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KCI Auto Auction, Inc. v. Anderson

United States District Court, W.D. Missouri.

July 8, 2019

ALONZO D. ANDERSON, et al., Defendants.



         Pending before the Court is Defendant Alonso Anderson's motion for relief from final judgment, Doc. 179, Plaintiff KCI Auto Auction, Inc.'s motion to enforce, Doc. 193, KCI's motion for leave to file excess pages, Doc. 197, and KCI's motion for sanctions pursuant to Rule 11, Doc. 198. For the following reasons, the motion for relief from final judgment is denied, the motion to enforce is granted in part, the motion for leave to file excess pages is granted, and the motion for sanctions is denied.

         I. Background

         This dispute began when a purchasing account used to purchase vehicles at KCI, the “Lucky 7 Account, ” became delinquent. KCI brought claims against Mr. Anderson, along with seven other individuals and three entities, for breach of contract, action on account, promissory estoppel, account stated, fraudulent misrepresentation, fraudulent conveyance, unjust enrichment and quantum meruit, conversion, replevin, civil conspiracy, constructive trust, injunctive relief, negligence per se and alter ego/piercing the corporate veil. Doc. 41 (Amended Complaint).

         Litigation on the merits of KCI's claims against Mr. Anderson[1] ended after the Court granted KCI's motion for summary judgment.[2] Doc. 115. The Court found, in relevant part, that KCI had a valid contract with Anderson as a result of an oral “floor plan” agreement made with two other defendants, who were found to be agents acting on behalf of Mr. Anderson, and an “Auction Guarantee, ” signed and executed by Mr. Anderson, in which Mr. Anderson personally guaranteed full payments of any debts. Id. Although Mr. Anderson argued that KCI's exhibits were forgeries, that the signature shown on KCI's exhibits was not his, and that he signed different papers than those filed by KCI, Doc. 111-1, the Court found that summary judgment was nonetheless warranted because Mr. Anderson's affidavit was conclusory and he had admitted the authenticity of these documents by failing to respond to KCI's requests for admissions, Doc. 106-2, pp. 11-12. Mr. Anderson then appealed the summary judgment decision, but the appeal was dismissed for failure to prosecute. Doc. 122.

         Following the Court's decision, KCI served Mr. Anderson with post-judgment discovery. Doc. 125. When Mr. Anderson had not responded some two months later, KCI filed a motion to compel, which was granted in November 2018. Doc. 134. When Mr. Anderson again failed to respond to KCI's discovery despite the Court's Order to do so, KCI motioned to hold Mr. Anderson in civil contempt, Doc. 135, and the matter was referred to a Magistrate Judge for a hearing, Doc. 141. Mr. Anderson did not appear for the hearing, nor did he file any objections to the Report and Recommendations that resulted. The Court adopted the Magistrate Judge's Report and Recommendation, found Mr. Anderson in contempt of court, and among other things, imposed sanctions accruing for each day of noncompliance with the Court's prior order and permitted KCI to submit a record of costs and expenses incurred to be assessed against Mr. Anderson. Doc. 158.

         II. Discussion

         Mr. Anderson now contends that the Court's order granting summary judgment to KCI should be set aside based on newly submitted evidence, because the prior judgment was fraudulently procured and because the judgment is otherwise void. Doc. 179. KCI claims that Mr. Anderson's motion is frivolous and he should be sanctioned pursuant to Rule 11. Doc. 198. Separately, KCI seeks to enforce the Court's prior Orders awarding KCI costs associated with conducting discovery and sanctions pursuant to the Court's civil contempt finding. Doc. 193.

         A. Mr. Anderson's Motion for Relief from Final Judgment

         Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 60(b) provides that a court may provide relief from a final judgment “on motion and just terms” for various reasons, including “newly discovered evidence that, with reasonable diligence, could not have been discovered in time to move for a new trial” and “fraud (whether previously called intrinsic or extrinsic), misrepresentation, or misconduct by an opposing party.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 60(b)(2)-(3). Rule 60(b)(4) also provides for relief when “the judgment is void.” However, relief under Rule 60(b) is reserved for “extraordinary circumstances, ” and it is “‘not intended as a substitute for a direct appeal from an erroneous judgment.'” Spinar v. South Dakota Bd. Of Regents, 796 F.2d 1060, 1062 (8th Cir. 1986) (citations omitted).

         To the extent that Mr. Anderson argues the judgment against him should be set aside because it is wrong, relief pursuant to Rule 60(b) is untimely. “To prevent its use as a substitute for a timely appeal on the underlying merits, a Rule 60(b) motion must be made within thirty days of the judgment if the alleged error could have been corrected by appeal of that judgment.” Sanders v. Clemco Ind., 862 F.2d 161, 169 (8th Cir. 1988). Mr. Anderson's argument that “[t]he court . . . misapplied the Summary Judgment Standard by weighing the evidence and failing to construe the evidence in light [sic] most favorable to non-movant, ” Doc. 179, p. 5, is precisely the sort that could have been “corrected by appeal.” See, e.g., Robert Johnson Grain Co. v. Chem. Interchange Co., 541 F.2d 207, 210-11 (8th Cir. 1976) (reversing summary judgment when factual conflicts were not resolved in favor of non-moving party). Accordingly, relief on these arguments is denied.

         Under Rule 60(b)(3), a court may provide relief from an order or judgment if the movant shows “‘with clear and convincing evidence, that the opposing party engaged in a fraud or misrepresentation that prevented the movant from fully and fairly presenting its case.'” United States v. Metro. St. Louis Sewer Dist., 440 F.3d 930, 935 (8th Cir. 2006) (quoting Harley v. Zoesch, 413 F.3d 866, 870 (8th Cir. 2005)). Mr. Anderson alleges that counsel for KCI 1) abused the discovery process by “present[ing] questions that [counsel] knew were lies, ” 2) persuaded witnesses to commit perjury, 3) deceived the Court by treating “Lucky 7 Discount Auto Sales, LLC” and “Lucky 7 Discount Auto Sales” as the same entity, and 4) knowingly presented forged documents to the Court. Doc. 179.

         None of these arguments are grounds for relief or sufficient grounds to warrant a hearing on Mr. Anderson's motion. First, Mr. Anderson does not submit any evidence or specific pleadings to support his allegations of wrongdoing on the part of KCI, let alone evidence that satisfies the “clear and convincing” standard. Second, Mr. Anderson has not shown how these allegations prevented him from fully and fairly presenting his case. To the contrary, Mr. Anderson made many of these same allegations in response to the motion for summary judgment: that KCI's exhibits were forgeries, that an expert would establish such forgery, the Lucky 7 Used Cars, LLC is an LLC in good standing, and that KCI “intentionally left out” parts of the contracts and tampered with evidence. Doc. 111-1, pp. 2-3, 6-7. By reasserting these arguments now, Mr. Anderson is merely trying to relitigate his case and take an impermissible “second bite at the apple.” Metro. St. Louis Sewer Dist., 440 F.3d at 936. Finally, assuming that a party can “present[] questions that [it] knew were lies, ” Doc. 179, p. 3, Mr. Anderson merely had to respond to KCI's requests for admissions to correct the record. But Mr. Anderson chose not to, and he cannot now “blame deficiencies in presenting [his] case on [KCI].” Metro. St. Louis Sewer Dist., 440 F.3d at 936. Accordingly, Mr. Anderson's motion for relief based on KCI's alleged fraud or misconduct is denied.

         Mr. Anderson's recently submitted documents do not change this outcome, nor do they warrant relief under Rule 60(b)(2). “[A] Rule 60(b)(2) motion based on the discovery of new evidence must show (1) that the evidence was discovered after the court's order, (2) that the movant exercised diligence to obtain the evidence before entry of the order, (3) that the evidence is not merely cumulative or impeaching, (4) that the evidence is material, and (5) that the evidence would probably have produced a different result.” Miller v. Baker Implement Co., 439 F.3d 407, 414 (8th Cir. 2006) (citations omitted). Mr. Anderson does not specify which submissions support his claim to relief, so the Court construes Mr. Anderson's motion to be based on the ...

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