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Gucwa v. Lawley

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

June 29, 2017

Nancy Gucwa and Mark Marusza, Plaintiffs,
v.
Dr. Jeffrey Lawley, et al., Defendants.

          U.S. Magistrate Judge Anthony P. Patti

          AMENDED ORDER DENYING PLAINTIFFS' MOTION FOR REHEARING AND RECONSIDERATION, TO ALTER JUDGMENT, AND FOR RELIEF FROM JUDGMENT [112] [1]

          Arthur J. Tarnow, Senior United States District Judge

         Plaintiffs Nancy Gucwa and Mark Marusza filed a Motion for Rehearing and Reconsideration, to Alter Judgment, and for Relief from Judgment on February 6, 2017 [Dkt. #112]. Plaintiffs move the Court for rehearing and reconsideration of its January 23, 2017 Opinion and Order Granting Defendants' Motions to Dismiss, Denying Defendant Dr. Rubin's Motion for Sanctions, and Denying Plaintiffs' Motion for Leave to File an Amendment to the Second Amended Complaint [110]. Specifically, Plaintiffs ask the Court to rehear, reconsider, and reverse its holdings as to Nancy Gucwa's RICO Claim (Count I), Mark Marusza's Claim under the Medicare Secondary Payer Act (“MSPA”) (Count II), and Plaintiffs' Claims of Tortious Interference (Count III).

         For the reasons stated below, Plaintiffs' Motions are DENIED.

         Legal Standards

         Local Rule 7.1(h)(3), which governs motions for reconsideration, provides:

Generally, and without restricting the court's discretion, the court will not grant motions for rehearing or reconsideration that merely present the same issues ruled upon by the court, either expressly or by reasonable implication. The movant must not only demonstrate a palpable defect by which the court and the parties and other persons entitled to be heard on the motion have been misled but also show that correcting the defect will result in a different disposition of the case.

See Hansmann v. Fid. Invs. Institutional Servs. Co., 326 F.3d 760, 767 (6th Cir. 2003) (A motion for reconsideration is granted only “if the movant demonstrates that the district court and the parties have been misled by a palpable defect, and correcting the defect will result in a different disposition of the case”). “A palpable defect is a defect which is obvious, clear, unmistakable, manifest or plain.” Fleck v. Titan Tire Corp., 177 F.Supp.2d 605, 624 (E.D. Mich. 2001) (internal citations and quotations omitted). “The decision whether to grant reconsideration lies largely within the discretion of the court.” Yuba Natural Res., Inc. v. United States, 904 F.2d 1577, 1583 (Fed. Cir. 1990).

         Plaintiffs also move the Court under Federal Rules of Civil Procedure 59(e) and 60(b) to alter or amend the January 23, 2017 Judgment. Rule 59(e) allows courts to alter the judgment based on “(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). In deciding whether to grant a Rule 59(e) motion, courts must “consider[ ] the competing interest of protecting the finality of judgments and the expeditious termination of litigation.” Morse v. McWhorter, 290 F.3d 795, 800 (6th Cir. 2002). Parties are not permitted to use such motions to re-argue their case. See Davison v. Roadway Express, Inc., 562 F.Supp.2d 971, 984 (N.D. Ohio 2008) (Rule 59(e) motions are not “designed to give an unhappy litigant an opportunity to relitigate matters already decided[.]”).

         Similarly, “relief under Rule 60(b) is ‘circumscribed by public policy favoring finality of judgments and termination of litigation.” Blue Diamond Coal Co. v. Trs. of the UMWA Combined Benefit Fund, 249 F.3d 519, 524 (6th Cir. 2001) (quoting Waifersong Ltd., Inc. v. Classic Music Vending, 976 F.2d 290, 292 (6th Cir. 1992)). Relief under Rule 60(b) may be granted for the following reasons:

(1) mistake, inadvertence, surprise, or excusable neglect; (2) newly discovered evidence which by due diligence could not have been discovered in time to move for a new trial under Rule 59(e); (3) fraud (whether previously called intrinsic or extrinsic), misrepresentation, or misconduct by an opposing party; (4) the judgment is void; (5) the judgment has been satisfied, released, or discharged; it is based on an earlier judgment that has been reversed or vacated; or applying it prospectively is no longer equitable; or (6) any other reason that justifies relief.

Fed. R. Civ. P. 60(b). “Relief under rule 60(b) is extraordinary and may only be granted in exceptional circumstances.” Higgs v. Sanford, 2009 WL 1734467, at *1 (W.D. Ky. June 17, 2009) (internal quotations omitted).

         Analysis

         A. Gucwa's RICO Claim

          Plaintiff Gucwa argues that the Court erred when it dismissed her RICO claim for lack of standing. Gucwa highlights the fact that she filed a Form C Application for Mediation or Hearing with the Workers' Compensation Agency, demonstrating that she continued asserting her “entitlement to be paid for services rendered.” (Dkt. 112 at 12). Further, according to Plaintiffs, Gucwa suffered an injury in that she was not compensated for the services she rendered.

         Gucwa's arguments are the same as those presented in response to Defendants' motions to dismiss. “[T]he proper forum for expressing disagreement with the Court's substantive reasoning is an appeal on the merits, ” and the Court declines to address Plaintiffs' “allegations of substantive errors” in deciding the instant motion. Doshi v. General Cable Corp., 2015 WL 2229233, at *2 n.2 (E.D. Ky. May 12, 2015). As discussed in the January 23, 2017 Opinion and Order, it would not make sense to allow Gucwa to recover where Marusza - the injured party - cannot. Gucwa's claimed damages are too intimately connected with Marusza's personal injury underlying his workers' compensation claim to constitute an injury to business or property that is recoverable under RICO. See Lewis v. Drouillard, 788 F.Supp.2d 567, 570 (E.D. Mich. 2011); Jackson v. Sedgwick Claims Management Services, 731 F.3d 556, 566 ...


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