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Patterson v. Arizona Department of Economic Security

United States District Court, D. Arizona

November 4, 2015

Lorraine Patterson, Plaintiff,
v.
Arizona Department of Economic Security, et al., Defendants.

ORDER

Neil V. Wake United States District Judge

Before the Court are two of Plaintiff’s motions (Docs. 63, 64), respectively entitled (verbatim):

(1) “Motion/Petition FOR Recusal/Removal OF Judge Neil Wake28 U.S.C. § 144: U.S. Code - Section 144: Bias or prejudice of judge Rule 60. Relief from a Judgment (s)or Order based on fraud, ” and

(2) “2nd MOTION FOR RECUSAL for Recusal of Judge Neil Wake; Voiding Rulings made on Fraud Upon the Court and Change of Venue Due to federal Court Clerk Misconduct.”

The Court construes these as motions for recusal under 28 U.S.C. § 144 and motions for relief under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 60(b)(3). For the reasons that follow, the motions will be denied.

I. BACKGROUND

Plaintiff represents herself in this action and submits and receives filings by mail. On February 20, 2015, Plaintiff filed a 198-page complaint against seventeen named Defendants. (Doc. 1, 1-1, 1-2.) On February 25, the Court ordered Plaintiff to show cause why her complaint should not be dismissed as inadequately pleaded or, in the alternative, to file an amended complaint by March 25. (Doc. 3.)

On March 2, Plaintiff filed a substantially similar complaint. (Doc. 4.) But then she explained that, at the time she filed this new complaint, she had not yet received the Court’s February 25 order. (Doc. 6 at 1.) So the Court gave Plaintiff leave to file another complaint by March 25. (Doc. 7.)

On March 26, Plaintiff filed a 113-page amended complaint (Doc. 10) and a motion to extend the March 25 deadline by one day (Doc. 9). The Court granted the motion and deemed the amended complaint timely. (Doc. 11.) But then the Court dismissed the amended complaint as still inadequately pleaded. (Doc. 13.) The Court permitted Plaintiff to move for leave to amend the complaint again. (Id.)

On May 13, Plaintiff moved for leave to amend again (Doc. 14) and filed a redlined proposed further amended complaint (Doc. 15). The Court, cautiously noting an improvement, ordered Plaintiff to file the further amended complaint. (Doc. 16.) Plaintiff filed the further amended complaint, now 110 pages, on May 29. (Doc. 17.)

In July, most of the Defendants moved to dismiss for failure to state a claim. (Docs. 23, 26, 30.) One Defendant, Carol Stiles, waited until August 10 to move to dismiss. (Doc. 40.) On August 12, the Court granted the July motions to dismiss and therefore denied Stiles’ motion as moot. (Docs. 41, 42, 43, 44.) The Court gave Plaintiff one final opportunity to amend the complaint, this time by September 2. (Doc. 41 at 6; Doc. 42 at 7; Doc. 43 at 6; Doc. 44 at 1.)

On August 21, Plaintiff filed a document (“the Document”) that at first glance looked like another amended complaint. (Doc. 45.) For example, the Document’s type- written title contained the word “Complaint, ” like in the previous amended complaint. (Compare Doc. 45 at 1 with Doc. 17 at 1.) And the Document contained allegations in numbered paragraphs, like in the previous amended complaint. (Compare Doc. 45 with Doc. 17.) But there were differences too. For example, in the top-right corner of the Document’s first page were the hand-written words “Opposition to Defendant Az [sic.] Bar Counsel Carol Dahle Stiles, ” which were absent in the previous amended complaint. (Compare Doc. 45 at 1 with Doc. 17 at 1.) And the Document was only 19 pages long excluding attachments, much shorter than the previous amended complaint. (Compare Doc. 45 with Doc. 17.) Despite these differences, the Document was labeled an “Amended Complaint” in the Court’s electronic docket. Accordingly, the Court and Defendants treated the Document as an amended complaint. (Docs. 46, 52, 55, 56, 58, 60.) Defendants renewed their motions to dismiss. (Docs. 46, 52, 58, 60.) The Court granted two of these motions (Doc. 56) but has not yet ruled on the other two.

On August 31, Plaintiff filed a “Motion for Reconsideration.” (Doc. 47.) In it, Plaintiff acknowledged she had been “ordered to amend her Civil Complaint for a fourth time” but decided to “submit[] this Motion for relief instead of another complaint.” (Id. at 2.) The Court summarily denied the motion. (Doc. 52.)

On October 2, a month after the final deadline for amending the complaint, Plaintiff filed a proposed further amended complaint. (Doc. 57.) The Court dismissed the proposed complaint because it was ...


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