United States District Court, D. Kansas
DUSTIN D. COFFMAN, Plaintiff
HUTCHINSON COMMUNITY COLLEGE, et al., Defendants.
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER
Crow, U.S. District Senior Judge
plaintiff, Dustin D. Coffman, pro se filed a civil
rights action alleging he was dismissed from the nursing
program at Hutchinson Community College (“HCC”)
in a manner that violated his federal and state
constitutional rights and that created actionable state
common-law claims. On June 22, 2018, the court filed a
forty-seven page order granting the defendants' motion to
dismiss, and judgment was entered that same day. ECF## 108
and 109. On July 17, 2018, Mr. Coffman submitted for filing a
document which lacks a title and is unclear as to the relief
being sought. ECF# 110. For docketing purposes, the clerk
entitled the document, “motion for miscellaneous
filing, the plaintiff makes several disjointed points. First,
he notes that the court's order was filed on June 22,
2018, was mailed to him through regular postal service, and
was not received by him until July 5, 2018. ECF# 110, pp.
1-2. Mr. Coffman next apparently offers an
“agreement” on certain “terms.”
Id. at p. 2. He will not oppose the judgment (ECF#
109) or the court's memorandum and order (ECF# 108) and
will forego any Rule 26 conference in exchange for mediation
pursuant to D. Kan. Rule 16.3(c). Id. at pp. 2-3.
Mr. Coffman requests certain conditions for this agreement
with one of them being that this court order a non-party
internet site remove “the fake photo of” him and
“fake information” about him. Id. at pp.
4-6. Mr. Coffman repeats that his “Motion is not
opposed” to the court's order and judgment, but
this is apparently conditioned on a confidential
“settlement” with HCC. Id. at p. 6. He
concludes his filing with, “Would appreciate not having
to take this to tenth circuit court. But will if have to take
both cases to the Supreme Court.” Id. He
attaches to his filing the last page of the court's prior
order with handwriting on it that suggests he wants a stay of
the court's prior order and he challenges that order as
lacking a signature, water mark, and “paper crimp
seal.” Id. at p. 8.
court first considers the possibility that Mr. Coffman's
filing is intended to be a motion under Fed.R.Civ.P. 59(e)
that impliedly challenges the procedural effectiveness of the
court's prior order in lacking an actual signature, water
mark, and seal. Because the court's dismissal order and
judgment were dispositive of the case, we look to D. Kan.
Rule 7.3(a) which provides that, “[p]arties seeking
reconsideration of dispositive orders or judgments must file
a motion pursuant to Fed.R.Civ.P. 59(e) or 60.” Since
the plaintiff filed his motion within the 28-day period of
Fed.R.Civ.P. 59(e), the court will look to its standards.
See Allender v. Raytheon Aircraft Co., 439 F.3d
1236, 1242 (10th Cir. 2006)(“Whether a motion is
construed as a Rule 59(e) or Rule 60(b) motion depends upon
the time in which the motion is filed.”) “A
motion to alter or amend a judgment pursuant to Fed.R.Civ.P.
59(e) may be granted only if the moving party can establish
(1) an intervening change in controlling law; (2) the
availability of new evidence that could not have been
obtained previously through the exercise of due diligence; or
(3) the need to correct clear error or prevent manifest
injustice.” Wilkins v. Packerware Corp., 238
F.R.D. 256, 263 (D. Kan. 2006), aff'd, 260
Fed.Appx. 98 (10th Cir. 2008) (citing Brumark Corp. v.
Samson Res. Corp., 57 F.3d 941, 948 (10th Cir. 1995));
see also Servants of the Paraclete v. Does, 204 F.3d
1005, 1012 (10th Cir. 2000). A 59(e) motion “is not a
second chance for the losing party to make its strongest case
or to dress up arguments that previously failed.”
Voelkel v. Gen. Motors Corp., 846 F.Supp. 1482, 1483
(D. Kan.), aff'd, 43 F.3d 1484 (10th Cir. 1994)
(citation omitted). The party seeking relief from a judgment
bears the burden of demonstrating that he satisfies the
prerequisites for such relief. Van Skiver v. U.S.,
952 F.2d 1241, 1243-44 (10th Cir. 1991), cert.
denied, 506 U.S. 828 (1992).
Coffman has not carried his burden of demonstrating any
grounds for relief under Rule 59(e) or Rule 60(b). His
concerns over the court's order and judgment lacking
original signatures, watermarks and seals are not only
unsupported by any legal citations of authority but are fully
addressed by the court's rules. First, Fed.R.Civ.P.
5(d)(3) authorizes federal courts to allow filing by
electronic means and states that, “[a] paper filed
electronically in compliance with a local rule is a written
paper for purposes of these rules.” Thus, a paper
electronically filed in compliance with local rules
constitutes a proper written paper filing for purposes of the
federal rules. The local rules for the District of Kansas
provide in part:
(a) Entry in the Civil Docket. All orders,
decrees, judgments, and proceedings of the court will be
filed in accordance with these rules, which will constitute
entry in the civil docket under Fed.R.Civ.P. 58 and 79. The
court or court personnel will file all such documents
(b) Electronic Signature. Any such document
filed electronically without the original signature of a
judge, magistrate judge, or clerk has the same force and
effect as if the judge, magistrate judge, or clerk,
respectively, had signed a paper copy of the order and it had
been entered on the docket in a conventional manner.
Rule 5.4.4. Lastly, “[t]he official record of an
electronically-filed document is the electronic recording of
the document as stored by the court.” D. Kan. Rule
5.4.3. The court's memorandum and order and accompanying
judgment were electronically filed in compliance with these
local rules and thereby have “the same force and
effect” as a conventionally filed paper copy. Moreover,
the electronically filed and stored copy of the court's
order and the judgment constitute the official record and
civil docket in this case. The plaintiff's concerns are
noted and summarily dismissed.
plaintiff next apparently seeks an agreement foregoing his
appellate rights in exchange for mediation pursuant to D.
Kan. Rule 16.3. To the extent that the plaintiff is seeking
this compromise with the defendants, he may pursue this
without filing anything of record. If the plaintiff is asking
this court to order mediation, then the court would deny this
request for the following reasons. Rule 16.3 opens,
“Pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 652, the court may
require litigants in civil cases to consider the use of an
alternative dispute resolution (“ADR”)
process.” This federal statute confers jurisdiction
upon district courts to adopt local rules that require,
“Litigants in all civil cases consider the use of an
alternative dispute resolution process at an appropriate
stage in the litigation.” 28 U.S.C. § 652(a).
Reading Rule 16.3 in light of § 652(a) shows the
court's power to order ADR is limited to “an
appropriate stage in the litigation.” Having dismissed
this case and directing the entry of judgment, the court
finds now is not an appropriate stage of litigation for
ordering ADR. Indeed, the posture of this case is ...