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Abdul Blue v. City of River Rouge

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

December 26, 2017

CITY OF RIVER ROUGE, et al., Defendants.


          MARK A. GOLDSMITH United States District Judge.

         Before the Court is Plaintiff Sexual Sin De Un Abdul Blue's motion to re-state clause [sic] of actions and the city of River Rouge as the defendant in light of newly-discovered evidence and motion for leave to amend (Dkt. 90). This motion was originally pending before Magistrate Judge Mona K. Majzoub, but is now before this Court in light of the motion's request to reconsider the Court's March 28, 2017 decision. See 3/28/2017 Op. & Order (Dkt. 53). Specifically, Blue asks this Court to reconsider its decision to dismiss both Defendant City of River Rouge and various federal and state law claims. Blue also requests leave to amend his complaint. For the reasons stated below, the Court denies Blue's motion.


         Motions for reconsideration may be granted when the moving party shows: (i) a palpable defect; (ii) by which the court and the parties were misled; and (iii) the correction of which will result in a different disposition of the case. E.D. Mich. LR 7.1(h)(3). A “palpable defect” is a “defect which is obvious, clear, unmistakable, manifest or plain.” Olson v. The Home Depot, 321 F.Supp.2d 872, 874 (E.D. Mich. 2004).

         Blue also references Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 59(e), which allows for motions to alter or amend a judgment. However, “[t]he term ‘judgment' as used in the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure . . . encompasses final judgment and appealable interlocutory orders.” Phillips v. Teamsters Local Union No. 957, No. 05-292, 2007 WL 397011, at *1 (S.D. Ohio Jan. 31, 2007). The requirement of a judgment as a prerequisite to a Rule 59(e) motion “protects against piecemeal review because the denial of a Rule 59(e) motion is itself a final, appealable judgment.” Id.

         The order that Blue seeks to alter or amend was a partial grant of summary judgment and a grant of a motion to dismiss, which dismissed certain claims and Defendants while leaving others in the case. See 3/28/2017 Order at 12. Though the Court could have chosen to enter final judgment as to the dismissed claims or parties, it did not do so. See Fed.R.Civ.P. 54(b) (“[T]he court may direct entry of a final judgment as to one or more, but fewer than all, claims or parties only if the court expressly determines that there is no just reason for delay.”) (emphasis added). Thus, the March 28, 2017 Order “does not end the action as to any of the claims or parties and may be revised at any time before the entry of a judgment[.]” Id. As a judgment has not yet been entered, a motion to alter or amend a judgment under Rule 59(e) is not an appropriate vehicle for reconsideration of the March 28, 2017 Order. See Blair v. Bd. of Trustees of Sugarcreek Twp., No. 07-056, 2008 WL 4372665, at *2 (S.D. Ohio Sept. 22, 2008) (finding that Rule 59(e) did not apply to an order that “adjudicates fewer than all of the claims, entails a partial grant of summary judgment, and is not immediately appealable”); see also Loomis v. Chrysler Corp., 4 Fed. App'x 214, 215 (6th Cir. 2001) (“The court properly denied the motion to alter or amend because no final judgment had been entered in the case at the time the motion was filed.”).

         The Court will, therefore, consider the motion as one for reconsideration under the Local Rules.

         A. Blue's Motion is Untimely

         As an initial matter, Blue's motion is untimely. Pursuant to the Local Rules, a motion for reconsideration “must be filed within 14 days after the entry of the judgment or order.” E.D. Mich. L.R. 7.1(h)(1). Here, the Court issued the order dismissing the City of River Rouge and certain claims against other Defendants on March 28, 2017. Blue did not file the instant motion until July 27, 2017, nearly four months later. Blue's motion can be denied on this ground alone. See, e.g., Majchrzak v. County of Wayne, 838 F.Supp.2d 586, 597 (noting that a motion for reconsideration may be denied on the basis of untimeliness alone).

         B. Blue Has Failed to Identify a “Palpable Defect”

         Putting aside the failure to timely file his motion, Blue has not identified a “palpable defect” that misled this Court. Blue argues that Defendants used false documents to support their claim that there was probable cause to arrest him. See Pl. Mot. at 1 (cm/ecf page). Specifically, Blue contests Defendants' claim that Defendant Edward Otis contacted the River Rouge Building Department on March 31, 2013 and determined that Blue was not the owner of 50 Orchard Street. See id. at 2 (cm/ecf page). Blue argues that “the forfeit documents that the defendant's [sic] use in support w[ere] from another property in Wayne County, that had nothing to do with the Plaintiff[.]” Id. In support, Blue attaches a Judgment of Foreclosure filed in Case No. 12-007968-CH in the Third Judicial Circuit Court for Wayne County (Dkt. 90-3) and an affidavit, which concerns 18900 Murray Hill, filed in that same case (Dkt. 90-4).[1] The affiant states that 18900 Murray Hill was fraudulently assessed.

         Defendants argue that Blue's evidence does not show what he claims. See Def. Resp. at 1 (Dkt. 94). They note that the Judgment of Foreclosure entered in Wayne County Circuit Court Case No. 12-007968-CH refers to multiple foreclosed properties, all of which are listed in an attached “Schedule A.” Def. Resp. at 11-12. Schedule A in turn lists 50 Orchard as one of the foreclosed properties. See Judgment of Foreclosure, Schedule A, Ex. D to Def. Resp. (Dkt. 94-5). Defendants argue that the affidavit regarding 18900 Murray Hill has nothing to with this case, other than that 50 Orchard and 18900 Murray Hill were both foreclosed upon in Civil Action No. 12-007968-CH. Def. Resp. at 11-12. Defendants also attach the Notice of Judgment of Foreclosure for 50 Orchard, which indicates that the judgment was entered in Civil Action No. 12-007968-CH (Dkt. 94-8).

         The Court agrees with Defendants. The Judgment of Foreclosure is clear that it applies to multiple properties, including 50 Orchard. The fact that another property also had the same civil case number as 50 Orchard does not show that Defendants used false documents to support their claims. Accordingly, Blue has not shown that the Court's decision relied upon a palpable defect.

         Further, with respect to the City of River Rouge, Blue's 42 U.S.C. § 1983 claim against the City required an allegation that his injury was caused by an unconstitutional policy or custom of the municipality. See Monell v. Dep't of Soc. Servs., 436 U.S. 658 (1978) (holding that a municipality can be held liable under § 1983 when the government's policy or custom inflicts injury, but not under a respondeat superior theory). The magistrate judge, in recommending dismissal of the City, found that Blue “failed to identify any unconstitutional policy, custom, or practice that has been implemented, followed, or enforced by Defendant City of River Rouge that caused his injury.” 2/7/2017 Report & Recommendation at 11 (Dkt. 49). Blue did not object to the dismissal of the City of River Rouge. See 3/28/2017 Order at 11-12 ...

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