United States District Court, E.D. Michigan, Southern Division
ORDER DENYING PLAINTIFF'S MOTION TO ALTER OR
AMEND JUDGMENT (ECF #34)
MATTHEW F. LEITMAN, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
action, Plaintiff Rajinder Singh alleges that Defendants
Wells Fargo, N.A. and DTE Energy Company breached certain
contractual duties that they owed to him. (See First
Am. Compl., ECF #26.) Singh says that as a result of those
breaches, DTE stock that he owned escheated to the State of
Michigan. (See id.) The Defendants moved to dismiss
Singh's First Amended Complaint (see ECF ## 27,
28), and the Court granted the motions on November 3, 2017
(see ECF #32).
relevant here, the Court dismissed Singh's claim that DTE
breached provisions of his dividend reinvestment plan (the
“Plan”). The Court held that Singh's
allegations were insufficient to overcome the Plan's
strict limitation on DTE's liability for alleged
Singh's claim that DTE breached the Plan fails because
the Plan includes a strict limitation on DTE's liability
for breaches of that agreement, and Singh has not alleged
sufficient facts to avoid that limitation.
More specifically, the Plan provides that “DTE Energy
and the Plan Administrator [are] … not liable for any
actions performed in good faith or [for] the failure to
perform any actions in good faith.” (ECF #27-4 at Pg.
ID 488.) But the First Amended Complaint does not include any
factual allegations that, if proven, would tend to establish
that DTE failed to act in good faith. Singh alleges only that
DTE “failed to properly provide Wells Fargo with
[Singh's'] contact and other information, ”
which he says led to Wells Fargo closing his account and
escheating his stock to the State of Michigan. (First Am.
Compl. at ¶20, ECF #26 at Pg. ID 404.) He says nothing
about the circumstances surrounding DTE's alleged failure
to provide that information to Wells Fargo. Simply put,
Singh's allegations are not sufficient to overcome the
Plan's limitation on DTE's liability, and the Court
will therefore dismiss Singh's claim that DTE breached
has now filed a motion pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil
Procedure 59(e) in which he asks the Court to reinstate his
claim that DTE breached the Plan. (See ECF #34.) For
the reasons that follow, the Court DENIES
moves the Court to reconsider its ruling under Federal Rule
of Civil Procedure 59(e). “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). “This standard is not
inconsistent with the ‘palpable defect'
standard” that applies to motions for reconsideration
under Local Rule 7.1. Henderson v. Walled Lake Consol.
Schools, 469 F.3d 479, 496 (6th Cir. 2006) (holding that
district court “did not err” when it applied
standards in Local Rule 7.1 to a Rule 59(e) motion). Under
Local Rule 7.1, “[t]he court will not grant [a] motion[
] … that merely present[s] the same issues ruled upon
by the court, either expressly or by reasonable implication.
The movant must not only demonstrate a palpable defect ...
but also show that correcting the defect will result in a
different disposition of the case.” E.D. Mich. L.R.
7.1(h)(3). Indeed, Rule 59(e) motions “are not intended
as a vehicle to relitigate previously considered issues ...
and are not the proper vehicle to attempt to obtain a
reversal of judgment by offering the same arguments
previously presented.” Kenneth Henes Special
Projects Procurement v. Continental Biomass Industries,
Inc., 86 F.Supp.2d 721, 726 (E.D. Mich. 2000).
raises four arguments in his motion. None persuade the Court
to reconsider its dismissal of Singh's breach of contract
claim against DTE.
first argues that even though DTE delegated some of its
contractual duties to Wells Fargo, DTE nonetheless
“remained liable to [him] under the Plan.” (ECF
#34 at Pg. ID 742.) But the Court did not rule that DTE's
delegation of some duties to Wells Fargo somehow insulated
DTE from liability. Instead, the Court ruled that DTE's
potential liability for breaches of the Plan was strictly
limited to breaches committed in the absence of good faith.
Singh's contention that DTE “remained liable”
does not undermine the basis of that ruling.
Singh asserts that DTE breached the Plan “[t]hrough
Wells Fargo's [n]egligence.” (ECF #34 at Pg. ID
744.) But, again, this argument does not address the
Court's conclusion that any potential liability of DTE
under the Plan was strictly limited to breaches of the Plan
committed in the absence of good faith. Singh has also failed
to establish that even if Wells Fargo was negligent, that he
could prevail on a claim against DTE. Singh has not presented
any authority that Wells Fargo's alleged negligence is
tantamount to a lack of good faith that could give rise to
liability for breach of the Plan.
Singh argues that the Court erred when it held that he failed
to plead any facts that, if true, would tend to establish a
lack of good faith by DTE. Singh asserts that the escheatment
of his investment “[e]vidences” DTE's bad
faith. (Id. at Pg. ID 744-75.) The Court disagrees.
The fact that the investment escheated, standing alone, says
nothing about whether DTE acted in the absence of good faith.
The escheatment was the result of the alleged breach
of the Plan; it does not explain how or why
that alleged breach occurred.
Singh insists that “[a]ny questions regarding DTE's
and Wells Fargo's good faith compliance with commercially
reasonably standards should at a minimum be subject to
discovery.” (Id. at Pg. ID 745.) But, as noted
above, Singh has not specifically identified a single
allegation in his First Amended Complaint that speaks to
whether DTE acted in good faith. Singh is not ...