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In re Davis

United States District Court, S.D. Indiana, Indianapolis Division

December 12, 2018

IN THE MATTER OF JOHN H. DAVIS

          ORDER

          HON. JANE MAGNUS-STINSON JUDGE

         This matter is before the Court on Respondent John H. Davis's Motion to Reconsider Order Imposing Discipline (“Motion to Reconsider”) [Filing No. 10]. Respondent contends this Court improperly imposed reciprocal attorney discipline against him. For the reasons set forth below, the Court denies Respondent's Motion.

         I.

         Legal Standard

          The Court examines a motion to reconsider as one to alter or amend judgment under Fed.R.Civ.P. 59(e). Kiswani v. Phoenix Sec. Agency, Inc., 584 F.3d 741, 742 (7th Cir. 2009).[1] Relief under Rule 59(e) is an “extraordinary remed[y] reserved for the exceptional case.” Childress v. Walker, 787 F.3d 433, 442 (7th Cir. 2015) (quoting Foster v. DeLuca, 545 F.3d 582, 584 (7th Cir. 2008)). “A Rule 59(e) motion will be successful only where the movant clearly establishes: ‘(1) that the court committed a manifest error of law or fact, or (2) that newly discovered evidence precluded entry of judgment.'” Cincinnati Life Ins. Co. v. Beyrer, 722 F.3d 939, 954 (7th Cir. 2013) (quoting Blue v. Hartford Life & Accident Ins. Co., 698 F.3d 587, 598 (7th Cir. 2012)). It is not an opportunity to relitigate motions or present arguments, issues, or facts that could and should have been presented earlier. See Foster, 545 F.3d at 584.

         II.

         Background

         On May 29, 2018, the United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit removed Respondent from its roll of attorneys. In re Davis, No. 17-1732, Dkt. No. 76 (7th Cir. May 29, 2018) (unpublished order imposing discipline). The disciplinary action arose from Respondent's conduct in a district court case, Davis v. Alabama Department of Human Resources, No. 2:16-cv-00120-PPS-PRC, 2017 WL 930649 (N.D. Ind. Mar. 9, 2017) (dismissing complaint for failure to comply with Federal Rules of Civil Procedure 8 and 10), and from Respondent's conduct in his appeal of that decision, Davis v. Anderson, 718 Fed.Appx. 420 (7th Cir. 2017) (unpublished order affirming district court's dismissal and ordering Respondent to show cause why he should not be removed from the roll of attorneys), reh'g and reh'g en banc denied, motion to file untimely cert. petition denied.

         In its order imposing discipline, the Seventh Circuit pointed to Respondent's excessively voluminous filings in the district court (including a 165-page amended complaint with 429 pages of exhibits), his questionable representation of his ex-wife and estranged adult son in the case, and his frivolous appellate arguments. The court declared, “Our main concern was that the quality of Davis's work fell far below the standards expected of members of this court's bar.” In re Davis, No. 17-1732, Dkt. No. 76 at 2. Finding that Respondent failed to comply with court rules and that he cannot adequately represent his own or his clients' interests, the Seventh Circuit concluded Respondent's conduct warranted discipline pursuant to Federal Rules of Appellate Procedure 46(b) and (c) (providing in relevant part that a “court of appeals may discipline an attorney who practices before it for conduct unbecoming a member of the bar or for failure to comply with any court rule”). Accordingly, the court ordered that Respondent be removed from the roll of attorneys admitted to practice before it.[2]

         On July 11, 2018, in response to the discipline imposed by the Seventh Circuit and after affording Respondent notice and an opportunity to be heard, this Court issued an Order Imposing Discipline against Respondent, reciprocally removing Respondent from this Court's roll of attorneys. [Filing No. 7.] Rule II of the Local Rules of Disciplinary Enforcement for the Southern District of Indiana provides that, upon receipt of an order by another court publicly disciplining an attorney and after providing the attorney notice and an opportunity to be heard,

this Court shall impose the identical discipline unless the respondent-attorney demonstrates, or this Court finds, that upon the face of the record upon which the discipline in another jurisdiction is predicated it clearly appears:
1. that the procedure was so lacking in notice or opportunity to be heard as to constitute a deprivation of due process; or
2. that there was such an infirmity of proof establishing the misconduct as to give rise to the clear conviction that this Court could not, consistent with its duty, accept as ...

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