United States District Court, E.D. Michigan, Northern Division
ORDER DENYING MOTION TO AMEND JUDGMENT
L. LUDINGTON UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
February 17, 2017, Plaintiff Ross Levay filed a complaint
alleging that the United States and various government
officials have committed gross negligence, breach of
contract, First Amendment violations, and breach of oath by
failing to prevent “incitement to imminent
lawlessness” by “Radical Islamic
Terrorists.” Compl. at 6-7, ECF No. 1. The case was
referred to Magistrate Judge Patricia T. Morris. ECF No. 3.
On February 24, 2017, Judge Morris issued a report
recommending that the case be dismissed sua sponte because
Levay lacks standing. ECF No. 7. Levay objected to
effectively every aspect of Judge Morris's report and
recommendation. ECF No. 10. Rather than individually
addressing each objection, the Court reviewed Levay's
complaint de novo (meaning with no deference to Judge
Morris's findings) and independently concluded that
Levay's suit was frivolous and would be dismissed. ECF
No. 14. On July 21, 2017, Levy filed a “Motion to Amend
Judgment.” ECF No. 16. In the motion, Levay makes three
requests: individually address each of his five objections,
amend the previous order to remove the holding that the suit
is “frivolous, ” and reconsider the previous
refusal to allow Levay to appeal in forma pauperis. For the
following reasons, that motion will be denied.
summarized in the July 11, 2017, opinion and order:
In his complaint, Levay explains that “there have been
a high and increasing number of Islamic motivated violent
acts targeting Jews and our places of worship.” Compl.
at 5, ECF No. 1. Levay is a Jew and contends that the
“incitement to imminent violence” found in the
Quran and “cited by ISIS, Al Qaeda” and others
has deprived Levay of “the freedom of religious
Levay provides an extensive list of requested relief. He
wishes the Court to hold that “specific Koranic verses,
presented during the trial, fail the Imminent Lawlessness
Test.” Id. at 6. He also intends to prove a
“direct link to specific Koranic verses extolling among
specific Radical Islamic Terrorists as the underlying motive,
cause and essential ‘but for' for 74 specific
Radical Islamic Terrorist attacks within the US.”
Id. He desires a “formal declaration of
incompatibility between Koranic Sharia Law . . . and U.S.
Constitutional Law.” Id. at 7. He also asks
that the Court direct Congress to take action by outlawing
certain passages of the Quran, issue a federally sanctioned
and edited Koran, and withdraw tax-exempt status from mosques
which do not adopt the new Quran, and institute a
“National Islamic Registry Program.”
July 11, 2017, Op. & Order at 1-2, ECF No. 14.
Court found that Levay's suit was frivolous for the
First, Levay lacks standing to bring this suit. Levay's
suit seeks relief for the threat of violence that Islamic
extremism poses to him and his community. But he does not
allege injury to him personally, or an imminent,
particularized threat of future injury. See Sierra Club
v. Morton, 405 U.S. 727, 735 (1972) (holding that
standing “requires that the party seeking review be
himself among the injured”). Even if Levay did allege
an actionable injury, the Court does not have the authority
to direct Congress to legislate on an issue, much less
vanquish the specter of religiously-motivated violence.
See Smith & Lee Assocs., Inc. v. City of Taylor,
Mich., 102 F.3d 781, 797 (6th Cir. 1996) (explaining
that federal courts do not have the power to order Congress
to enact legislation). And, more fundamentally, Levay's
requests for a state-issued Koran, a national registry of
Muslims, and financial sanctions for rogue mosques offend
basic constitutional principles. The First Amendment forbids
Congress from making a law “respecting an establishment
of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof.”
U.S. Const., Am. I.
Id. at 3-4.
present motion is effectively a motion for reconsideration of
the Court's previous order. Pursuant to Eastern District
of Michigan Local Rule 7.1(h), a party can file a motion for
reconsideration of a previous order, but must do so within
fourteen days. A motion for reconsideration will be granted
if the moving party shows: “(1) a palpable defect, (2)
the defect misled the court and the parties, and (3) that
correcting the defect will result in a different disposition
of the case.” Michigan Dept. of Treasury v.
Michalec, 181 F.Supp.2d 731, 733-34 (E.D. Mich. 2002)
(quoting E.D. Mich. LR 7.1(g)(3)). A “palpable
defect” is “obvious, clear, unmistakable,
manifest, or plain.” Id. at 734 (citing
Marketing Displays, Inc. v. Traffix Devices, Inc.,
971 F.Supp.2d 262, 278 (E.D. Mich. 1997). “[T]he 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.” E.D.
Mich. L.R. 7.1(h)(3). See also Bowens v. Terris, No.
2:15-CV-10203, 2015 WL 3441531, at *1 (E.D. Mich. May 28,
motion could also be construed as a request for relief under
Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 59(e). That Rule allows a
party to file a “motion to alter or amend a
judgment.” Id. Motions under Rule 59(e) may be
granted “if there is a clear error of law, newly
discovered evidence, an intervening change in controlling
law, or to prevent manifest injustice.” GenCorp,
Inc. v. Am. Int'l Underwriters, 178 F.3d 804, 834
(6th Cir. 1999) (internal citations omitted). “Rule
59(e) motions cannot be used to present new arguments that
could have been raised prior to judgment.” Howard
v. United States, 533 F.3d 472, 475 (6th Cir. 2008). If
a party is effectively attempting to “‘re-argue a
case' . . . the district court may well deny the Rule
59(e) motion on that ground.” Id. (quoting
Sault Ste. Marie Tribe of Chippewa Indians v.
Engler, 146 F.3d 367, 374 (6th Cir. 1998)). Likewise, a
Rule 59(e) motion is not an appropriate vehicle to
“‘submit evidence which could have been
previously submitted in the exercise of reasonable
diligence.'” Kenneth Henes Special Projects
Procurement v. Cont'l Biomass Indus., Inc., 86
F.Supp.2d 721, 726 (E.D. Mich. 2000) (quoting Nagle
Industries, Inc. v. Ford Motor Company, 175 F.R.D. 251,
254 (E.D. Mich. 1997)).
there was no error in the opinion and order dismissing his
complaint, Levay's motion will be denied. Each of his
requests will be addressed in turn. First, Levay asks the
Court to “[i]ndividually address of the five
objections” he previously submitted. Mot. Am. at 1, ECF
No. 16. In reality, Levay filed much more than five
objections to Judge Morris's report and recommendation.
For example, his “first objection” includes five
subsections and spans 9 pages. See Objs, ECF No. 10.
Levay now faults the Court for not specifically addressing
each argument made in his 28 pages of objections. Rather than
exhaustively addressing the objections, the Court opted to
simply review Levay's entire complaint de novo. Levay
implicitly challenges that approach, asserting: “If
there is any flaw in my objections, not the initial
complaint, please say so.” Mot. Am. at 1 (emphasis in
original). But that argument misconstrues Levay's burden.
Levay must providewell-pleaded factual allegations in the
complaint which establish that his right to relief
rises “above the speculative level.” Bell
Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555 (2007).
Levay's complaint, not his objections, are the operative
pleading in this matter and thus must meet federal pleading
standards. See Federal Rules of Civil Procedure 7(a)
& 8(a). In the July 11, 2017, opinion and order, the
Court found ...