Court grant an injunction staying a state court's order of foreclosure [ECF No. 14]. The Court denied the Plaintiff's motion on September 28 as no basis existed to reopen her case [Op. and Order, ECF No. 15].

         On October 29, 2018, the Plaintiff filed a Motion to Correct Error [ECF No. 16]. On November 6, 2018, the Plaintiff filed an Amended Motion to Correct Error [ECF No. 17]. The Plaintiff claims that the Court erred in dismissing her Second Amended Complaint for lack of subject matter jurisdiction. (Pl.'s Mot. to Correct Error at 2.) The Plaintiff alleges that her claims were not barred by the Rooker-Feldman doctrine, id., at 2, which states that lower federal courts lack jurisdiction to review the decisions of state courts in civil cases. See Gilbert v. Ill. Bd. of Educ., 591 F.3d 896, 900 (7th Cir. 2010) (first citing Exxon Mobil Corp. v. Saudi Basic Indus. Corp., 544 U.S. 280, 283-84 (2005); then citing Johnson v. Orr, 551 F.3d 564, 568 (7th Cir. 2008)). The Plaintiff contends that she suffered damages that were separate and distinct from her mortgage foreclosure proceedings litigated in state court and the Court erred in its application of the Rooker-Feldman doctrine. (Pl.'s Mot. to Correct Error at 2-3.)

         ANALYSIS

         “A motion to alter or amend a judgment must be filed no later than 28 days after the entry of the judgment.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 59(e). The Plaintiff filed both her First and her Second Motion to Correct Error, which the Court understands as Motions for Reconsideration, several days past the 28-day deadline. The Seventh Circuit has established a bright-line rule that “any motion for reconsideration filed after the deadline must be construed as a motion to vacate.” Williams v. Illinois, 737 F.3d 473, 475 (7th Cir. 2013) (internal citations omitted). When a motion otherwise appropriate for consideration under Rule 59(e) is not timely filed, it “automatically becomes a Rule 60(b) motion.” Kiswani v. Phoenix Sec. Agency, Inc., 584 F.3d 741, 743 (quoting Talano v. Nw. Med. Faculty Found. Inc., 273 F.3d 757, 762 (7th Cir. 2001). This is the case even for pro se litigants. See, e.g., 3SM Realty & Dev., Inc. v. F.D.I.C., 393 Fed.Appx. 381, 383 (7th Cir. 2010) (“In any event, Mehta's status as a pro se litigant does not excuse his failure to meet the mandatory deadline for filing a Rule 59(e) motion”); Perdue v. Carlos, No. 2:10 CV 35, 2011 WL 2446565, at *1 (N.D. Ind. June 17, 2011) (noting a pro se plaintiff's filing pursuant to Rule 59(e) that was three days late must be construed as a Rule 60(b) motion). Accordingly, the Court must consider the Plaintiff's motion pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 60(b).

         Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 60 governs motions for reconsideration. Pursuant to Rule 60(b):

[T]he [C]ourt may relieve a party or its legal representative from a final judgment, order, or proceeding for 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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