United States District Court, D. Connecticut
L. LEE WHITNUM, Plaintiff,
TOWN OF DARIEN, et al., Defendants.
RULING AND ORDER
R. Underhill United States District Judge
Whitnum, pro se, has filed a series of motions aimed
at reversing my ruling and order dated December 9, 2016. In
that ruling, I held that removal of this case was improper
due to lack of subject matter jurisdiction, and I ordered the
case remanded to Connecticut Superior Court. Doc. No. 33.
Because remand already has been effected, I lack jurisdiction
to reconsider my earlier ruling, and I deny Whitnum's
motion for lack of subject matter jurisdiction.
Standard of Review
Rule of Civil Procedure 60(b) provides that the district
court may relieve a party or its legal representative from a
final judgment, order, or proceeding for the following
(1) mistake, inadvertence, surprise, or excusable neglect;
(2) newly discovered evidence that, with reasonable
diligence, could 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;
(6) any other reason that justifies relief.
standard for granting motions for reconsideration is strict.
Motions for reconsideration “will generally be denied
unless the moving party can point to controlling decisions or
data that the court overlooked-matters, in other words, that
might reasonably be expected to alter the conclusion reached
by the court.” Shrader v. CSX Transp., 70 F.3d
255, 257 (2d Cir. 1995). Motions for reconsideration will not
be granted where the party merely seeks to relitigate an
issue that has already been decided. Id. The three
major grounds for granting a motion for reconsideration in
the Second Circuit are: (1) an intervening change of
controlling law, (2) the availability of new evidence, or (3)
the need to correct a clear error or prevent manifest
injustice. Virgin Atl. Airways v. Nat'l Mediation
Bd., 956 F.2d 1245, 1255 (2d Cir. 1992) (citing 18
Charles A. Wright, Federal Practice & Procedure
Whitnum initiated a suit in Connecticut Superior Court on
September 4, 2014, in which she alleged state tort claims
against the Town of Darien. Compl., Doc. No. 1-1. On November
7, 2016, the Town removed Whitnum's Second Amended
Complaint to this court, arguing that I had subject matter
jurisdiction because one of Whitnum's claims arose under
a federal statute, 28 U.S.C. § 1983. See Doc.
No. 1, at 2. Whitnum responded that she “ha[d] no
causes of action that entailed any violation of federal law,
” and asked that I “[o]rder transfer of this case
back to the [state] court.” Reply Obj. Mot. Bifurcate,
Doc. No. 25, at 1 (emphasis removed); Mot. Remand, Doc. No.
31, at 1.
examining the complaint, I agreed that Whitnum's claims
did not “arise under federal law.” See
Ruling & Order, Doc. No. 33, at 4 (quoting Metro.
Life Ins. Co. v. Taylor, 481 U.S. 58, 63 (1987)).
Although Whitnum's allegations of malicious prosecution
and false arrest certainly could be “cognizable under
[section] 1983, ” Whitnum had chosen “to avoid
federal jurisdiction by pleading only state claims even where
a federal claim [was] also available.” Id. at
3-4 (quoting Lennon v. Miller, 66 F.3d 416, 423 (2d
Cir. 1995); Romano v. Kazacos, 609 F.3d 512, 518 (2d
Cir. 2010) (internal quotation marks omitted)). Because none
of Whitnum's claims was “based on federal law,
” and “no other basis exist[ed] for the exercise
of federal jurisdiction, ” I ordered that Whitnum's
case be ...