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Lin v. United States

United States District Court, Sixth Circuit

June 12, 2013

JIAN TIAN LIN, Plaintiff,
v.
UNITED STATE OF AMERICA, Defendant.

MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER

JOHN G. HEYBURN, II, District Judge.

In a prior Memorandum Opinion, this Court granted Plaintiff Jian Tian Lin's writ of error coram nobis on the grounds that Padilla v. Kentucky, 130 S.Ct. 1473 (2010) applied retroactively to Lin's case. (the "Order"). ECF No. 1.[1] The retroactive application of Padilla permitted Lin to establish a claim for ineffective assistance of counsel, because his counsel failed to warn him of the deportation consequences of his conviction.

In its Order, the Court acknowledged that Chaidez v. United States was then pending before the Supreme Court, a case that would decide this very issue. Considering the consequences of delaying the ruling, and "mindful of the possibility that the Supreme Court's decision will fall the other way, " the Court issued the Order, applied Padilla retroactively, and allowed Lin's claim for ineffective assistance of counsel to progress forward, ultimately finding that Lin was entitled to relief.

The Supreme Court subsequently held that Padilla was not retroactive. Id. Specifically, the Supreme Court held that a petitioner could not maintain an ineffective assistance of counsel claim for his counsel's failure to advise him of the deportation consequences of his conviction prior to the rendering of the Padilla decision, as is the case here. Chaidez v. United States, 133 S.Ct. 1103 (2013). This Court directed the United States "to appeal this decision or move for reconsideration of it" should the Supreme Court find that Padilla was not retroactive. The United States has now moved for reconsideration of this Court's Order.

I.

Lin opposes the United States' motion to reconsider on two grounds. First, Lin contends that the motion is a procedurally improper mechanism to attack this Court's order. The Federal Rules of Civil Procedure do not explicitly provide for a motion for reconsideration. Ward v. Travelers Ins. Co., 835 F.2d 880, *4 n.1 (6th Cir. 1987) ("There is nothing in the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure formally denominated a motion to reconsider....'"). However, Courts have generally cast such motions as Rule 59 motions to alter or amend a judgment when filed within 30 days of the Court rendering that judgment. Id. Additionally, Courts have also recognized the availability of a motion for reconsideration pursuant to Rule 60, which affords courts discretion to relieve a party from final judgment, order or proceeding, if the party makes the motion within a reasonable period of time. Lewis v. Mekko, 2011 WL 754887, *2 (W.D. Ky. Feb. 24, 2011); Feathers v. Chevron U.S.A., Inc., 141 F.3d 264, 268 (6th Cir. 1998) ("Where a party's Rule 59 motion is not filed within the mandatory... period, it is appropriate for a court to consider the motion as a motion pursuant to Rule 60 for relief from judgment."). The Court can grant relief under Rule 60 for the following reasons:

(1) mistake, inadvertence, surprise, or excusable neglect;
(2) newly discovered evidence that, with reasonable diligence, could not 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.

FED. R. CIV. P. 60(b). Though relief under Rule 60 is available and subject to fairly broad definition and discretion, courts should only grant such relief in extraordinary circumstances. McAlpin v. Lexington 76 Auto Truck Stop, Inc., 229 F.3d 491, 502-03 (6th Cir. 2000). Consequently, the Court is comfortable considering the United States' motion for reconsideration as a Rule 60(b)(6) motion based on a change in applicable law.

The Supreme Court's ruling in Chaidez is a change in applicable law, but "a change in decisional law is usually not, in and of itself, an extraordinary circumstance that would merit Rule 60(b)(6) relief[.]... [C]ourts have required an applicable change in law, coupled with some other special circumstance, in order to grant Rule 60(b)(6)." Chambers v. Straub, 2008 WL 2782891, *2 (E.D. Mich. July 17, 2008) (citing Blue Diamond Coal Co. v. Trustees of UMWA Combined Ben. Fund, 249 F.3d 519, 524 (6th Cir. 2001)) (internal citations omitted). However, the change in law, coupled with this Court's ...


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