United States District Court, N.D. California, San Jose Division
IN RE MICHAEL IOANE, et al., Movants.
SANTA CLARA COUNTY SHERIFF, LAURIE SMITH, Defendant. MICHAEL AND SHELLEY IOANE, et al., Plaintiffs,
ORDER DENYING MOTION FOR “NEW
TRIAL/RECONSIDERATION” RE: DKT. NO. 4
J. DAVILA United States District Judge.
2000, Michael Ioane and Shelly Ioane, also known as Shelly
Olson (collectively, “Movants”), were found to be
vexatious litigants and since then have been subject to
identical prefiling orders that preclude them from filing
“any lawsuits unless a judge of this district expressly
grants permission to do so.” Dkt. No. 171, Case No.
5:99-cv-21119-SW. On February 17, 2016, Movants sought to
dissolve the prefiling orders through a motion pursuant to
Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 60(b)(5). Dkt. No. 1. The
motion was referred to the undersigned for general duty
review, and was denied. Dkt. No. 3.
before the court is a “motion for new
trial/reconsideration, ” which was filed by Movants
pursuant to Federal Rule Civil Procedure 59(e). Dkt. No. 4.
The court has carefully reviewed this motion in conjunction
with its prior ruling, and finds that it presents no viable
basis for relief. Accordingly, the motion will be denied for
the reasons that follow.
general, there are four basic grounds upon which a Rule 59(e)
motion may be granted: (1) if such motion is necessary to
correct manifest errors of law or fact upon which the
judgment rests; (2) if such motion is necessary to present
newly discovered or previously unavailable evidence; (3) if
such motion is necessary to prevent manifest injustice; or
(4) if the amendment is justified by an intervening change in
controlling law.” Allstate Ins. Co. v. Herron,
634 F.3d 1101, 1111 (9th Cir. 2011).
under Rule 59(e) is “extraordinary” and
“should be used sparingly.” McDowell v.
Calderon, 197 F.3d 1253, 1255 n.1 (9th Cir. 1999);
Weeks v. Bayer, 246 F.3d 1231, 1236 (9th Cir. 2001)
(explaining that a party must overcome a “high
hurdle” to obtain relief under Rule 59(e) since only
“highly unusual circumstances” will justify its
argue they are entitled to relief under Rule 59(e) because
(1) attorneys in two different civil cases have raised their
vexatious litigant designation, both before and after their
motion to dissolve the prefiling orders was filed, and (2)
the court committed “clear error” when it
determined that Movants could not challenge the scope of the
prefiling orders under Rule 60(b)(5). These arguments are
begin, though Movants argue otherwise, the court is not
persuaded that the documents submitted along with this motion
qualify as “newly discovered evidence” or
“previously unavailable evidence.” This is
because “the assessment of newness turns on the date of
the court’s dispositive order, not on the date when the
motions or briefs are filed.” Hecker v. Deere &
Co., 556 F.3d 575, 590 (7th Cir. 2009). Moreover, the
court observes that while “Rule 59(e) permits a court
to alter or amend a judgment, ” it “‘may
not be used to relitigate old matters, or to raise arguments
or present evidence that could have been raised prior to the
entry of judgment.’” Exxon Shipping Co. v.
Baker, 554 U.S. 471, 486 n. 5 (2008).
the transcripts and orders that Movants have now produced
each predate this court’s order denying the Rule
60(b)(5) motion, and Plaintiffs did not convincingly explain
why the documents could not have been produced earlier.
Movants do not, for example, claim they were previously
unaware of the hearings that occurred in state court on
January 6th and January 15, 2016, or of the orders that
ensued, at the time they filed the motion to dissolve on
February 17, 2016. See Sch. Dist. No. 1J v. AC&S,
Inc., 5 F.3d 1255, 1263 (9th Cir. 1993) (“The
overwhelming weight of authority is that the failure to file
documents in an original motion or opposition does not turn
the late filed documents into ‘newly discovered
Movants provide no reason why they did not previously submit
to this court the amended pretrial statement filed in the
Eastern District of California on May 3, 2016, if they
believed such document was pivotal to their argument. They
certainly could have, given the order on their Rule 60(b)(5)
motion was filed over a month later. Hecker, 556
F.3d at 590 (affirming denial of Rule 59(e) motion based on
newly discovered evidence because “if this evidence was
so important to their case, plaintiffs should have alerted
the district court to their discovery and asked for some
appropriate way to bring it to the court’s attention,
” and stating “[t]here was no reason to sit on
potentially relevant evidence and allow the court to go
forward with its decision”). In any event, even if the
court were to consider the content of the pretrial statement,
it would not find that the document itself actually supports
the contention originally made by Movants: that the prefiling
orders have become “substantially more onerous”
because they have “undue influence on the thinking of
others in the legal system once it is introduced into
evidence.” If anything, the statement only signifies
the defendants’ intention to move in limine for leave
to admit the prefiling orders at trial. It does not establish
that that those orders have been admitted into evidence, or
that they persuaded the district judge or a jury to take any
particular action against Movants.
Movants have not met their burden to show that a
“manifest error” of law was made in the order
addressing their Rule 60(b)(5) motion. Relying on SEC v.
Coldicutt, 258 F.3d 939, 942 (9th Cir. 2001), the court
determined that Movants’ argument concerning the scope
of the prefiling orders did not “demonstrate that the
orders have become substantially more onerous or unworkable,
or are detrimental to the public interest, ” and found
that Movants failed to show that compliance with the
prefiling review requirement had become “legally
impermissible.” The court also noted that the framing
of the particular challenge was “better suited to a
direct appeal from the prefiling orders, ” rather than
a motion under Rule 60(b)(5). This analysis does not embody a
“‘wholesale disregard [of], misapplication [of],
or failure to recognize controlling precedent, ’”
since, under these circumstances, the controlling precedent
is that governing the application of Rule 60(b)(5).
Benham v. Sequoia Equities, Inc., No. CV 13-00205,
2013 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 108015, at *6, 2013 WL 3872185 (CD.
Cal. May 29, 2013) (quoting Ahmed v. Ashcroft 388
F.3d 247, 249 (7th Cir. 2004)). Unlike the plaintiff in
DeLong v. Hennessey, 912 F.2d 1144 (9th Cir. 1990) -
a case Movants relied on before and do so again here -
Movants did not appeal from the vexatious litigant
designations or the prefiling orders when they were issued,
and this court is not sitting as a court of review with
respect to those findings or orders. See Horne v.
Flores, 557 U.S. 433, 447 (2009) (“Rule 60(b)(5)
may not be used to challenge the legal conclusions on which a
prior judgment or order rests . . . .”). As such, the
court confined the analysis to the precise legal issue
presented by the motion that Movants submitted.
Movants have not presented a basis for the extraordinary
relief they seek. For that reason, their ...