Krug v. Maricopa County Superior Court et al

Filing 28

ORDER AND OPINION, the Motion at 12 is denied. Signed by Judge John W Sedwick on 3/26/15.(REW)

Download PDF
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT 9 DISTRICT OF ARIZONA 10 11 Karyl Krug, 12 13 14 Plaintiff, vs. Maricopa County Superior Court, et al., 15 Defendants. 16 ) ) ) ) ) ) ) ) ) ) ) 2:14-cv-01320 JWS ORDER AND OPINION [Re: Motion at Docket 12] 17 I. MOTION PRESENTED 18 At docket 12 plaintiff Karyl Krug (“Krug”) proceeding in propria persona filed a 19 motion for reconsideration pursuant to Local Rule 7.2(g). In substance, Krug’s motion 20 requests reconsideration or relief from the judgment entered against her at docket 9. If 21 a motion for reconsideration is filed within 10 days of entry of judgment, as Krug’s 22 motion was, it is treated as a motion to alter or amend judgment under Federal Rule of 23 Civil Procedure 59(e).1 Defendants Maricopa County Superior Court, et al. (collectively, 24 “defendants”) filed an opposition at docket 27. Oral argument was not requested but 25 would not assist the court. 26 27 28 1 Am. Ironworks & Erectors, Inc. v. N. Am. Const. Corp., 248 F.3d 892, 898-99 (9th Cir. 2001); Teamsters Local 617 Pension & Welfare Funds v. Apollo Grp., Inc., 282 F.R.D. 216, 220 (D. Ariz. 2012) (holding that Local Rule 7.2(g) applies to challenges to orders, not judgments). 1 2 II. BACKGROUND The background giving rise to this lawsuit is set out in detail in the court’s earlier 3 order at docket 7 and need not be repeated here. In that order the court g ranted 4 defendants’ motion to dismiss Krug’s complaint for failure to state a claim. Thereafter, 5 judgment was entered that Krug take nothing. 6 7 III. STANDARD OF REVIEW “[R]econsideration of a judgment after its entry is an extraordinary remedy which 8 should be used sparingly.”2 District courts enjoy considerable discretion in granting or 9 denying a motion to reconsider. 3 “In general, there are four basic grounds upon which a 10 Rule 59(e) motion may be granted: (1) if such motion is necessary to correct manifest 11 errors of law or fact upon which the judgment rests; (2) if such motion is necessary to 12 present newly discovered or previously unavailable evidence; (3) if such motion is 13 necessary to prevent manifest injustice; or (4) if the amendment is justified by an 14 intervening change in controlling law.”4 A Rule 59(e) motion may not be used to raise 15 arguments or present evidence that could have been raised prior to the entry of 16 judgment.5 17 18 IV. DISCUSSION Krug argues that reconsideration of the judgment is necessary to correct the 19 following five manifest errors of fact or law upon which the judgment rests: (1) the court 20 misapplied Rule 12(b)(6); (2) the court made an inappropriate credibility determination 21 based on a deceptive exhibit; (3) the court violated Rule 12(d) by not giving the parties 22 sufficient notice that it would review evidence outside the pleadings; (4) the court erred 23 in ruling that the complaint does not address an obvious alternative explanation for 24 25 26 2 11 C. Wright & A. Miller, Federal Practice and Procedure § 2810.1 (3d ed. 2004) (hereinafter “Wright & Miller”). 27 3 28 4 Allstate Ins. Co. v. Herron, 634 F.3d 1101, 1111 (9th Cir. 2011). Id. 5 11 Wright & Miller § 2810.1. 1 Krug’s termination; and (5) the court erred in ruling that it would be futile to allow Krug 2 to amend her complaint to name Maricopa County as a defendant. 3 A. The Court Properly Applied Rule 12(b)(6) 4 Krug argues that the court misapplied Rule 12(b)(6) by not construing the 5 complaint in the light most favorable to Krug6 and by inappropriately relying on Ashcroft 6 v. Iqbal.7 These arguments lack merit. 7 With regard to Krug’s first argument, the only matter that Krug challenges with 8 specificity is the court’s conclusion that the only factual support in her complaint for her 9 claim that she was fired in retaliation for protected speech is the timing of her 10 termination.8 Krug argues that this conclusion is “insupportable” because of “the 11 copious factual recitations set out in” her complaint. Because Krug’s motion does not 12 cite a single one of these factual recitations, and because her retaliatory termination 13 claims are supported by legal conclusions, not facts, Krug’s argument fails. 14 With regard to Krug’s second argument, Krug argues that Iqbal’s “‘plausibility’ 15 analysis” does not apply because the defendants in this case are not “geographically 16 remote.”9 Krug cites no authority to support her argument that if there is no “geographic 17 remoteness of the parties” a complaint need not allege plausible claims. This argument 18 lacks merit. 19 B. The Court Did Not Make a Credibility Determination Based on Exhibit 1, and Exhibit 1 Is Not Deceptive 20 In its dismissal order the court held that the facts in Krug’s complaint are 21 consistent with her retaliatory termination claims, but insufficient to render those claims 22 plausible. The court bolstered this conclusion by observing that the complaint does not 23 24 25 6 Doc. 12 at 3-4. 26 7 27 8 28 9 556 U.S. 662 (2009). Doc. 7 at 6-7. Doc. 12 at 15. -3- 1 adequately address an obvious alternative explanation for Krug’s termination: the 2 inappropriate language Krug used in an email to defendant Diane Alessi (“Alessi”). 3 Krug’s complaint mentions the email in several locations,10 and defendants provided a 4 copy of it to the court as Exhibit 1 to their motion to dismiss. 5 Krug now asserts that the court determined she is not credible based on 6 Exhibit 1 and that Exhibit 1 is incomplete and therefore deceptive. As to Krug’s former 7 assertion, the court made no such credibility determination. Further, Krug’s assertion 8 that Exhibit 1 is deceptive is unpersuasive because Krug effectively admits in her 9 opposition that Exhibit 1 shows her “discourtesy” and “lack of civility” toward Alessi.11 10 11 C. The Court Did Not Consider Evidence Outside the Pleadings Krug next argues that the court violated Rule 12(d) by considering evidence 12 outside the pleadings (Exhibit 1 to defendants’ motion to dismiss) without giving the 13 parties a reasonable opportunity to present all pertinent material. Krug raised this same 14 argument in opposition to defendants’ motion to dismiss.12 But, as the court pointed out 15 in its dismissal order, evidence is not “outside” the complaint if the complaint specifically 16 refers to it and if its authenticity is not questioned.13 Krug has never disputed that her 17 complaint refers to the email found in Exhibit 1,14 nor has she questioned that exhibit’s 18 19 20 21 10 22 11 23 12 24 See Doc. 1 at 11 ¶¶ 79-80; id. at 12 ¶ 84. Doc. 5 at 8. See id. at 1 (“Defendants raise the motion under 12(b)(6), but also argue for summary judgment, especially as they submit documents extraneous to the Complaint.”). 13 25 26 27 28 See Branch v. Tunnell, 14 F.3d 449, 454 (9th Cir. 1994), overruled on other grounds by Galbraith v. Cnty. of Santa Clara, 307 F.3d 1119 (9th Cir. 2002) (“[D]ocuments whose contents are alleged in a complaint and whose authenticity no party questions, but which are not physically attached to the pleading, may be considered in ruling on a Rule 12(b)(6) motion to dismiss.”). 14 See Doc. 1 at 11 ¶¶ 79-80. -4- 1 authenticity. To the contrary, Krug admits that Exhibit 1 shows “an e-mail exchange 2 between Krug and Defendant’s [sic] Alessi and Westover.”15 3 D. The Court Correctly Ruled That the Complaint Does Not Address an Obvious Alternative Explanation for Krug’s Termination 4 Krug argues that the court erred in ruling that her complaint fails to address the 5 possibility that she was terminated not for her protected speech, but for using 6 unprofessional language in her email to Alessi. Plaintiff asserts that this ruling is 7 incorrect because she addresses that email in her opposition to defendants’ motion. In 8 her opposition, Krug states: 9 Clearly, the Defendants’ [sic] intend to defend themselves with an obvious pretext, that Krug’s alleged discourtesy to Defendant Alessi somehow trumps all the public interests concern [sic] addressed in the previous sections, and is the real reason that Krug was terminated. Given the remedial actions the Defendants took after having fired Krug, it seems unlikely that a lack of civility to co-Defendant Alessi was the real reason Krug was terminated. It seems probable that the criminal liability of all the Defendants was at the heart of this illegal retaliation against Krug.16 10 11 12 13 14 The fact remains, however, that Krug’s complaint does not address the possibility that 15 she was terminated for using unprofessional language. Krug’s argument that this 16 possibility is unlikely is conclusory and unpersuasive. 17 E. The Court Correctly Ruled That It Would Be Futile to Allow Krug to Amend Her Complaint to Name Maricopa County As a Defendant 18 Finally, Krug argues that it would not be futile to allow her to amend her 19 complaint to add Maricopa County as a defendant. The basis for this argument is her 20 “impression that she was a hybrid Maricopa County” and Maricopa County Superior 21 Court employee and, therefore, maybe Maricopa County would have to satisfy a 22 potential judgment in this case. 17 Because Krug does not provide any evidence or legal 23 authority that shows that she was actually employed by Maricopa County, nor does she 24 25 26 15 27 16 28 17 Doc. 5 at 7. Id. at 8. Doc. 12 at 16-17. -5- 1 explain why she was unable to present such evidence or authority in opposition to 2 defendants’ motion to dismiss, Krug’s argument lacks merit. 3 V. CONCLUSION 4 For the reasons above, the motion at docket 12 is DENIED. 5 DATED this 26th day March 2015. 6 7 8 /s/ JOHN W. SEDWICK SENIOR UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 -6-

Disclaimer: Justia Dockets & Filings provides public litigation records from the federal appellate and district courts. These filings and docket sheets should not be considered findings of fact or liability, nor do they necessarily reflect the view of Justia.

Why Is My Information Online?