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Hupp v. San Diego County

United States District Court, S.D. California

June 24, 2014

PAUL HUPP, Plaintiff,


RUBEN B. BROOKS, Magistrate Judge.

Plaintiff Paul Hupp, proceeding pro se, brought this action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 on February 28, 2012. (Compl. 1, ECF No. 1.) The parties are familiar with the facts of the case, and the Court describes the allegations in broad strokes.[1] Hupp's action arises from his contempt of court charges and conviction in San Diego Superior Court in 2011. (See Third Am. Compl. 4-5, 7-8, ECF No. 64.) On May 6, 2014, the Court held a settlement conference in this case and issued an Order to Show Cause for Plaintiff's failure to appear [ECF No. 256]. On May 19, 2014, Plaintiff filed his response to the Court's Order to Show Cause [ECF No. 258]. Pending before the Court is Plaintiff's Ex Parte Motion for Reconsideration of the Court's June 3, 2014 discovery Order [ECF No. 261]. For the following reasons, the Court DENIES Plaintiff's Motion for Reconsideration. The Order to Show Cause issued for Plaintiff's failure to participate in the settlement conference is discharged.


A. Plaintiff's Motion for Reconsideration

On June 9, 2014, the Court received a document titled "Rep[l]y to Magistrate Brooks June 3, 2014 Order' Denying Plaintiff's Motion to Compel Discovery From San Diego County, James Patrick Romo and Peter Myers [ECF 154] and Request for Reconsideration" [ECF No. 261]. The Court treats this request as Plaintiff's Motion for Reconsideration of the Court's discovery ruling.

Motions for reconsideration are generally treated as motions to alter or amend the judgment under Federal Rules of Civil Procedure 59(e). See In re Agric. Research & Tech. Grp., Inc. , 916 F.2d 528, 542 (9th Cir. 1990); MGIC Indem. Corp. v. Weisman , 803 F.2d 500, 505 (9th Cir. 1986). Generally, there are four basic grounds for a Rule 59(e) motion: 1) the movant may demonstrate that the motion is necessary to correct manifest errors of law or fact upon which the judgment is based; 2) the motion may be granted so that the moving party may present newly discovered or previously unavailable evidence; 3) the motion will be granted if necessary to prevent manifest injustice, such as serious misconduct by counsel; and 4) a motion may be justified by an intervening change in controlling law. 11 Charles Alan Wright & Arthur R. Miller, Federal Practice & Procedure § 2810.1 (3d ed. 1998) (citations omitted).

Alternatively, a court can construe a motion to reconsider as a motion for relief from a judgment or order under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 60. Under Rule 60, a party can obtain relief from a court order for the following reasons: (1) mistake, inadvertence, surprise, or excusable neglect; (2) newly discovered evidence which by due diligence could not have been discovered in time to move for a new trial under Rule 59(b); (3) fraud; (4) the judgment is void; (5) the judgment has been satisfied; (6) any other reason justifying relief from the operation of the judgment. Fed.R.Civ.P. 60(b).

Motions to reconsider are appropriate only in rare circumstances to correct manifest errors of law or fact or to present newly discovered evidence. See School Dist. No. 1J, Multnomah Cnty., Oregon v. AcandS Inc. , 5 F.3d 1255, 1263 (9th Cir. 1993). A motion for reconsideration should not be used to ask a court "to rethink what the court had already thought through- rightly or wrongly." Above the Belt, Inc. v. Mel Bohannan Roofing, Inc. , 99 F.R.D. 99, 101 (E.D. Va. 1983). Arguments that a court was in error on the issues it considered should be directed to the court of appeals. See Refrigeration Sales Co. v. Mitchell-Jackson, Inc. , 605 F.Supp. 6, 7 (N.D. Ill. 1983).

The Court's local rules outline the requirements for seeking reconsideration of an order.

[I]it will be the continuing duty of each party and attorney seeking such relief to present to the judge to whom any subsequent application is made an affidavit of a party or witness or certified statement of an attorney setting forth the material facts and circumstances surrounding each prior application, including inter alia: (1) when and to what judge the application was made, (2) what ruling or decision or order was made thereon, and (3) what new or different facts and circumstances are claimed to exist which did not exist, or were not shown, upon such prior application.

S.D. Cal. Civ. R. 7.1 (i)(1). The application for reconsideration must be filed within twenty-eight days after the entry of the order sought to be reconsidered. Id . 7.1(i)(2).

Plaintiff's June 9, 2014 submission is timely; however, it fails to meet the criteria for reconsideration. See In re Agric. Research & Tech. Grp., Inc. , 916 F.2d 533, 542 (9th Cir. 1990) (reviewing denial of motion for reconsideration for abuse of discretion and stating that "reconsideration may properly be denied where the motion fails to state new law or facts"). Additionally, it was filed on an ex parte basis and not in compliance with the Local Rule 7.1(b), despite the fact that the pro se Plaintiff had previously obtained hearing dates for prior motions from this Court.

Hupp's chief complaint appears to be not the denial of his discovery motion, but the grant of substantive motions in favor of Defendants before the completion of discovery.[2] (Pl.'s Mot. Recons. 2-3, ECF No. 261.) The fact that discovery is still open does not preclude a district court from resolving a summary judgment motion when the record is adequate. See, e.g., Dulany v. Carnahan , 132 F.3d 1234, 1238-39 (8th Cir. 1997); Fla. Power & Light Co. v. Allis Chalmers Corp. , 893 F.2d 1313, 1316 (11th Cir. 1990) ("[I]t would be inappropriate to limit summary judgment to cases where discovery is complete in light of the valuable role served by summary judgment and the commitment of discovery issues to the sound discretion of the trial judge.") (citation and internal quotation marks omitted).

Plaintiff's Motion to Compel Discovery on San Diego County, James Patrick Romo and Peter Myers [ECF No. 154] was accompanied by numerous exhibits and totaled 113 pages. Hupp propounded fourteen[3] interrogatories, six requests for production, and six requests for admission on Defendant Romo. (Pl.'s Mot. Compel Mem. P. & A. Exs. 1a, 1b, & 1c, at 15-35, ECF No. 154.) He also served six requests for production on Myers, and six requests for production on the County. (Id. Exs. 1d, 1e, at 36-48.) Defendants' objections to these requests were largely based on relevance; in the Motion to Compel, Hupp asserted his need for discovery but ...

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