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Arthur v. Hepler

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

November 14, 2019

DWANN ARTHUR, as Personal Representative of the Estate of WARREN ANDERSON, Deceased Plaintiff,
v.
CORRECTIONS OFFICERS NATHAN HEPLER, CHARLES HAMILTON, DEREK WRIGHT, HEROLD LEVY, SCOTT ANDREWS and JACOB JOSEPH, Defendants.

          ORDER GRANTING PLAINTIFF'S MOTION FOR RECONSIDERATION [ECF No. 17]

          VICTORIA A. ROBERTS UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE

         I. INTRODUCTION

         Plaintiff Dwann Arthur (“Plaintiff”) is personal representative of the estate of Warren Anderson, deceased (“Anderson”). Defendants are Michigan Department of Corrections officers Nathan Hepler, Hamilton, Wright, Levy, Andrews and Joseph (collectively, “Defendants”). Plaintiff brings a deliberate indifference claim pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983, and a related state law claim for gross negligence, on behalf of Anderson.

         On October 11, 2019, the Court entered an order partially granting and partially denying Defendants' motion to dismiss. The Court held that Plaintiff's gross negligence claims could not proceed.

         The order sets out the relevant facts and arguments; the Court does not repeat them here.

         Plaintiff moves for reconsideration of the Court's order to dismiss his gross negligence claim. Plaintiff says the Court made two palpable errors: (1) the Court stated that Defendants do not assert governmental immunity, and (2) the Court misread the holding of Brent v. Wayne County Department of Human Services, 901 F.3d 656, 701 (6th Cir. 2018), which held gross negligence claims only require a common-law basis and not necessarily an independent statutory basis.

         Plaintiff claims that correcting these errors will lead to a different outcome for his gross negligence claim. The Court agrees.

         The Court GRANTS Plaintiff's motion for reconsideration.

         II. LEGAL STANDARD

         Local Rule 7.1(h) allows a party to file a motion for reconsideration. The movant must not only demonstrate a palpable defect by which the court and the parties have been misled but must also show that a different disposition of the case must result from correction of the error. A palpable defect is a defect that is obvious, clear, unmistakable, manifest, or plain. Witzke v. Hiller, 972 F.Supp. 426, 427 (E.D. Mich. 1997).

         A motion for reconsideration which presents the same issues already ruled upon by the court, either expressly or by reasonable implication, will not be granted. Ford Motor Co. v. Greatdomains.com, Inc., 177 F.Supp.2d 628, 632 (E.D. Mich. 2001).

         III. DISCUSSION

         Plaintiff alleges two distinct errors that he says the Court committed: (1) its statement that Defendants do not assert governmental immunity and (2) misinterpreting precedent. Plaintiff is correct. Correction of the first error results in a different outcome.

         Defendants do assert governmental immunity in their Answer. [ECF No. 9, PageID.47] Such a defense is grounded in the Governmental Tort Liability Act (“GTLA”). Mich. Comp. Law § 691.1407(2)(c). The GTLA provides certain government officials immunity from tort liability if their conduct does not amount to gross ...


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