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Glenn Mizukami v. Donna Edwards; Thomas D. Collins Iii; the State of Hawaii and Gov.

March 21, 2012


The opinion of the court was delivered by: Leslie E. Kobayashi United States District Judge


On February 21, 2012, pro se Plaintiff Glenn K. Mizukami ("Plaintiff") filed a Verified Complaint ("Complaint"), an Application to Proceed In Forma Pauperis and Affidavit ("Application"), and a Petition for Injunctive Relief & Declaratory Judgment ("Petition"). The Court dismissed the Complaint with prejudice and denied the Application and Petition as moot in a February 29, 2012 Order ("Order"). Judgment was entered the same day. On March 9, 2012, Plaintiff filed a Motion to Amend Judgment ("Motion"), asking the Court to amend the Order and judgment of dismissal, and to accept his proposed First Amended Complaint.*fn1 The Court finds this matter suitable for disposition without a hearing pursuant to Rule LR7.2(d) of the Local Rules of Practice of the United States District Court for the District of Hawai`i ("Local Rules"). After careful consideration of the Motion, Plaintiff's proposed First Amended Complaint, and the relevant legal authority, this Court HEREBY DENIES the Motion.


In its Order, the Court dismissed the Complaint because Plaintiff failed to state claims for alleged violations of 42 U.S.C. §§ 1983, 1985, and 1986; Haw. Rev. Stat. Chapters 661, 662, and 663; and under 28 U.S.C. § 1652. Plaintiff alleged that Defendant Donna Edwards ("Edwards"), his ex-wife, and her attorney, Defendant Thomas Collins ("Collins"), conspired with state court judges Bert Ayabe ("Judge Ayabe") and Daniel Foley ("Judge Foley") to deny him due process in violation of 42 U.S.C. §§ 1983, 1985, and 1986. [Complaint at ¶¶ 1-6.] He alleges that these state court judges, the State of Hawai'i, and Governor Neil Abercrombie (collectively "State Defendants") are vicariously liable for the "judges' other non-discretionary torts pretensed (sic) in 'scope of office'". [Id. at ¶ 7.]

Plaintiff alleged that, under family court support orders entered in 2001 and 2002, the state courts denied Edwards' claims for child support, but awarded her over $30,000 in attorneys' fees. On appeal, Judge Foley awarded Edwards and Collins $8,613 and $7,054 in attorneys' fees. [Id. at ¶¶ 15-20.] According to Plaintiff, Collins then "filed illegal Nonconsensual Lien 6/18/04 No. 2004-123147 as trespass of Plaintiff's Homestead to unconstitutionally obstruct title to destroy Plaintiff's creditability (sic) & livelihood[.]" [Id. at ¶ 21.]

The Court ruled that, to the extent Plaintiff's claims sought to attack the various final state court orders, judgments, and liens, such claims are barred by the Rooker-Feldman doctrine. The Court further ruled that, to the extent Plaintiff's claims were not barred by Rooker-Feldman, Plaintiff failed to state a claim against Defendants Edwards and Collins (1) because they were not state actors, and (2) under the doctrine of res judicata, and against the State Defendants based upon their absolute judicial immunity.

In the instant Motion, Plaintiff appears to argue that his claims are not barred by the Rooker-Feldman doctrine because he does not attack any final state court judgments, rather he seeks "relief of lien by expungement," [Mem. in Supp. of Motion at 3,] and that a lien "is not a State judgment; is a private lien filed by COLLINS without and Court's 'Lien-Order'. . . ."

[Id. (emphases in original).] He further argues that his claims against Edwards and Collins are not barred by res judicata because they involve allegations of conduct occurring after the previously entered judgments in his earlier actions. Finally, he appears to argue that the State Defendants are not shielded by absolute judicial immunity because they acted in the absence of jurisdiction and should have been disqualified. [Id. at 4-5.]


Plaintiff is appearing pro se; consequently, this Court will liberally construe his pleadings. See Eldridge v. Block, 832 F.2d 1132, 1137 (9th Cir. 1987) ("The Supreme Court has instructed the federal courts to liberally construe the 'inartful pleading' of pro se litigants." (citing Boag v. MacDougall, 454 U.S. 364, 365 (1982) (per curiam))).

Plaintiff states that he brings the Motion pursuant to Fed. R. Civ. P. 59. Rule 59(e) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure allows a party to file a motion to alter or amend the judgment "no later than 28 days after the entry of judgment." Fed. R. Civ. P. 59(e). Plaintiff's Motion is therefore timely under the rule. There are four grounds upon which a Rule 59(e) motion may be granted:

1) the motion is "necessary to correct manifest errors of law or fact upon which the judgment is based;" 2) the moving party presents "newly discovered or previously unavailable evidence;" 3) the motion is necessary to "prevent manifest injustice;" or 4) there is an "intervening change in controlling law."

Turner v. Burlington N. Santa Fe R.R. Co., 338 F.3d 1058, 1063 (9th Cir. 2003) (quoting 11 Charles Alan Wright, Arthur R. Miller & Mary Kay Kane, Federal Practice and Procedure § 2810.1 (2d ed. 1995)); see also S.E.C. v. Platforms Wireless Int'l Corp., 617 F.3d 1072, 1100 (9th Cir. 2010) ("Reconsideration under Rule 59(e) is appropriate if (1) the district court is presented with newly discovered evidence, (2) the district court committed clear error or made an initial decision that was manifestly unjust, or (3) there is an intervening change in controlling law." (citation and internal quotation marks omitted)).

Rule 59(e) offers "an 'extraordinary remedy, to be used sparingly in the interests of finality and conservation of judicial resources.'" Reliance Ins. Co. v. Doctors Co., 299 F. Supp. 2d 1131, 1153 (D. Hawai'i 2003) (quoting Carroll v. Nakatani, 342 F.3d 934, 945 (9th Cir. 2003)). Nor may the reconsideration motion be "based on evidence and legal arguments that could have been presented at the time of the challenged decision." Comeaux v. Hawaii, Civ. No. 06--00341 SOM/BMK, 2007 WL 2300711, at *1 (D. Hawai'i Aug. 8, 2007) (citation omitted). "Whether or not to grant reconsideration is committed to the sound discretion of the court." White v. ...

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