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Proctor v. Geico General Insurance Co. Inc.

United States District Court, E.D. Kentucky, Central Division, Lexington

March 12, 2019

LAWRENCE PROCTOR, Plaintiff,
v.
GEICO GENERAL INSURANCE COMPANY, Defendant.

          MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER

          JOSEPH M. HOOD SENIOR U.S. DISTRICT JUDGE.

         Plaintiff Lawrence Proctor's former attorney filed a motion to alter or amend the Court's previous order and judgment granting summary judgment in favor of GEICO Insurance. [DE 77]. Now Proctor is proceeding pro se and has filed a motion to reopen the case in lieu of replying to the response in opposition to the motion to alter or amend. [DE 83]. Still, Proctor has not submitted any new evidence that suggests that the Court's judgment should be altered and the motion to alter judgment simply reiterates arguments that the Court has already considered. As a result, Proctor's motion to alter or amend [DE 77] and motion to reopen the case [DE 83] are DENIED.

         I. Procedural and Factual Background

         On January 2, 2019, the Court granted summary judgment for GEICO Insurance after finding that Proctor had knowingly misrepresented the purchase price of the RV relevant to this insurance dispute. It was undisputed that Proctor initially told the insurance adjuster that he had paid $16, 000 for the RV. [DE 71; DE 72].

         On January 29, 2019, the Court received a letter from Proctor, filed in the record [DE 76] stating, among other things, that he had actually paid $7, 000 for the RV and asserting that he was having a dispute with his attorney. In response, on January 30, 2019, Proctor's former attorney, Than Cutler, filed a motion to alter or amend the judgment [DE 77] and a motion to withdraw as Proctor's attorney [DE 78].

         Then, Proctor has mailed a letter to the Court with a notarized exhibit that asserted that Proctor paid $7, 000 for the RV. [DE 80]. Proctor contends that the document indicating that he only paid $5, 000 for the RV is fraudulent, stating that “the document was faked and provided to the court to sway the court in their favor.” But the RV sales documents indicating that Proctor paid $5, 000 for the RV were submitted by Proctor's former attorney as Exhibit 2 to the response in opposition to GEICO's motion for summary judgment. [DE 49-2]. Proctor's letter also indicated that he was no longer represented by counsel.

         After reviewing the letter and attachments, the Court granted Cutler's motion to withdraw as counsel. [DE 79]. The Court also urged Proctor to consult the Local Rules, especially Local Rule 7.1(c) pertaining to the time allowed to respond and reply to motions and encouraged Proctor to consult with an attorney. [Id.] The order also required that the Court's standard packet for pro se filers be sent to Proctor. [Id.].

         GEICO responded in opposition to the motion to alter or amend. [DE 82]. Then, Proctor filed a motion to reopen the case that simply requests that the case be reopened and that a jury trial be held. [DE 83]. As a result, this matter is ripe for review.

         II. Legal Standard

         Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 59(e) permits a party to file a motion to alter or amend a judgment within 28 days after the entry thereof. “A court may grant a Rule 59(e) motion to alter or amend if there is: (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).

         “A motion under Rule 59(e) does not simply provide an opportunity to reargue a case, and it must be supported either by a showing that the district court made an error of law or by newly discovered evidence.” Whitehead v. Bowen, 301 Fed.Appx. 484, 489 (6th Cir. 2008) (citing Sault Ste Marie Tribe of Chippewa Indians v. Engler, 146 F.3d 367, 374 (6th Cir. 1998); Roger Miller Music, Inc. v. Sony/ATV Publishing, LLC, 477 F.3d 383, 395 (6th Cir. 2007)). The Rule is not “a substitute for appeal.” Turner v. City of Toledo, 671 F.Supp.2d 967, 969 (N.D. Ohio 2009). “If . . . a Rule 59 motion merely quibbles with the Court's decision, the proper recourse is not a motion for reconsideration but instead an appeal to the Sixth Circuit.” Zell v. Klingelhafer, No. 13-cv-458, 2018 WL 334386, at *4 (S.D. Ohio Jan. 8, 2018).

         III. Analysis

         In the motion to alter or amend, Proctor stated, “The sole issue upon which Plaintiff urges the Court to vacate its prior order is the Court's finding that Plaintiff's misrepresentation regarding the purchase price of the RV was knowingly made.” [DE 77-1 at 1, Pg ID 1060]. Proctor asserts that his misrepresentation regarding the purchase price was not knowingly made due to memory issues and medications that affect his memory. [Id.]. But this argument was directly addressed and denied by the Court in the previous memorandum opinion and order. [DE 71 at 21-23, Pg ID 1032-34].

         To reiterate, it is undisputed that Proctor misstated the purchase price of the RV. Chris Cirillo, a Senior Field Investigator working on behalf of GEICO Insurance, asked Proctor how much money he paid for the RV, to which Proctor responded, “I don't really remember. I take a lot of medicine.” [DE 41-4 at 37, Pg ID 557]. Cirillo responded by saying, “We're going to need to find out . . . . Or you can tell me if you remember.” [Id.]. Proctor replied, “16 something. I don't know what it was. I ...


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