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Gallogly v. Attorney General of United States

United States District Court, W.D. Texas, Austin Division

June 21, 2019

REBECCA GALLOGLY, Plaintiff,
v.
ATTORNEY GENERAL OF THE UNITED STATES; THE U.S. ATTORNEY'S OFFICE, WESTERN DISTRICT OF TEXAS - AUSTIN; THE U.S. DEPARTMENT OF HOUSING AND URBAN DEVELOPMENT; THE STATE OF TEXAS; TRAVIS COUNTY CRIMINAL COURT; TRAVIS COUNTY DISTRICT ATTORNEY'S OFFICE; THE CITY OF AUSTIN; CAPITAL AREA PRIVATE DEFENDER SERVICE; 2013 TRAVIS HEIGHTS, LP; EUREKA MULTIFAMILY GROUP; DOMINIUM APARTMENTS; MICHAEL BURKE, ATTORNEY, Defendants.

          ORDER

          ROBERT PITMAN UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.

         Before the Court is Plaintiff Rebecca Gallogly's (“Gallogly”) motion for relief from judgment. (Mot., Dkt. 19). Gallogly seeks a reversal of the Court's order dismissing her claims without prejudice, (Order, Dkt. 15), on grounds of “mistake, inadvertence, surprise, or excusable neglect” and for “any other reason that justifies relief, ” (Mot., Dkt. 19, at 1-2 (citing Fed.R.Civ.P. 60(b)(1) & (6)). The Court finds that Gallogly is not entitled to relief from the Court's judgment.

         First, Gallogly argues that she was “surprised” because the Order did not “articulate any understanding or recognition of Dr. Gallogly's de novo arguments in her objection to some of Magistrate Judge Lane's recommendations.” (Mot., Dkt. 19, at 3 (citing “Legal Dictionary”)). To the contrary, the Court expressly stated that it reviewed each of Gallogly's objections de novo in concluding that they were without merit. (Order, Dkt. 15, at 2).

         Next, Gallogly argues that her due process rights were violated because she was not appointed counsel. (Mot., Dkt. 19, at 4). Not so: it is well-settled that there is no right to appointment of counsel in civil cases. Delaughter v. Woodall, 909 F.3d 130, 140 (5th Cir. 2018). As Judge Lane explained to Gallogly, appointment of counsel in such cases is a matter of the court's discretion. (See R. & R., Dkt. 11, at 23). He concluded, and the Court agrees, that Gallogly should not be appointed counsel in this case. (See id.). The circumstances under which a litigant is entitled to counsel are limited, Lee v. Postal Servs., 882 F.Supp. 589, 593 (E.D. Tex. 1995), and Gallogly “has shown herself able to sufficiently articulate her claims and represent herself in this lawsuit, ” (R. & R., Dkt. 11, at 23). That Gallogly “was not articulate enough to state any actionable claims in her initial complaint, ” (Mot., Dkt. 19, at 4), does not bear on her ability to represent herself, and in any event, it does not follow that Gallogly is “inarticulate” merely because she failed to state a claim for which relief could be granted.[1]

         Gallogly further argues that the Court made a mistake in dismissing her claims because the dismissal is evidence that her complaint was not liberally construed. (Id. at 5). Just because the Court dismissed Gallogly's claims does not mean that her claims were not liberally construed. The Court agreed with Judge Lane that Gallogly's claims, even liberally construed, failed to state a cause of action or were based on “indisputably meritless legal theories.” (R. & R., Dkt. 11, at 22). The Court affirms that conclusion here; all of Gallogly's claims are meritless.[2]

         Accordingly, the Court finds that Gallogly has not shown that she is entitled to relief under Rule 60(b). IT IS THEREFORE ORDERED that Gallogly's motion for relief from judgment, (Dkt. 19), is DENIED.

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Notes:

[1] Gallogly also argues that her due process rights are violated because, she speculates, “many actionable claims” do not come to fruition due to “[t]he intimidation of potentially adversarial interactions with people possessing power and expertise beyond that of a pro se litigant” in the adversarial process. (Mot., Dkt. 4, at 7). She cites no authority for this proposition, and the Court is aware of none. The Court is unpersuaded by this speculative argument.

[2] Gallogly's remaining claims in the instant motion are also meritless. She claims that the fact that she is expected “to continue applying for jobs in lieu of receiving interim monetary relief” “constitute[s] torture under the Convention Against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment [(“CAT”)]”; this claim is completely meritless, even liberally construed. (Mot., Dkt. 19, at 6). So is her claim that the same expectation of applying for jobs constitutes a violation of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. (Id. at 7). Gallogly offers no explanation that these international treaties apply to her or her “conditioned aversion” to applying for jobs, ...


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