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Williams v. Brewer

United States District Court, E.D. Michigan, Southern Division

May 21, 2019

HENRY LEE WILLIAMS, Petitioner,
v.
SHAWN BREWER, Respondent,

          OPINION AND ORDER DENYING MOTION FOR RELIEF FROM JUDGMENT (ECF NO. 10)

          HON. LINDA V. PARKER, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE

         Before the Court is petitioner Henry Lee Williams' Rule 60(b) motion for relief from judgment, in which he asks the Court to reopen his case and give him additional time to cure the copy deficiency. For the reasons that follow, the motion is DENIED without prejudice to petitioner filing a new habeas petition.

         On June 19, 2017, Magistrate Judge R. Steven Whalen issued an “Order to Correct Deficiency, ” to which Petitioner was ordered to submit two copies of his petition for writ of habeas corpus in order for the Clerk of the Court to effect service upon the respondent and the Michigan Attorney General's Office. Petitioner was given thirty days to comply with the order.

         On October 11, 2017, this Court summarily dismissed the petition without prejudice because petitioner failed to timely cure the deficiency.

         Petitioner filed his motion for relief from judgment on December 28, 2018.[1] In his motion for relief from judgment, Petitioner indicates that because of his limited education, he was given a “jailhouse lawyer, ” i.e., a fellow prisoner to assist him with his habeas petition. Based on faulty advice from this prisoner, Petitioner only filed one copy of the petition with this Court and attempted to directly serve the Attorney General of the State of Michigan with another copy. Petitioner claims that when he received the order to correct the deficiency, the prisoner who had been helping him with his petition was placed in segregation for fighting. The prisoner had the only legible copy of the petition for writ of habeas corpus in his possession. Petitioner asked a sergeant at the prison to retrieve this copy of the petition so that Petitioner could make copies. The sergeant promised to do so, but then retired from employment before obtaining the copy. In the meantime, the prisoner who had been assisting petitioner was transferred to another facility, along with the sole copy of the habeas petition. Petitioner has continued to make attempts through prison staff and fellow inmates to locate this prisoner and attempt to retrieve his petition. Finally, Petitioner was advised by a second prison paralegal to write this Court to obtain a copy of the petition in order to make the required copies. Petitioner claims he wrote this Court on November 26, 2018 and obtained a copy of the petition. Petitioner asks this Court to reopen the petition and grant him additional time to provide this Court with the requisite copies.

         Under Fed.R.Civ.P. 60(b), a motion for relief from judgment can be granted for the following reasons:

(1) mistake, inadvertence, surprise, or excusable neglect;
(2) newly discovered evidence which by due diligence could not have been discovered in time to move for a new trial under Rule 59(b);
(3) fraud (whether heretofore denominated intrinsic or extrinsic), misrepresentation, or other misconduct of an adverse party;
(4) the judgment is void;
(5) the judgment has been satisfied, released, or discharged, or a prior judgment upon which it is based has been reversed or otherwise vacated, or it is no longer equitable that the judgment should have prospective application; or,
(6) any other reason justifying relief from the operation of the judgment.

         “Regardless of circumstances, no court can consider a motion brought under Rule 60(b)(1), (2), or (3) a year after judgment.” In re G.A.D., Inc., 340 F.3d 331, 334 (6th Cir. 2003) (citing Fed.R.Civ.P. 60(b), and McDowell v. Dynamics Corp. of America, 931 F.2d 380, 384 (6th Cir. 1991)). Petitioner's current motion, in which he argues reasons to excuse his failure to timely cure the copy deficiency, is clearly based on subsection (1), excusable neglect. See, e.g., Williams v. Wolfenbarger, No. 07-CV-12333, 2008 WL 108864, at * 2 (E.D. Mich. Jan. 7, 2008).

         This Court summarily dismissed the petition for writ of habeas corpus on October 11, 2017. Petitioner's motion for relief from judgment was filed with this Court on December 28, 2018. Because Petitioner's Rule 60(b) motion for relief from judgment was filed more than one year after the Court denied ...


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