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United States ex rel. Kreipke v. Wayne State University

United States District Court, E.D. Michigan, Southern Division

January 28, 2015

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA ex rel. Christian Kreipke, and CHRISTIAN KREIPKE, an individual, Plaintiffs,
v.
WAYNE STATE UNIVERSITY, and UNIVERSITY PHYSICIAN GROUP, Defendants.

ORDER DENYING PLAINTIFF'S MOTION TO ALTER OR AMEND JUDGMENT (DOC. 51)

AVERN COHN, District Judge.

This is a False Claims Act (FCA) case. Relator Christian Kreipke (Plaintiff) claims that Defendants Wayne State University (WSU) and University Physician Group (UPG) were involved in a conspiracy whereby false claims and false documents were presented to the United States Government in violation of the FCA, 31 U.S.C. ยงยง 3729, et seq. Under state law, Plaintiff claims that WSU improperly terminated him in retaliation for his refusal to violate the law, and that the President of WSU, M. Roy Wilson, publicly defamed him. Neither President Wilson nor the Board of Governors of WSU is named as defendant.

On November 13, 2014, the Court entered a Memorandum and Order (the Order) (Doc. 49) granting in part and denying in part WSU's Motion to Dismiss (Doc. 28) and UPG's Motion to Dismiss (Doc. 29) and dismissing the case. Now before the Court is Plaintiff's Motion to Alter or Amend Judgment (Doc. 51). For the reasons that follow, Plaintiff's Motion is DENIED.

II. BACKGROUND

A.

The history of this case is detailed in the Court's prior Order (Doc. 49) and is not repeated here. The motion before the Court deals with Plaintiff's motion to alter or amend the judgment, the details of which are explained below.

B.

In July 2014, Defendant WSU filed a Motion to Dismiss (Doc. 28) arguing, inter alia, that Plaintiff's claims against WSU must be barred because WSU is an "arm of the state" enjoying Eleventh Amendment immunity.

In his Response (Doc. 35), in addition to arguing that WSU is not an "arm of the state, " Plaintiff argued in the alternative that he should be allowed to amend the First Amended Complaint (Doc. 19) in order to add two parties: WSU's Board of Governors and President Wilson. Plaintiff filed no formal motion for leave to amend the First Amended Complaint.

In the November 13, 2014, Order, the Court agreed with WSU and held, inter alia, that Plaintiff's claims were barred because WSU is an "arm of the state." The Court did not address Plaintiff's informal request to amend the First Amended Complaint. In the instant action, Plaintiff argues that, pursuant to Fed.R.Civ.P. 59(e), the judgment must be altered or amended because the Court made no ruling on his request.

III. STANDARD OF REVIEW

Fed. R. Civ. P. 59(e) may be used by a litigant seeking reconsideration of any prior ruling of the court. "A court may grant a Rule 59(e) motion to alter or amend if there is: (1) a clear error of law; (2) newly discovered evidence; (3) an intervening change in controlling law; or (4) a need to prevent manifest injustice." Intera Corp. v. Henderson, 428 F.3d 605, 620 (6th Cir. 2005) (citing GenCorp, Inc. v. Am. Int'l Underwriters, 178 F.3d 804, 834 (6th Cir. 1999)). "The purpose of Rule 59(e) is to allow the district court to correct its own errors, sparing the parties and appellate courts the burden of unnecessary appellate proceedings.'" Howard v. United States, 533 F.3d 472, 475 (6th Cir. 2008) (citation omitted). "A motion to alter or reconsider a judgment is an extraordinary remedy and should be granted sparingly because of the interests in finality and conservation of scarce judicial resources" United States v. Limited, Inc., 179 F.R.D. 541, 547 (S.D. Ohio 1998) (citation omitted).

IV. DISCUSSION

Plaintiff argues that the Court's prior Order must be amended because the Court erred by failing to rule on his "motion" to amend. (See Doc. 51 ...


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