United States District Court, D. Kansas
GUY W. HEFFINGTON, Plaintiff,
PAMELA PULEO; FREDERICK G. SUNDHEIM, JR.; and OUGHTERSON, SUNDHEIM & ASSOCIATES, P.A., Defendants.
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER
F. MELGREN UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
February 2, 2018, the Court issued an Order granting
Defendants' motions to dismiss and dismissing Plaintiff
Guy W. Heffington's claims against all Defendants for
lack of personal jurisdiction. Currently before the Court is
Plaintiff's Motion for Reconsideration of the Court's
dismissal of his claims (Doc. 35). Because Plaintiff fails to
satisfy any of the criteria that may support reconsideration
of the Court's decision, his motion is denied.
Factual and Procedural Background
underlying case involved a dispute over the proper handling
of Plaintiff's grandmother's estate. Plaintiff failed
to show that any of the Defendants had the requisite minimum
contacts with Kansas to authorize the Court's exercise of
personal jurisdiction over Defendants. The Court dismissed
Plaintiff's claims for lack of personal jurisdiction.
motion for reconsideration identifies four circumstances that
he claims justify reconsideration: (1) “the Court has
shown obvious bias in favor of the defendants, ” (2)
the Court dismissed Plaintiff's claims on “a
technicality, ” (3) if personal jurisdiction is
required, it is established, and (4) the Court ignored all
facts and evidence supporting the merits of the case.
Plaintiff purports to bring his motion under Federal Rule of
Civil Procedure 60(b), which identifies grounds for relief
from a final judgment, order, or proceeding.
have filed responses to Plaintiff's motion arguing that
it is really a motion to alter or amend a judgment under
Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 59(e), and that
Plaintiff's motion should be denied.
motion for reconsideration “filed within ten days after
entry of judgment is considered a Fed.R.Civ.P. 59(e)
motion.” This Court may only grant a motion to
alter or amend a judgment if Plaintiff can establish:
“(1) an intervening change in the controlling law, (2)
new evidence previously unavailable, and (3) the need to
correct clear error or prevent manifest
injustice.” In other words, relief may be granted if
the Court “misapprehended the facts, a party's
position, or the controlling law.”
Alleged bias by the Court
accuses the Court of bias because it denied Plaintiff's
motion for appointment of counsel and because this Judge of
this Court served as U.S. Attorney when Plaintiff's
mother filed a lawsuit against the U.S. Department of Defense
(“DOD”) in 2006, and the U.S. Attorney's
office filed a motion to dismiss that lawsuit.
that the Court issued an adverse legal ruling against
Plaintiff does not serve as a basis for recusal or to allege
bias. Second, that this Judge served as U.S.
Attorney when Plaintiff's mother brought suit against the
DOD does not require this Judge to recuse himself in the
current matter, brought over ten years later by a different
have a duty to hear cases when there is no basis to recuse,
and should only recuse themselves from a case “for good
and sufficient reasons” and “never to avoid a
difficult task or indulge a party.” Whether a judge
should recuse him or herself rests on an objective
determination of “whether a reasonable person,
knowing all the relevant facts, would harbor doubts
about the judge's impartiality.”
no doubt could reasonably exist about this Judge's lack
of impartiality in this case. The 2006 civil lawsuit brought
by Plaintiff's mother did not involve the same subject
matter or events as those alleged here, Plaintiff was not a
party to the action, and Plaintiff's mother is not a
party to this action. To the extent any arguably attenuated
connections exist between this suit and the 2006 lawsuit
filed by ...