United States District Court, E.D. Virginia, Richmond Division
A. Gibney, Jr. United States District Judge
se plaintiff, Nicolle Conyers, filed this action against
McGuireWoods, LLC and the Virginia Housing Development
Authority ("VHDA") (collectively "the
defendants") to vacate a 2013 judgment. Conyers claims
that the defendants committed fraud on the court by lying
about the VHDA's legal business classification. The
defendants have moved to dismiss. The Court grants the
defendants' motion because Conyers' alleged facts do
not plausibly show that the defendants engaged in the kind of
egregious conduct required to constitute fraud on the court.
VHDA terminated Conyers in December 2010. Conyers then filed
a complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission
("EEOC") in February 2011. The VHDA declared itself
a state agency in its EEOC position statement.
2012, the EEOC issued Conyers a "Notice to Sue."
Conyers then filed her complaint in this district claiming
that the VHDA violated Title VII. Relevant here, Conyers did
not bring a due process claim at that time, and the complaint
classified the VHDA as a state agency. See
Conyers v. Va. Hous. Dev. Autk, 927 F.Supp.2d 285,
292 (E.D. Va. 2013). The VHDA, represented by McGuireWoods,
denied being a state agency in its answer to the 2012
2012, the VHDA moved for summary judgment. In support of the
motion, the VHDA submitted an allegedly perjured affidavit
from its HR Director that classified the VHDA as a non-profit
organization. Conyers now claims that the VHDA and the HR
Director knew that the VHDA was a state agency, rather than a
non-profit, because the VHDA refers to itself as the
"Virginia State Housing Authority, a political
subdivision of the Commonwealth of Virginia." (PL's
Compl. at ¶ 12, Dk. No. 1.) Conyers also says that
McGuireWoods knew that the VHDA was a state agency because
McGuire Woods had represented the VHDA in prior litigations
where it stated that the VHDA was a state agency.
Court granted the motion for summary judgment. See
Conyers, 927 F.Supp.2d at 292. In the opinion granting
the motion, the Court stated that the VHDA was a non-profit
organization in the background section, but it did not rely
on this classification in any part of its analysis.
now alleges that the defendants committed fraud on the court
when they submitted inconsistent statements in the 2011 EEOC
position statement, the 2012 answer to the complaint, and in
support of the 2012 motion for summary judgment (collectively
the "2012 misrepresentations"). Conyers seeks
relief from the Court's 2013 judgment upholding summary
judgment under Rule 60(d)(3) and, alternatively, Rule
STANDARD OF REVIEW
VHDA and McGuire Woods have moved to dismiss under Rule
12(b)(6) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure. A Rule
12(b)(6) motion gauges the sufficiency of a complaint without
resolving any factual discrepancies or testing the merits of
the claims. Republican Party of N.C. v.
Martin, 980 F.2d 943, 952 (4th Cir. 1992). In
considering the motion, a court must accept all allegations
in the complaint as true and must draw all reasonable
inferences in favor of the plaintiff. Nemet Chevrolet,
Ltd. v. Consumeraffairs.com, Inc., 591 F.3d 250, 253
(4th Cir. 2009) (citing Edwards v. City of
Goldsboro, 178 F.3d 231, 244 (4th Cir. 1999)). The
principle that a court must accept all allegations as true,
however, does not apply to legal conclusions. Ashcroft v.
Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009). To survive a Rule
12(b)(6) motion to dismiss, a complaint must state facts
that, when accepted as true, "state a claim to relief
that is plausible on its face." Id. (quoting
Bell Atl Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 570
Court understands that a pro se litigant presents claims
differently from a trained attorney. See Beaudett v. City
of Hampton, 775 F.2d 1274, 1278 (4th Cir. 1985).
Accordingly, courts construe pro se complaints liberally.
Id. This principle of liberal construction, however,
has its limits. Id. Courts do not need to discern
the unexpressed intent of the plaintiff or to conjure up
issues on the plaintiffs behalf. See Laber v.
Harvey, 438 F.3d 404, 413 n.3 (4th Cir. 2006);
Beaudett, 775 F.2d at 1276.
Rule of Civil Procedure 60 sets forth the procedure for
seeking relief from a judgment or order. Where a party waits
more than a year after a court has entered a judgment, a
party may only seek relief under Rule 60(d). The Court
liberally construes the pro se plaintiffs complaint to assert
two claims under Federal Rule Civil Procedure 60(d)(3) and