United States District Court, E.D. Michigan, Southern Division
ROBERT P. THOMAS, Plaintiff,
LORI A. BRIGGS, et al., Defendants.
OPINION AND ORDER DENYING PLAINTIFF'S MOTION FOR
RECONSIDERATION OF THE COURT'S OPINION AND ORDER DENYING
PLAINTIFF'S 12(c) MOTION FOR JUDGMENT ON THE PLEADINGS
[ECF NO. 43]
V. PARKER, U.S. DISTRICT JUDGE
Robert P. Thomas (“Plaintiff”) filed this lawsuit
against Defendants Lori A. Briggs (“Defendant
Briggs”) and Melissa Borden (“Defendant
Borden”) (collectively “Defendants”)
stemming from the alleged unlawful seizure and possession of
Plaintiff's two dogs. (ECF No. 1 ¶¶ 3, 4.)
Plaintiff filed his complaint on January 20, 2015, alleging
Defendants violated his civil rights under the Fourth and
Fourteenth Amendments pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 and
state law claims for conversion and replevin. (Id.)
Opinion and Order entered on January 19, 2018, this Court
denied Plaintiff's Rule 12(c) motion for judgment on the
pleadings. (ECF No. 40.) In that decision, the Court found
that for purposes of a Rule 12(c) motion, Defendants had
sufficiently denied Plaintiff's allegation that they were
acting under the color of state law when they seized the two
dogs. Presently before the Court is Plaintiff's Motion
for Reconsideration, filed on February 7, 2018. (ECF No. 43.)
With the Court's permission, Defendants filed a response
on February 22, 2018, and Plaintiff filed a reply on March
30, 2018. (ECF Nos. 48 & 54.)
Rule 7.1 provides the following standard for motions for
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.
E.D. Mich. LR 7.1(h)(3). Palpable defects are those which are
“obvious, clear, unmistakable, manifest or
plain.” Mich. Dep't of Treasury v.
Michalec, 181 F.Supp.2d 731, 734 (E.D. Mich. 2002).
“It is an exception to the norm for the Court to grant
a motion for reconsideration.” Maiberger v. City of
Livonia, 724 F.Supp.2d 759, 780 (E.D. Mich. 2010).
motion for reconsideration is not properly used as a vehicle
to re-hash old arguments or to advance positions that could
have been argued earlier but were not.” Smith ex
rel. Smith v. Mount Pleasant Pub. Sch., 298 F.Supp.2d
636, 637 (E.D. Mich. 2003) (citing Sault Ste. Marie Tribe
of Chippewa Indians v. Engler, 146 F.3d 367, 374 (6th
Cir.1998)). “A motion for reconsideration
‘addresses only factual and legal matters that the
court may have overlooked. . . .' It is improper on a
motion for reconsideration to ‘ask the court to rethink
what [it] had already thought through-rightly or
wrongly.'” Carter v. Robinson, 211 F.R.D.
549, 550 (E.D. Mich. 2003) (quoting Above the Belt, Inc.
v. Mel Bohannan Roofing, Inc., 99 F.R.D. 99, 101 (E.D.
Va 1983). Therefore, a motion that merely presents the same
issues already ruled upon by the Court shall not be granted.
See Smith ex rel. Smith, 298 F.Supp.2d at 637.
argues that the Court committed three errors when deciding
his motion. First, Plaintiff contends the Court applied the
incorrect standard for deciding a Rule 12(c) motion. Next,
Plaintiff argues that the Court failed to recognize §
1983 jurisprudence and decide whether Defendants were acting
under the color of state law. Finally, Plaintiff contends
that the Court failed to both analyze whether Defendant
Briggs was a “state actor” and to apply the
Plaintiff's first argument, the Court finds the argument
meritless. The Court cited to Twombly in its
decision, stating “a pleading need not contain
‘detailed factual allegations, ' but it must
contain more than ‘labels and conclusions' or
‘a formulaic recitation of the elements of a cause of
action . . . .” (ECF No. 40 at Pg ID 554.) Although
Plaintiff would have preferred the Court to state
specifically “the court need not accept as true legal
conclusions or unwarranted factual inferences, ” the
Court's standard sufficiently captured Plaintiff's
statement as well as the Twombly standard.
Plaintiff argues that the Court should have determined
whether Defendants were acting under the color of state law.
Although the Court agrees with Plaintiff's reference to
Neuens v. City of Columbus, 303 F.3d 667, 670 (6th
Cir. 2002), that case is inapplicable here. Neuens
dealt with a motion for summary judgment, which is a
completely different standard for a Rule 12(c) motion. As the
Court stated in its January 19, 2018 Opinion and Order, a
Rule 12(c) motion is subject to the same standard as a Rule
12(b)(6) motion, which looks at the legal
sufficiency of the pleading. See, e.g.,
Loggins v. Franklin County, No. 02-cv-964, 2005 U.S.
Dist. LEXIS 35657, at *29-30 (July 20, 2005) (“When
previously addressing the Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(c) motion, the
Court had to accept Loggins' factual allegations as true.
This included the representation that there was a policy or
custom involved in this case. . . In the summary judgment
context, however, the Court need not and can not accept the
existence of an underlying policy or custom based on an
unsupported allegation, but must require evidence to support
such a contention.”), aff'd, 2007 U.S.
App. LEXIS 5614 (6th Cir.); Reardon v. Midland Cmty.
Schs, 814 F.Supp.2d 754, 759 (E.D. Mich. Sept. 2, 2011)
(“Under Rule 56(a), the Court is obligated to construe
facts in the Plaintiff's favor only if there is a genuine
dispute as to what occurred, and there is no obligation to
assume the well-pleaded allegations in Plaintiff's
complaint are true.”).
importantly, even if the Court were to find that Defendants
were acting under the color of state law, there is no
evidence before the Court that establishes, as a matter of
law, that Plaintiff is the legal owner of the dogs. Because
the Court was not required to determine whether Defendants
were acting under the color of state law under a Rule 12(c)
motion, the Court will not address Plaintiff's third
basis for error, which addresses the analysis for a state
short, Plaintiff fails to demonstrate a palpable defect in
this January 19, 2018 decision, the correction of which
results in a ...