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Meyer v. Haeg

United States District Court, D. Minnesota

April 21, 2017

Harley Dean Meyer, Plaintiff,
Thomas Haeg, Hennepin County Referee, in his official capacity, et al., Defendants.

          Harley Dean Meyer, pro se.

          Andrew Tweeten, Richard S. Reeves, David Grobeck, Ronald S. Stadler, Mallery & Zimmerman, S.C., Stacy A. Broman, Laura J. Hanson, Meagher & Geer, PLLP, Bryon Glen Ascheman, Burke & Thomas, PLLP, Virginia K. Ekola, Amie E. Penny Sayler, Jonathan P. Norrie, Bassford Remele, P.A., Angela B. Brandt, David M. Wilk, Larson King LLP, Ann-Marie Anderson, Wright Welker & Pauole, PLC, Steven C. Kerbaugh, Steven M. Phillips, Anthony Ostlund Baer & Louwagie P.A., Barry G. Vermeer, Jennifer M. Waterworth, Gislason & Hunter, Lindsey A. Streicher, Patrick M. Biren, Brownson & Linnihan, PLLP, Erin M. Secord, United States Attorney, Ashley M. DeMinck, and Ellen B. Silverman, Hinshaw & Culbertson LLP for Defendants.


          SUSAN RICHARD NELSON, United States District Judge


         This matter comes before the Court on Plaintiff Harley Dean Meyer's Motion to Set Aside Order and Judgment in a Civil Case [Doc. No. 476]. Meyer requests that the Court set aside two orders [Doc. Nos. 427, 432] and two related judgments [Doc. Nos. 429, 433] pursuant to Federal Rules of Civil Procedure 60(b)(3) and 60(d)(3). After careful review of Meyer's submissions, Defendants' responses, and the relevant case law, the Court concludes that the requested relief is procedurally improper and substantively unwarranted. Accordingly, Meyer's motion is denied.


         The general facts pertaining to this matter are set forth in previous rulings from this court, and are incorporated herein by reference. See, e.g., Meyer v. Haeg, No. 15-cv-2564 (SRN/HB), 2016 WL 4153611, at *1-3 (D. Minn. Aug. 5, 2016). Briefly stated, this action arises generally from claims related to a child custody dispute that occurred in 2003. See Id. at *2. Meyer had divorced his wife in 2001, and they were awarded joint legal and physical custody of their son, J.M. See Id. Shortly thereafter, however, Meyer and his wife began disputing the terms of custody, leading to litigation in Hennepin County Family Court. Numerous hearings were held related to the dispute in 2002 and 2003, at which Meyer was either present in person or represented by counsel. See Id. Ultimately, Meyer's wife was awarded sole custody of J.M., and Meyer was ordered to pay child support. Id.

         After the 2003 custody decision, Meyer's employers at times garnished his wages to satisfy his child support obligations, and banks where Meyer held accounts also levied those accounts for the same purpose. See Id. at *3. According to Meyer, these levies caused him numerous harms, including credit and tax difficulties, and placement in a “passport denial program.” See id.

         Meyer now contends that all aspects of the 2003 custody decision, and the hearing preceding it, were fraudulent, procedurally deficient, involved negligence, and amounted to a civil conspiracy against him. See Id. As a result, Meyer brought state and federal law claims against hundreds of individuals and entities (e.g., his former attorneys, judges and referees in the Minnesota state court system, the federal agencies involved with his alleged passport and tax issues, former employers, administrators at the high school J.M. attended) who he alleges were responsible for the 2003 custody decision, or relied on that decision to take actions that adversely impacted him. See Id. In general, the vast majority of Meyer's claims allege that the Defendants' acts relating to or relying on the 2003 custody decision were violations of his civil rights, Minnesota state law, and various federal laws and regulations. See id.

         In response to Meyer's action, most defendants moved for dismissal on various grounds, including lack of personal jurisdiction, failure to state a claim upon which relief can be granted, and insufficient service of process. See Fed. R. Civ. P. 12(b)(2), (5), (6). As relevant to this matter, defendants' motions were referred to United States Magistrate Judge Hildy Bowbeer for a report and recommendation (“R&R”). See 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1). The magistrate judge duly submitted two R&Rs covering defendants' motions on June 27, 2016 [Doc. No. 292] and October 5, 2016 [Doc. No. 283], recommending that defendants' motions be granted. Meyer timely objected to both R&Rs. On review, this Court overruled his objections and entered orders dismissing the Complaint as to all relevant defendants. (See Aug. 5, 2016 Order [Doc. No. 341] (as amended by Dec. 9, 2016 Order [Doc. No. 432]); Nov. 21, 2016 Order [Doc. No. 427].) Judgments were subsequently entered by the Clerk of Court on November 22, 2016 [Doc. No. 249] and December 13, 2016 [Doc. No. 433].

         Meyer now moves the Court to set aside the relevant orders and judgments pursuant to Federal Rules of Civil Procedure 60(b)(3) and 60(d)(3), “on the grounds of fraud, ” and “on the grounds that the fraud prevented the Plaintiff from fully and fairly presenting his case.”


         An initial question confronting the Court is whether Meyer's Motion, though styled as one for relief from a judgment or order under Rule 60, properly invokes that rule. Rule 60(b)(3) provides that “[o]n motion and just terms, the court may relieve a party . . . from a final judgment, order, or proceeding for the following reasons: (3) fraud (whether previously called intrinsic or extrinsic), misrepresentation, or misconduct by an opposing party.” Rule 60(d)(3) likewise indicates that a court retains power to “set aside a judgment for fraud on the court.” Here, Meyer appears to allege that this Court's orders and judgments should be set aside under Rule 60 because various orders and judgments entered in the state court case were “forgeries, ” meaning that this Court's orders were, in a sense, procured by fraud.

         However, as this Court has previously recognized, Rule 60 does not apply to all orders or judgments-rather, it applies only to those that are “final.” See John v. MainGate, Inc., No. 10-cv-4902 (SRN/JJK), 2014 WL 3805662, at *2 (D. Minn. Aug. 1, 2014). As the Eighth Circuit has explained, an order or judgment is only final if an appeal may lie from that order or judgment. See Auto Servs. Co. v. KPMG, LLP, 537 F.3d 853, 856 (8th Cir. 2008). Except in certain limited circumstances not present here, [1] an order dismissing fewer than all of the defendants or claims does not give rise to a right of appeal. See id.; see also St. Mary's Health Ctr. v. Bowen, 821 F.2d 493, 498 (8th Cir. 1987) (“Rule 60(b) applies only to relief from a final judgment or order.”). Because ...

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