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Grohs v. Grohs

United States District Court, D. Connecticut

November 8, 2017

WILLIAM GROHS, Plaintiff,
v.
KELLY SMITH GROHS, Defendant.

          RULING AND ORDER

          STEFAN R. UNDERHILL, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE

         Kelly Smith Grohs removed her family court case to this court after the Connecticut Superior Court awarded sole custody of her children to her former husband, William Grohs. See Pet. Removal, Doc. No. 1. After examining the petition for removal, I concluded that the case was improperly removed and ordered that it be remanded to Connecticut Superior Court. Ms. Grohs has now moved for reconsideration of that ruling. I grant the motion for reconsideration, but deny the requested relief, and adhere to my decision to remand the case to state court.

         I. Standard of Review

         Federal 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 reasons:

(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; or
(6) any other reason that justifies relief.

         The 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 et al., Federal Practice & Procedure § 4478).

         II. Background

         Kelly Smith Grohs and William J. Grohs were divorced on July 26, 2011. See Judgment of Dissolution, Grohs v. Grohs, No. UWY-FA10-4022991-S, Doc. No. 169.00 (Conn. Super. Ct. July 26, 2011). In connection with their divorce, they entered into a Parenting Agreement that was “attached []to and made a part []of” the Dissolution of Marriage Settlement Agreement.[1] See Ex. L to Pet. Removal, Doc. No. 1-11, at 3. Ms. Grohs alleges that Mr. Grohs subsequently violated the terms of the Parenting Agreement and conspired with judges of the Connecticut Superior Court to obtain sole custody of the children. See Pet. Removal, Doc. No. 1, at 5-6.

         On September 25, 2017, after the Superior Court awarded sole custody of the children to Mr. Grohs, Ms. Grohs removed the family court action to this court under 28 U.S.C. §§ 1441(a) & 1443. She asserted a slew of bases for federal jurisdiction, including 18 U.S.C. §§ 228 (the Child Support and Recovery Act) and 1346 (the Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act); 28 U.S.C. §§ 1331 (Federal question jurisdiction), 1361 (Action to compel an officer of the United States to perform his duty), 1391 (Venue), 1491 (the Tucker Act), 1651 (the All Writs Act), 1738A (Full faith and credit given to child custody determinations), & 2283 (the Anti-Injunction Act); 29 U.S.C. § 701 (the Rehabilitation Act); 42 U.S.C. §§ 1983 (the Civil Rights Act of 1866), 12133, & 12188 (the Americans with Disabilities Act (“ADA”)); Federal Rules of Civil Procedure 5.1, 15, & 65; the First, Fourth, Fifth, Sixth, Seventh, Eighth, Ninth, Tenth, Fourteenth, and Nineteenth Amendments ...


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