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Kaplan v. City of Chicago

July 6, 2009

SHELLEY Y. KAPLAN, PLAINTIFF,
v.
THE CITY OF CHICAGO, DEFENDANT.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Hon. Harry D. Leinenweber

MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER

Before the Court are Plaintiff Shelley Y. Kaplan's Motion for Relief from Judgment or Order pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 60(b)(3) and Defendant City of Chicago's Bill of Costs. For the following reasons, Plaintiff's Motion is denied and Defendant's Bill of Costs is granted.

I. BACKGROUND

Plaintiff filed suit against the City of Chicago (hereinafter, the "City") after the Chicago Police Department (hereinafter, the "CPD") terminated of her employment in March 2006. Plaintiff brought various claims for employment discrimination, including failure to accommodate claims relating to the City's administration of CPD promotional exams on the Jewish Sabbath day, as well as First Amendment violations relating to CPD's Community Alternative Policing Strategy ("CAPS") meetings. On April 22, 2008, the Court dismissed Plaintiff's failure to accommodate claims on statute of limitations and res judicata grounds because Plaintiff presented these same claims in a parallel action pending in this district before Judge Manning, Kaplan v. City of Chicago, No. 99 CV 1758, and the jury in that case rendered a verdict against Plaintiff. The Court allowed Plaintiff to proceed with discovery on her First Amendment claims which related to Christian prayer that occurred at certain CAPS meetings she attended in her official capacity as a police officer and her remaining employment discrimination claims but only as they related to CAPS meetings. On March 27, 2009, the Court granted summary judgment in favor of the City on all of Plaintiff's remaining claims. Shortly thereafter, the City submitted a Bill of Costs pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 54(d) seeking $1,699.95 in costs from Plaintiff. Plaintiff did not file a notice of appeal of the Court's summary judgment ruling but instead, on May 22, 2009, Plaintiff brought a Motion for Relief from Judgment or Order within the body of her response to the City's Bill of Costs.

Plaintiff pursues relief from the Court's April 22, 2008, and March 27, 2009, orders under Rule 60(b)(3) which applies when the movant was prevented from fully presenting its case because of fraud, misrepresentation or other misconduct by its opponent. According to Plaintiff, the challenged orders were a result of the City's false arguments and the City's concealment of relevant information and documents. Plaintiff also claims that the City forced her to submit to a discovery deposition while she was ill, thereby preventing her from fully and fairly presenting her case.

This memorandum opinion addresses both Plaintiff's Rule 60(b)(3) Motion and the City's Bill of Costs, both of which are now fully briefed.

II. DISCUSSION

A. Plaintiff's Rule 60(b)(3) Motion

Plaintiff seeks relief from the Court's April 22, 2008, and March 27, 2009, orders pursuant to Rule 60(b)(3) on the grounds that the City's misconduct during the litigation prevented Plaintiff from fully and fairly presenting her case. Rule 60(b) relief is reserved for exceptional circumstances and allows courts to overturn decisions only where special circumstances justify an extraordinary remedy. Cash v. Illinois Div. of Mental Health, 209 F.3d 695, 698 (7th Cir., 2000); Mares v. Busby, 34 F.3d 533, 535 (7th Cir., 1994). A Rule 60(b) motion is not an appropriate forum for rehashing previously rejected arguments or arguing matters that could have been heard during the pendency of the previous motion. Caisse Nationale de Credit Agricole v. CBI Industries, Inc., 90 F.3d 1264, 1270 (7th Cir., 1996).

Rule 60(b)(3), under which Plaintiff filed her motion, provides:

[T]he court may relieve a party or its legal representative from a final judgment, order, or proceeding for the following reasons... fraud (whether previously called intrinsic or extrinsic), misrepresentation, or misconduct by an opposing party....

A party seeking relief under Rule 60(b)(3) must prove by clear and convincing evidence that "(1) the party maintained a meritorious claim... and (2) because of the fraud, misrepresentation or misconduct of the adverse party, (3) the party was prevented from fully and fairly presenting its case...." Lonsdorf v. Seefeldt, 47 F.3d 893, 897 (7th Cir., 1995). According to Rule 60(c)(1), "A motion under Rule 60(b) 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 or order or the date of the proceeding."

1. Plaintiff's Request for Relief From the Court's April 22, 2008 Order

Plaintiff seeks relief from the Court's April 22, 2008, dismissal of her failure to accommodate claims on res judicata and statute of limitations grounds and asks the Court to reinstate those claims. According to Plaintiff, she is entitled to relief under Rule 60(b)(3) because the dismissal of those claims was based on the City's fraudulent argument to the Court that Plaintiff was merely trying to relitigate the same claims she brought in the parallel action before Judge Manning and on the City's concealment of relevant information that would have revealed its argument to be false. Because Plaintiff filed her Rule 60(b)(3) motion on May 22, 2009, ...


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