United States District Court, D. South Dakota, Western Division
DANNY D. BISSONETTE, Petitioner,
ROBERT DOOLEY, WARDEN; DAVID GILBERTSON, CHIEF JUSTICE SOUTH DAKOTA SUPREME COURT; AND CRAIG A. PFEIFLE, CIR. COURT JUDGE-SEVENTH CIR.; Respondents.
JEFFREY L. VIKEN CHIEF JUDGE
Danny D. Bissonette, appearing pro se, filed a
petition for a writ of habeas corpus. (Docket 1). Respondents
filed a motion to dismiss Mr. Bissonette's petition for
failure to abide by the statute of limitations. (Docket 10).
Magistrate Judge Veronica L. Duffy entered a report and
recommendation concluding the court should grant
respondents' motion and dismiss Mr. Bissonette's
petition because it is not timely. (Docket 14). Mr.
Bissonette filed objections to the report and recommendation.
(Docket 15). After careful review, the court overruled Mr.
Bissonette's objections and adopted in full the
magistrate judge's report and recommendation. (Docket
16). The court dismissed Mr. Bissonette's petition with
before the court is Mr. Bissonette's motion to set aside
the court's order and judgment dismissing his case.
(Docket 18). With his motion, Mr. Bissonette submitted
various supplemental filings. (Dockets 19, 20 & 21). Mr.
Bissonette did not frame his motion under a Federal Rule of
Civil Procedure, but his motion is “the functional
equivalent of a motion” under either Rule 59(e) or
60(b) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure. See DuBose
v. Kelly, 187 F.3d 999, 1002 (8th Cir. 1999); see
also Broadway v. Norris, 193 F.3d 987, 989 (8th Cir.
1999) (“This motion was not directed to a final
judgment, but rather to a nonfinal order. By its terms, only
Rule 60(b) encompasses a motion filed in response to an
order. Rule 59(e) motions are motions to alter or amend a
judgment, not any nonfinal order.”). Under either
standard, Rule 59(e) or 60(b), Mr. Bissonette's motion
59(e) provides “[a] motion to alter or amend a judgment
must be filed no later than 28 days after the entry of the
judgment.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 59. “Under Rule 59(e),
the court may alter or amend its judgment only if it finds a
‘manifest' error of law or fact in its
ruling.” Baker v. John Morrell & Co., 266
F.Supp.2d 909, 918 (N.D. Iowa 2003), aff'd, 382
F.3d 816 (8th Cir. 2004) (citing Hagerman v. Yukon Energy
Corp., 839 F.2d 407, 414 (8th Cir. 1988). The United
States Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit succinctly
described a motion under Rule 59(e) as follows:
Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 59(e) was adopted to clarify
a district court's power to correct its own mistakes in
the time period immediately following entry of judgment. . .
. Rule 59(e) motions serve a limited function of correcting
manifest errors of law or fact or to present newly discovered
evidence. . . . Such motions cannot be used to introduce new
evidence, tender new legal theories, or raise arguments which
could have been offered or raised prior to entry of judgment.
. . . A case in which a timely Rule 59(e) motion has
been filed lacks finality because the motion tolls the time
limitation for appeal in order to provide the trial court
with jurisdiction to resolve the motion. This tolling process
encourages both correctness and finality.
Innovative Home Health Care, Inc. v. P.T.-O.T. Associates
of the Black Hills, 141 F.3d 1284, 1286 (8th Cir. 1998)
(internal quotation marks and citations omitted).
“Denial of a Rule 59(e) motion is reviewed for abuse of
discretion and the district court abuses its discretion, for
example, when it makes an error of law or an erroneous
factual finding.” Baker, 266 F.Supp.2d at 919
(citing Computrol, Inc. v. Newtrend, L.P., 203 F.3d
1064, 1070 (8th Cir. 2000) (further citations omitted).
Rule of Civil Procedure 60(b) provides that the court may
relieve a party from a final judgment for, among other
reasons, mistake, inadvertence, surprise, or excusable
neglect.” MIF Realty L.P. v. Rochester
Associates, 92 F.3d 752, 755 (8th Cir. 1996). “A
Rule 60(b) motion is committed to the sound discretion of the
trial court, and [the Eighth Circuit] review[s] the district
court's decision to grant or deny the motion only for an
abuse of discretion.” Id. (citing Rosebud
Sioux Tribe v. A & P Steel, Inc., 733 F.2d 509, 515
(8th Cir.), cert. denied, 469 U.S. 1072 (1984)).
“Abuse of discretion occurs if the district court rests
its conclusion on clearly erroneous factual findings or if
its decision relies on erroneous legal conclusions.”
Id. (internal quotation marks and citations
omitted). A Rule 60(b) motion is to be given a “liberal
construction so as to do substantial justice and to prevent
the judgment from becoming a vehicle of injustice.”
Id. (internal quotation marks and citations
omitted). Although a Rule 60(b) motion is generally
disfavored, the motion “serve[s] a useful, proper and
necessary purpose in maintaining the integrity of the trial
60(b) authorizes relief in only the most exceptional of
cases.” In re Guidant Corp. Implantable
Defibrillators Products Liab. Litig., 496 F.3d 863, 866
(8th Cir. 2007) (quoting Noah v. Bond Cold Storage,
408 F.3d 1043, 1045 (8th Cir. 2005)). “Relief under
Rule 60(b) is an extraordinary remedy. It is not a substitute
for other legal remedies, and relief under this rule is to be
granted only when exceptional circumstances prevented a party
from seeking redress through the usual channels.”
Nucor Corp. v. Nebraska Pub. Power Dist., 999 F.2d
372, 374 (8th Cir. 1993); see also Watkins v.
Lundell, 169 F.3d 540, 544 (8th Cir. 1999)
(“[E]xceptional circumstances must exist to justify
intrusion into the sanctity of a final judgment.”);
In re Woodcock, 315 B.R. 487, 500 (Bankr. W.D. Mo.
2004), aff'd, 326 B.R. 441 (B.A.P. 8th Cir.
2005) (“Rule 60(b)(6) is reserved for extraordinary
cases to prevent manifest injustice.”). “Rule
60(b)(6) does not give courts unlimited authority to fashion
relief as they deem appropriate.” In re
Zimmerman, 869 F.2d 1126, 1128 (8th Cir. 1989).
“Relief is appropriate when circumstances are so
‘unusual or compelling' that extraordinary relief
is warranted, or when it ‘offends justice' to deny
such relief.” In re Woodcock, 315 B.R. at 500
(citations omitted). “Rule 60(b)(6) . . . grants
federal courts broad authority to relieve a party from a
final judgment . . . provided that the motion is made within
a reasonable time and is not premised on one of the grounds
for relief enumerated in clauses (b)(1) through
(b)(5).” Liljeberg v. Health Servs. Acquisition
Corp., 486 U.S. 847, 863 (1988).
Mr. Bissonette's motion liberally under Rule 59(e) and
Rule 60(b), it is clear the claims he presents neither fall
within the confines of those rules nor serve as a basis for
relief under those rules in this case.
that the Mr. Bissonette's motion (Docket 18) is denied.
The court also declined to issue a
certificate of appealability pursuant to 28 U.S.C. §
2253(c) and Rule 11 of the Rules Governing Section 2254 Cases
in the United States District Courts. Id. The order
advised Mr. Bissonette of his right to timely seek a
certificate of appealability from the United States Court ...