Leskinen v. The United States Department of Agriculture et al

Filing 39

ORDER signed by District Judge Troy L. Nunley on 1/2/2019 DENYING 29 Motion for Reconsideration. Defendant is afforded 21 days from the date of this Order to answer the 1 Complaint. (Huang, H)

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1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT 9 EASTERN DISTRICT OF CALIFORNIA 10 11 LAURA LESKINEN, 12 Plaintiff, 13 14 15 v. Defendant. 17 19 20 ORDER SONNY PERDUE, Secretary of the United States Department of Agriculture, 16 18 No. 2:18-cv-00453-TLN-KJN This matter is before the Court pursuant to Plaintiff Laura Leskinen’s (“Plaintiff”) Motion for Reconsideration. (ECF No. 29.) Defendant Sonny Perdue (“Defendant”) filed an opposition. (ECF No. 34.) The Court has carefully considered the parties’ arguments. For the reasons set forth below, Plaintiff’s Motion for Reconsideration is DENIED. 21 /// 22 /// 23 /// 24 /// 25 /// 26 /// 27 /// 28 1 1 I. FACTUAL AND PROCEDURAL BACKGROUND 2 On June 14, 2018, the magistrate judge filed findings and recommendations (“F & R”), 3 which recommended dismissing Plaintiff’s second and third causes of action based on Title I and 4 common law fraud. (ECF No. 20 at 3–4.) Because Plaintiff’s sole remaining claim under Title 5 VII could only be asserted against Defendant in his official capacity, the F & R recommended 6 dismissing all other Defendants. (ECF No. 20 at 3–4.) The F & R further recommended denying 7 Plaintiff’s motion for preliminary injunction. (ECF No. 20 at 5.) 8 9 On June 27, 2018, Plaintiff filed objections to the F & R (ECF No. 22), and on July 13, 2018, Defendants filed a response to those objections (ECF No. 23). On September 14, 2018, this 10 Court adopted the F & R in full. (ECF No. 28.) In that order, this Court made clear that it 11 reviewed de novo those portions of the F & R to which objections were made. (ECF No. 28 at 1.) 12 13 On September 24, 2018, Plaintiff brought the instant motion seeking reconsideration of the Court’s September 14, 2018 order. (ECF No. 29.) 14 II. STANDARDS OF LAW 15 Before reconsideration may be granted, there must be a change in the controlling law, 16 facts, or other circumstances, the need to correct a clear error, or the need to prevent manifest 17 injustice. Marlyn Nutraceuticals, Inc. v. Mucos Pharma GmbH & Co., 571 F.3d 873, 880 (9th 18 Cir. 2009). As with motions to alter or amend a judgment made pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil 19 Procedure 59(a), motions to reconsider are not vehicles permitting an unsuccessful party to 20 “rehash” arguments previously presented. See United States v. Rezzonico, 32 F. Supp. 2d 1112, 21 1116 (D. Az. 1998) (“A motion for reconsideration should not be used to ask the court to rethink 22 what the court has already thought through—rightly or wrongly”) (omitting internal citations and 23 quotation marks). Nor is a motion to reconsider justified on the basis of new evidence which 24 could have been discovered prior to the court’s ruling. Finally, “after thoughts” or “shifting of 25 ground” do not constitute an appropriate basis for reconsideration. Fay Corp. v. BAT Holdings 26 One, Inc., 651 F. Supp. 307, 309 (W.D. Wash. 1987), aff’d 896 F.2d 1227 (9th Cir. 1990). 27 /// 28 /// 2 1 III. ANALYSIS Plaintiff requests this Court: (1) invalidate the magistrate judge’s dismissal and reverse 2 3 this Court’s denial of Plaintiff’s motion for preliminary injunction and grant the injunctive relief; 4 (2) reverse this Court’s order dismissing Plaintiff’s Title I claim; and (3) remove the magistrate 5 judge from this case. (ECF No. 29.) Defendant, in opposition to Plaintiff’s motion for 6 reconsideration, argues that Plaintiff’s motion should be denied because Plaintiff has not 7 presented new facts or circumstances to warrant reconsideration or the disqualification of the 8 magistrate judge. (ECF No. 34.) 9 In what appears to be an attempt to relitigate her request for injunctive relief, Plaintiff first 10 argues that the affidavits and declaration submitted with Defendant’s response to Plaintiff’s 11 objections are hearsay, and thus inadmissible, or alternatively, incorrect and should be 12 disregarded and/or corrected.1 (ECF No. 29 at 13–18.) However, “the rules of evidence do not 13 apply strictly to preliminary injunction proceedings.” Mahon v. Morton Golf, LLC, No. 14-2972, 14 2017 WL 1351070, at *2 n.2 (E.D. Cal. Apr. 6, 2017) (quoting Herb Reed Enters., LLC v. Fla. 15 Entm’t Mgmt., Inc., 736 F.3d 1239, 1250 n.5 (9th Cir. 2013). Further, to the extent Plaintiff is 16 arguing the declaration and affidavits qualify as newly discovered evidence, the Court finds this 17 argument is not persuasive. The declaration and affidavits were submitted with Defendant’s 18 response to Plaintiff’s objections prior to this Court’s Order. (ECF No. 23; ECF No. 28.) This 19 Court reviewed de novo those portions of the F & R to which objections were made. (ECF No. 20 28 at 1.) 21 Moreover, any new arguments provided by Plaintiff do not meet the threshold for 22 reconsideration; a motion for reconsideration is not an opportunity to relitigate a claim. See 23 United States v. Westlands Water Dist., 134 F. Supp. 2d 1111, 1131 (E.D. Cal. 2001) (“A motion 24 for reconsideration is not a vehicle to reargue the motion or to present evidence which should 25 1 26 27 28 Plaintiff argues that the Declaration of Joseph Frueh (ECF No. 23-1) is inadmissible hearsay under Fed. R. Evid 801(c). (ECF No. 29 at 13.) Plaintiff further argues that the affidavits of Defendant Curt Stock (ECF No. 23-2), and Defendant Christine Messer (ECF No. 23-3) were not made under penalty of perjury and are therefore considered hearsay. (ECF No. 29 at 14.) Christine Messer and Curt Stock were terminated from this action on September 14, 2018. (See ECF No. 28.) Plaintiff further characterized Defendant’s background facts as “incorrect and imprecise.” (ECF No. 29 at 15.) 3 1 2 have been raised before.”); Rezzonico, 32 F. Supp. 2d at 1116. Further, Plaintiff’s request that the Court disqualify the magistrate judge from the 3 proceedings due to bias are baseless. Plaintiff does not provide any evidence other than the 4 magistrate judge’s adverse rulings, which “alone almost never constitute a valid basis for a bias or 5 partiality motion.” Liteky v. United States, 510 U.S. 540, 555 (1994). 6 Plaintiff fails to offer any new facts or a change in the law warranting revisiting either the 7 denial of injunctive relief or dismissal of Plaintiff’s Title VI claim. Thus, the Court denies 8 Plaintiff’s request for reconsideration. 9 10 IV. CONCLUSION Accordingly, IT IS HEREBY ORDERED that Plaintiff’s motion for reconsideration (ECF 11 No. 29) be DENIED. Defendant is afforded twenty-one (21) days from the date of this Order to 12 answer the complaint. 13 14 Dated: January 2, 2019 15 16 17 Troy L. Nunley United States District Judge 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 4

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