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Springfield v. Bender

United States District Court, E.D. California

August 30, 2017

CIRON B. SPRINGFIELD, Plaintiff,
v.
L. BENDER, et al., Defendants.

          ORDER

          KENDALL J. NEWMAN UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE

         Plaintiff is a state prisoner, proceeding pro se. On July 7, 2017, plaintiff filed a motion to reopen this action. (ECF No. 54.) Plaintiff objects that the settlement proceeds were to be paid to his father, Michael Springfield, but that the necessary documents were not processed. Plaintiff claims that on June 2, 2017, an attorney general told plaintiff that Michael Springfield would be paid in a matter of weeks. On June 28, 2017, the attorney general stated that the settlement proceeds would be put in plaintiff's trust account since his restitution fine exceeds the settlement proceeds. However, plaintiff contends that he only owes $2, 000 in restitution fines, and that the larger restitution due the victim is only to be paid from his prison wages. Plaintiff asks the court to reopen this action because defendants failed to pay Michael Springfield as agreed, and because it took more than two and a half years to pay the settlement proceeds. (ECF No. 54 at 3.)

         On August 23, 2017, defendants filed their opposition. Defendants contend that this action may be reopened only under extraordinary circumstances such as fraud, misrepresentation or misconduct, none of which is present here. Defendants concede that payment of the settlement has been delayed due to a number of factors, including plaintiff's failure to recall his social security number, but argue that they are legally obligated to pay the settlement proceeds toward plaintiff's outstanding restitution, despite plaintiff's preference that his father receive the settlement proceeds.

         Rule 60(b) provides:

         Grounds for Relief from a Final Judgment, Order, or Proceeding. On motion and just terms, the court 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 prospectively is no longer equitable; or
(6) any other reason that justifies relief.

Fed. R. Civ. P. 60. If a settlement agreement is repudiated, “the frustrated party may sue anew for breach of the agreement and may not, as here, reopen the underlying litigation after dismissal.” Keeling v. Sheet Metal Workers Int'l Ass'n, Local Union 162, 937 F.2d 408, 410 (9th Cir. 1991).

         The record reflects that on October 22, 2015, another magistrate judge settled this action. On January 11, 2016, both sides signed a stipulation for voluntary dismissal of this action, and this case was ...


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