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Arnold v. Villarreal

United States District Court, N.D. Illinois, Eastern Division

September 9, 2014

JONATHAN ARNOLD, Plaintiff,
v.
LETICIA VILLARREAL, Defendant.

MEMORANDUM OPINION

AMY J. ST. EVE, District Judge.

On June 27, 2014, the court entered judgment against plaintiff Jonathan Arnold, and in favor of defendant Leticia Villarreal. Arnold has moved to vacate or amend the judgment. For the following reasons, the court denies his motion.

BACKGROUND

The court will assume that the reader is familiar with the court's memorandum opinion granting Villarreal's motion for summary judgment. See Arnold v. Villarreal, No. 09 C 7399, 2014 WL 2922810 (N.D. Ill. June 27, 2014).

DISCUSSION

Arnold has moved to vacate the court's judgment as void for lack of subject-matter jurisdiction. See Fed.R.Civ.P. 60(b)(4). In the alternative, he asks the court to reconsider its order granting Villarreal's summary-judgment motion. See Fed. R. Civ. P.

I. Legal Standard.

The court must vacate a final judgment if it is "void." Fed.R.Civ.P. 60(b)(4). "[A] judgment is void only if the court which rendered it lacked jurisdiction of the subject matter or of the parties, or if it acted in a manner inconsistent with due process of law.'" Simmons v. Yurkovich, 497 Fed.Appx. 664, 665 (7th Cir. 2013) (quoting O'Rourke Bros. Inc. v. Nesbitt Burns, Inc. , 201 F.3d 948, 951 (7th Cir. 2000)). Rule 59(e) governs Arnold's claim that the court's judgment is erroneous. See Fed.R.Civ.P. 59(e); cf. O'Rourke , 201 F.3d at 951 ("A void judgment is not synonymous with an erroneous judgment. Even gross errors do not render a judgment void."). "To establish relief under Rule 59(e), a movant must demonstrate a manifest error of law or fact or present newly discovered evidence.'" Vesely v. Armslist LLC, ___ F.3d ___, 2014 WL 3907114, *3 (7th Cir. 2014) (slip op.) (quoting Boyd v. Tornier, Inc. , 656 F.3d 487, 492 (7th Cir. 2011)). A Rule 59(e) motion is not an appropriate vehicle to raise new arguments that the movant could have raised before judgment. See Miller v. Safeco Ins. Co. of America , 683 F.3d 805, 813 (7th Cir. 2012) (Rule 59(e) motions are "not appropriately used to advance arguments or theories that could and should have been made before the district court rendered a judgment, or to present evidence that was available earlier.") (citation and internal quotation marks omitted).

II. Arnold's Rule 60(b)(4) Motion.

Arnold argues that the court lacks subject-matter jurisdiction because he alleged in his complaint that he and Villarreal are residents - not citizens - of Illinois and California, respectively. (See Original Compl., Dkt. 1, ¶¶ 1-2; Am. Compl., Dkt. 75, ¶¶ 1-2).) "[C]itizenship' for the purpose of 28 U.S.C. § 1332 depends on domicile rather than residence." Heinen v. Northrop Grumman Corp. , 671 F.3d 669, 670 (7th Cir. 2012). In response to Arnold's motion to vacate, the court gave the parties leave to amend their pleadings to allege citizenship. See 28 U.S.C. § 1653 ("Defective allegations of jurisdiction may be amended, upon terms, in the trial or appellate courts.").[1] The parties' amended pleadings establish that Arnold is a citizen of Illinois, and Villarreal is a citizen of California. (See Am. to Compl., Dkt. 111, ¶¶ 1-2; Answer to Am. to Compl., Dkt. 116, ¶¶ 1-2.) The court has subject matter jurisdiction, and thus denies Arnold's Rule 60(b)(4) motion.

III. Arnold's Rule 59(e) Motion.

Arnold argues that the court: (1) misconstrued California Civil Code § 1590; and (2) improperly failed to construe the summary-judgment record in the light most favorable to him as the nonmoving party.

A. California Civil Code § 1590

Arnold claims that he is entitled under California law to recover gifts that he gave to Villarreal ...


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