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The Arc of California v. Toby Doublas

UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT EASTERN DISTRICT OF CALIFORNIA


October 3, 2012

THE ARC OF CALIFORNIA; UNITED CEREBRAL PALSY ASSOCIATION OF SAN DIEGO,
PLAINTIFFS,
v.
TOBY DOUBLAS, IN HIS OFFICIAL CAPACITY AS DIRECTOR OF THE CALIFORNIA DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH CARE SERVICES; CALIFORNIA DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH CARE SERVICE; TERRI DELGADILLO, IN HER OFFICIAL CAPACITY AS DIRECTOR OF THE CALIFORNIA DEPARTMENT OF DEVELOPMENTAL SERVICES; AND DOES 1-100, INCLUSIVE, DEFENDANTS.

The opinion of the court was delivered by: Morrison C. England, Jr. United States District Judge

ORDER

By Order filed December 15, 2011, this Court stayed the instant proceedings given an impending decision from the United States Supreme Court.

Defendants argued the decision in that case would determine whether Plaintiffs had standing to pursue this lawsuit, which seeks to enjoin and prohibit the implementation of several payment reductions to providers of services for persons with developmental disabilities in California.

In addition to the expected Supreme Court decision, Defendants further argued that the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid ("CMS") were expected to finalize new regulations, literally within a matter of weeks, that could substantially resolve many of the issues presented by this litigation.

On August 22, 2012, at the request of Plaintiffs, this Court lifted the stay on grounds 1) that the Supreme Court's anticipated decision in Douglas v. Independent Living Center of Southern California, 132 S. Ct. 1204 (2012), issued on February 22, 2012 did not provide the expected guidance with respect to this litigation; and 2) that new CMS regulations, which had initially been expected in December of 2011, had still not been promulgated. The Court's order authorized Plaintiffs to take up to three depositions of Defendants' personnel, for purposes of the previously requested preliminary injunctive relief, within 45 days.

On August 27, 2012, Defendants filed a request for reconsideration of the Court's August 22, 2012 lifting the previously imposed stay. Defendants chiefly contend that CMS, in fact, approved the Home Community and Home Based Services ("HCBS") waiver program on March 26, 2012. /// ///

That alleged waiver, however, occurred well before the stay was lifted, and Defendants have already posited the argument that such approval was tantamount to actual approval of the challenged cuts. See ECF No. 40, 4:2-16. Nevertheless, Defendants contend that said waiver amounts to "changed circumstances" making Douglas directly applicable to this matter in a way it was not beforehand. Defendants urge the Court to reconsider their ruling accordingly.

Plaintiffs, on the other hand, argue that despite approval of the waiver program, Defendants have still not submitted a State Plan amendment concerning the challenged cuts, and that, accordingly, there has been no approval of any such amendment that would bear directly on the applicability of Douglas. That argument was made previously and was noted in the Court's previous August 22, 2012 Order. (ECF No. 48, 3-4).

A court should not revisit its own decisions unless extraordinary circumstances show that its prior decision was wrong. Christianson v. Colt Indus. Operating Corp., 486 U.S. 800, 816, 108 S. Ct. 2166 (1988). Reconsideration may be appropriate if the district court 1) is presented with newly discovered evidence; 2) has committed clear error or issued an initial decision that was manifestly unjust; or 3) is presented with an intervening change in controlling law. See Turner v. Burlington N. Santa Fe R.R. Co., 338 F.3d 1058, 1063 (9th Cir. 2003); School Dist. No. 1J, Multnomah County v. ACandS, Inc., 5 F.3d 1255, 1263 (9th Cir. 1993)(citations and quotations omitted).

Local Rule 230(j) similarly requires a party seeking reconsideration to demonstrate "what new or different facts or circumstances are claimed to exist which did not exist or were not shown upon such prior motion, or what other grounds exist for the motion," and "why the facts or circumstances were not shown at the time of the prior motion."

"Motions for reconsideration serve a limited function: to correct manifest errors of law or fact or to present newly discovered evidence." Ayala v. KC Envtl. Health, 426 F. Supp. 2d 1070, 1098 (E.D. Cal. 2006) (emphasis in original) (internal citations omitted). Mere dissatisfaction with the court's order, or belief that the court is wrong in its decision, are accordingly not sufficient. Reconsideration requests are addressed to the sound discretion of the district court. Turner v. Burlington N. Santa Fe R.R., supra, 338 F.3d at 1063.

Here Defendants have failed to demonstrate that this matter comes within the very limited scenarios under which reconsideration may be indicated. State Plan amendment of the challenged cuts has still not occurred, and accordingly the present application is little more than a rehash of the same arguments the Court has already addressed. Moreover, as indicated above, Defendants already argued in opposition to Plaintiffs' original request to lift the stay the very same argument that underscores their renewed request that the Court revisit the issue by way of reconsideration. /// ///

Reconsideration is not appropriate under the circumstances, and Defendants' Motion for Reconsideration (ECF No. 49) is DENIED.*fn1

In addition to moving for reconsideration, Defendants also, on September 27, 2012, filed an "Emergency" Ex Parte Application for yet another stay, this time with respect to any discovery occurring before the Court's ruling on Defendants' Renewed Motion to Dismiss, which currently is set to be heard on November 1, 2012. As already indicated above, the Court authorized, in its August 22, 2012 Order, limited discovery at the time it lifted the previously imposed stay. Defendants nonetheless contend that said court-authorized discovery should be held in abeyance pending the motion to dismiss.

The discovery at issue was ordered by the Court on August 22, 2012, and is limited in scope, having been requested by Plaintiffs in connection with their potential renewal of a motion for preliminary injunction. The discovery was ordered to take place within 45 days of the Court's order, which means that the depositions now scheduled for October 3, 4 and 5 were scheduled at the very end of that period. Defendants nonetheless did not take any action to halt the scheduled discovery for well over a month and less than a week before the depositions were scheduled to commence. ///

In addition, according to Plaintiffs' September 28, 2012 opposition to the "emergency" ex parte application, substantial agreement has already been reached as to the parameters of the scheduled depositions. Significantly, Plaintiffs have filed no reply challenging those assertions.

Under these circumstances the Court declines to stay the scheduled depositions, and Defendant's Emergency Ex Parte Application (ECF No. 55) is also DENIED.

IT IS SO ORDERED.


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