United States District Court, E.D. Michigan, Northern Division
ORDER DENYING PLAINTIFFS' MOTION FOR RELIEF UNDER
Honorable Thomas L. Ludington, Judge
2, 2017, Defendants Greenwood Township, James Hervilla, Fred
Lindsey, Larry Mathias, and Thomas McCauley (as Greenwood
Township Trustee) filed a motion for attorney fees and costs.
ECF No. 112. On May 11, 2017, Defendants Linda Argue, Thomas
McCauley, and Moon Lake Property Owner's association
filed a motion for attorney fees and costs. ECF No. 117. On
May 16, 2017, Plaintiffs filed a motion for attorney fees and
costs. ECF No. 124. The matters were referred to Magistrate
Judge Patricia T. Morris. ECF No. 113, 118, 126.
26, 2017, Judge Morris issued a report recommending that
Defendants' motions for attorney fees and costs, ECF Nos.
112 and 117, be granted, and that Plaintiffs and
Plaintiffs' counsel be held jointly and severally liable
for the payment of (a) $102, 174.80 to Defendants Greenwood
Township, Fred Lindsey, Thomas McCauley as Greenwood Township
Trustee, Jim Havrilla, and Larry Mathias, and (b) $111,
491.07 to Defendants Linda Argue, Thomas McCauley, and Moon
Lake Property Owners' Association. ECF No. 142. Judge
Morris's report also recommended that Plaintiffs'
motion for attorney fees and costs be denied. Id.
filed timely objections to the report and recommendation. ECF
No. 143. On November 13, 2017, the Court entered an order
overruling Plaintiffs' objections, adopting the report
and recommendation, granting Defendants' motions for
attorney fees and costs, and denying Plaintiffs' motion
for attorney fees and costs. ECF No. 150. On December 12,
2017, Plaintiffs filed a motion for new hearing and amended
judgment under rule 59, challenging the order granting
attorney fees and costs. ECF No. 152.
request for a new trial under rule 59(a) will be denied as a
trial never took place. Plaintiffs' request to alter or
amend the judgment under rule 59(e) will also be denied. To
prevail on a rule 59(e) motion, the moving party must
demonstrate “(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.”
Betts v. Costco Wholesale Corp., 558 F.3d 461, 474
(6th Cir. 2009). Plaintiffs have not done so. Plaintiffs
contend they are entitled to relief for three reasons.
Plaintiffs assert they were denied a “meaningful
opportunity to be heard at a meaningful time” because
they were not afforded an opportunity for oral argument. Mot.
at 1, ECF No. 152. Plaintiffs were afforded a meaningful
opportunity to be heard in their briefing on the motions for
attorney fees and their objections to Judge Morris's
report and recommendation.
78(b) authorizes motions to be decided on the briefs, and
Plaintiffs furnish no legal authority to the contrary.
Fed.R.Civ.P. 78(b). Nor is oral argument necessary to prevent
a manifest injustice, as Plaintiffs have not identified any
factual or legal issues to be explored at oral argument.
this argument was already rejected in the order granting
Defendants' motion for attorney fees. Order at 2, ECF No.
150. Plaintiffs may not use rule 59(e) to re-assert arguments
previously rejected by the Court. See Anderson v.
Catholic Bishop of Chicago, 759 F.3d 645, 653
(7th Cir. 2014); Exxon Shipping Co. v.
Baker, 554 U.S. 471, 485 (2008).
Plaintiffs assert they were “denied necessary
discovery.” Mot. at 2. This assertion does not
establish their entitlement to relief under rule 59(e).
Plaintiffs do not identify any discovery they were denied.
Nor do Plaintiffs explain how a discovery dispute undermines
the validity of the fee award or excuses Plaintiffs'
conduct throughout the litigation.
Plaintiffs assert that the attorney fee award represents a
“grossly excessive fine.” Id. at 3.
Plaintiffs quote from a series of cases to support the notion
that the punishment ought to be proportional to the wrong,
including cases overturning punitive damage awards. Here, the
“punishment” is directly proportional to the
wrong. Plaintiffs' improper conduct is explained in
detail in Judge Morris's report and the Court's
order. ECF Nos. 142, 150. Defendants' incurred fees as a
result of that conduct, and Plaintiffs were ordered ...