United States District Court, W.D. Kentucky, Paducah Division
MEMORANDUM OPINION & ORDER
N. Stivers, Judge United States District Court
matter is before the Court on Plaintiffs' Motion to Alter
or Amend the Court's Memorandum Opinion and Order (DN 36)
and Plaintiffs' Motion for Leave to File a Second Amended
Complaint (DN 37). For the reasons set forth below, both
motions are DENIED.
pending motions arise in the context of a personal injury
suit initiated by Plaintiffs Deana Burkeen
(“Deana”) and Timothy Burkeen
(“Timothy”) against Defendant General Motors, LLC
(“GM”). According to Plaintiffs, Deana lost
control of Timothy's GMC pickup truck and collided with
an oncoming vehicle, causing her to hit her head on a
“D-ring” protruding from the cab of the truck.
(Am. Compl. ¶ 11, DN 18). Thereafter, Deana filed an
Amended Complaint, seeking relief against GM on claims for
negligence and strict products liability. (Am. Compl.
¶¶ 22-32). On July 26, 2017, this Court issued a
Memorandum Opinion and Order (DN 35) (“the
Order”) dismissing all counts against GM with prejudice
on the ground that those counts failed stated a claim for
relief. (Mem. Op. & Order. 6-10).
three issues are pending before this Court. The first two
issues-both of which are presented in motions filed by
Plaintiffs-are whether the Court should: (1) vacate, alter,
or amend the Order to prevent manifest injustice pursuant to
Fed.R.Civ.P. 59(e); and (2) grant Plaintiffs leave to amend
their Amended Complaint. (Mem. Supp. Pls.' Mot. Alter
Mem. Order & Op. 2-9, DN 36-1 [hereinafter Pls.' Mem.
Alter]; Mem. Supp. Pls.' Mot. Leave File Second Am.
Compl. 2-5, DN 37-1 [hereinafter Pls.' Mem. Leave). The
third issue is whether the Court should certify the Order as
a final and appealable pursuant to Fed.R.Civ.P. 54(b).
Court has subject matter jurisdiction over this action under
28 U.S.C. § 1332 as there is complete diversity between
the parties and the amount in controversy exceeds $75,
Sixth Circuit and sister courts have explained that,
“after [the court has entered] a judgment
against the plaintiff, ” the plaintiff must satisfy the
“requirements for reopening a case established by
Rule 59” before the court has the power to
grant the plaintiff leave to amend her complaint. Leisure
Caviar, LLC v. U.S. Fish & Wildlife Serv., 616 F.3d
612, 615-16 (6th Cir. 2010). (emphasis in original)
(citations omitted); Morse v. McWhorter, 290 F.3d
795, 799 (6th Cir. 2002) (“Following entry of final
judgment, a party may not seek to amend their complaint
without first moving to alter, set aside or vacate . . .
.” (citation omitted)); MAKS Inc. Gen. Trading
& Contracting Co. v. Sterling Operations, Inc., No.
3:10-CV-443, 2013 WL 4053162, at *4, 13 (E.D. Tenn. Aug. 12,
2013) (courts do not have power to grant the plaintiff leave
to amend unless court finds the plaintiff is entitled to
relief under Rule 59(e)). Thus, the Court must examine
Plaintiffs' Rule 59(e) motion before reviewing their
request for leave to amend.
Relief Rule 59(e)
obtain relief pursuant to Rule 59(e), the moving party must
demonstrate that a final judgment should be altered or
amended due to: “(1) a clear error of law; (2) newly
discovered evidence; (3) an intervening change in controlling
law; or (4) a need to prevent manifest injustice.”
Intera Corp. v. Henderson, 428 F.3d 605, 620 (6th
Cir. 2005) (citation omitted). Motions brought under Rule
59(e) seek “an extraordinary remedy and should be
granted sparingly because of the interest in finality and
conservation of scarce judicial resources.”
Vanguard Transp. Sys., Inc. v. Volvo Trucks N. Am.,
Inc., No. 2:04CV889, 2006 WL 3097189, at *2 (S.D. Ohio
Oct. 30, 2006) (internal quotation marks omitted) (citation
omitted). Plaintiffs maintain that the Court must vacate or
amend the Order to prevent a manifest injustice because: (1)
the Amended Complaint contains facts sufficient to state
claims against GM, and (2) dismissing a complaint with
prejudice is improper. (Pls.' Mem. Alter 3-9). Having
considered these arguments, the Court finds that neither
reason is persuasive.
first argument-relief from the Order is warranted because the
Amended Complaint sufficiently pled claims against GM-is
meritless. Plaintiffs have already raised this argument, and
Rule 59(e) is not a vehicle for recycling old arguments.
See U.S. ex rel. Am. Textile Mfrs. Inst., Inc. v. The
Ltd., Inc., 179 F.R.D. 541, 547 n.9 (S.D. Ohio 1998)
(“If the movant simply regurgitates arguments
previously presented or presents arguments which originally
could have been argued, then the movant's proper recourse
is an appeal to the circuit court.” (citation
omitted)); In re Betts, 157 B.R. 631, 634 (Bankr.
N.D.Ill. 1993) (disagreement about the court's findings
does not constitute a manifest injustice).
second argument-the Court erred when it dismissed
Plaintiffs' claims against GM with prejudice rather than
granting Plaintiffs leave to amend their Amended Complaint
suasponte, and because of this error the
Court must now amend the order such that it dismisses
Plaintiffs' claims against GM without
prejudice-is equally unpersuasive. (Pls.' Mem. Alter
5-9). Contrary to Plaintiffs contentions, the Sixth Circuit
has never held that district courts must grant ...