United States District Court, N.D. Texas, Dallas Division
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER
J. BOYLE UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
the Court is Plaintiff's Motion for Relief from Judgment.
Doc. 105. For the reasons that follow, the Court
DENIES Plaintiff's Motion.
November 16, 2010, Joseph Johnson, Jr.
(“Johnson”) filed a complaint seeking a
declaratory judgment relieving him of his obligation to repay
student loans. Doc. 1, Compl. After giving Johnson
multiple opportunities to amend his complaint, this Court
granted Defendants', Affiliated Computer Services, Inc.
(“ACS”) and ACS Education Solutions LLC
(“ACSES”), Motion to Dismiss on September 9,
2011, and dismissed the claim with prejudice due to
Johnson's continual disregard and abuse of the rules of
this Court. Doc. 68, Memorandum Opinion and Order, 17.
Shortly thereafter, the Court entered final judgment and
ordered that Johnson take nothing on his claims. Doc. 69,
October 3, 2011, Johnson then moved for relief from judgment
under Rules 60(b)(1), (3), (4), and (6) arguing that the
Court lacked subject-matter jurisdiction under diversity
jurisdiction since the amount pled was less than $75, 000.
Doc. 71, Relief from J., ¶¶ 3, 5, 7. The Court
denied this motion on February 1, 2012. Doc. 82, Order Den.
Relief from J.
February 9, 2012, Johnson then filed a motion to vacate the
September 9, 2011 order and subsequent final judgment by
raising similar arguments made in his previously denied
motion for relief from judgment. Doc. 85, Mot. to Vacate. The
Court denied the motion to vacate. Doc. 86, Order Den. Mot.
to Vacate. On February 10, 2012, Johnson filed an appeal to
the Fifth Circuit. Doc. 87, Notice of Appeal. The Fifth
Circuit affirmed this Court's dismissal and held that the
Court had subject-matter jurisdiction over this case at all
times. Johnson v. Affiliated Comput. Servs., Inc.,
500 Fed.Appx. 265, 266 (5th Cir. 2012) (per curiam).
almost eight years after the Court dismissed his claims, on
May 1, 2019, Johnson filed this Motion for Relief from
Judgment under Rule 60(b)(4) and (6) “to modify the
dismissal . . . to instead dismiss it without
prejudice.” Doc. 105, Mot. for Relief from J., 1.
Johnson cites to the Supreme Court case of Campbell-Ewald
Co. v. Gomez, 136 S.Ct. 663 (2016), as bestowing
derivative sovereign immunity upon ACS and ACSES, which he
argues denied this Court subject-matter jurisdiction over the
Defendants. Id. Having been fully briefed by the
parties, the Court proceeds to determining whether its prior
judgment should be disturbed.
purpose of Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 60(b) “is to
balance the principle of finality of a judgment with the
interest of the court in seeing that justice is done in light
of all the facts.” Hesling v. CSX Transp.
Inc., 396 F.3d 632, 638 (5th Cir. 2005). In order to see
that justice is done, a court may relieve a party from final
judgment. Parker v. Wal-Mart Stores Inc., 464
Fed.Appx. 224, 228 (5th Cir. 2010). A Rule 60(b) motion
“must be made within a reasonable time-and for reasons
(1), (2), and (3) no more than a year after the entry of the
judgment.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 60(c)(1). “[A]
‘reasonable time' depends on the facts of each
case, taking into consideration [(1)] the interest in
finality, [(2)] the reason for the delay, [(3)] the practical
ability of the litigant to learn earlier of the grounds
relied upon, and [(4)] prejudice to other parties.”
Osborne v. Homeside Lending, Inc., 379 F.3d 277, 283
(5th Cir. 2004) (quoting Ashford v. Steuart, 657
F.2d 1053, 1055 (9th Cir. 1981)). No. matter the standard
applied, “district courts have ‘considerable
discretion in deciding whether to grant or deny a motion to
alter a judgment.'” Cloud v. Quarterman,
WL 806911, *2 (N.D. Tex. Mar. 14, 2007) (quoting Hale v.
Townley, 45 F.3d 914, 921 (5th Cir. 1995)).
Rule 60(b)(4), a court may relieve a party from final
judgment when “the judgment is void.”
Fed.R.Civ.P. 60(b)(4). The Fifth Circuit has recognized
“two circumstances in which a judgment may be set aside
under Rule 60(b)(4): 1) if the initial court lacked subject
matter or personal jurisdiction; and 2) if the district court
acted in a manner inconsistent with due process of
law.” Callon Petroleum Co. v. Frontier Ins.
Co., 351 F.3d 204, 208 (5th Cir. 2003) (citing
Carter v. Fenner, 136 F.3d 1000, 1006 (5th Cir.
1998)). Under the first circumstance, any challenge to
jurisdiction “should be sustained only where there is a
clear ‘usurpation of power' or ‘total want of
jurisdiction.'” Callon Petroleum Co., 351
F.3d at 208 (quoting Nemaizer v. Baker, 793 F.2d 58,
64-65 (2d. Cir. 1986)).
60(b)(6) allows a court to “relieve a party . . . from
final judgment, order or proceeding for . . . any other
reason that justifies relief.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 60(b)(6).
Accordingly, relief from judgment should only be applied in
“extraordinary circumstances.” Liljeberg v.
Health Servs. Acquisition Corp., 486 U.S. 847, 863
(1988) (citing Ackermann v. United States, 340 U.S.
193, 207 (1950)). Important to this case, the basis for
challenge of the judgment must have been absent at the time
of appeal so that Rule 60(b) may not serve as an end run
around the statutory limitations of the appeals process.
Pryor v. U.S. Postal Serv., 769 F.2d 281, 288 (5th
case, after examining the factors for a “reasonable
time” under Rule 60(c)(1) the Court concludes that
Johnson's Motion is untimely. First, reversing the
Court's decision disturbs the finality of the proceedings
that have already progressed for more than eight years and
through multiple motions to relieve or vacate the judgment.
See Sony BMG Music Entm't v. Townsley, 2009 WL
10669894, at *3 (W.D. Tex. Apr. 7, 2009) (waiting two years
weighed against finality). Second, Johnson provides no
explanation in his Motion or Reply Breif for delay in filing
his Motion. See First RepublicBank Fort Worth v.
Norglass, Inc., 958 F.2d 117, 120 (5th Cir. 1992)
(holding there was no “meaningful justification”
to wait two years to file the motion). Third, Johnson also
provides no explanation in his Motion or Reply Brief for an
inability to earlier learn about the basis for his Motion.
Lastly, reversing the Court's decision heavily prejudices
ACS and ACSES since this would allow Johnson to refile his
claim in this Court-or another court-which forestalls a
resolution of the current claim indefinitely and would likely
impose further legal costs upon ACS and ACSES. Furthermore,
reversing the judgment could possibly prevent ACS and ACSES
from collecting Johnson's student loan debt. See Sony
BMG Music Entm't, 2009 WL 10669894, at *3 (finding
that a debt collector would be prejudiced from collecting a
debt if the Court granted relief from judgment).
Court, and subsequently the Fifth Circuit, has previously
found that this Court had subject-matter jurisdiction at all
times and now the Court does not find that this case
otherwise presents an “extraordinary
circumstance” warranting relief from judgment under
Rule 60(b)(6). Additionally, the basis for the challenge of
the judgment existed at the time of the appeal. While
Campbell-Ewald Co. was decided in 2016-after the
dismissal, appeal, and all subsequent motions-Yearsley v.
W.A. Ross Constr. Corp., 309 U.S. 18 (1940), was decided
in 1940 and serves as the primary basis for Johnson's
legal theory. In essence, Johnson argues that the September
9, 2011 dismissal of his claim is void since this Court
lacked subject-matter jurisdiction since ACS and ACSES have
derivative sovereign immunity. Doc. 105, Mot. for Relief from
J., 2-3. Johnson cites to Campbell-Ewald Co. and
Yearsley as the basis for his argument that ACS and
ACSES derived sovereign immunity from the United States by
operating “as an arm or agent of the . . .
government.” Doc. ...