Johns v. Cathey
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER by Chief Judge Greg N. Stivers on 5/17/2023 granting 36 Motion to Dismiss; denying 38 Motion to Evaluate. The Counterclaims are dismissed without prejudice. The Clerk shall strike this matter from the active docket. There being no just cause for delay, this is a final and appealable order. cc: Counsel; Danny Johns, pro se(JWM)
Case 1:21-cv-00136-GNS-HBB Document 42 Filed 05/18/23 Page 1 of 4 PageID #: 329
UNITED STATES DISTIRCT COURT
WESTERN DISTRICT OF KENTUCKY
BOWLING GREEN DIVISION
CIVIL ACTION NO. 1:21-CV-00136-GNS-HBB
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER
This matter is before the Court on Defendant’s Motion to Dismiss (DN 36) and Plaintiff’s
Motion to Evaluate (DN 38). The matter is ripe for adjudication. For the reasons stated below,
Defendant’s Motion to Dismiss (DN 36) is GRANTED and Plaintiff’s Motion to Evaluate (DN
38) is DENIED.
STATEMENT OF FACTS
Plaintiff Danny Johns (“Johns”) filed this action against Defendant Helen Cathey
(“Cathey”) for unjust enrichment regarding repairs Johns made to rental property in Simpson
County, Kentucky. (Compl. ¶¶ 1, 9, 14, DN 1-1). Cathey’s mother, Rubye Helms Porter
(“Porter”), owned the property and in May 2009, deeded it to her daughter but retained a life estate.
(Compl. ¶ 3). Beginning in April 2019, Porter leased the property to Johns for a five-year term at
a rate of $800 per month, with rent being waived for the first three months. (Compl. ¶¶ 5-6; Def.’s
Mem. Supp. Mot. Summ J. 4, DN 26-1). In exchange, Johns agreed to restore the property to
habitable condition, given its alleged decline into extreme disrepair. (Compl. ¶ 7; Def.’s Mem.
Supp. Mot. Summ. J. 4-5).
Case 1:21-cv-00136-GNS-HBB Document 42 Filed 05/18/23 Page 2 of 4 PageID #: 330
Johns repaired the property and purportedly spent personal funds to accomplish this
restoration. (Compl. ¶¶ 8-9). Johns claims that after these improvements were made, Cathey filed
suits in Simpson Circuit Court and Simpson District Court to terminate Johns’ lease and evict him
from the premises, respectively, claiming the lease terminated with Porter’s death on May 15,
2021. (Compl. ¶¶ 9-10).
Johns then initiated this action in Simpson Circuit Court asserting a claim for unjust
enrichment regarding the improvements made to Cathey’s property. (Compl. ¶¶ 11-14). Cathey
removed the matter to this Court and asserted counterclaims for slander of title, waste, and nonpayment of rents. (Notice Removal, DN 1; Answer & Countercl. 4-8, DN 4). Cathey moved for
summary judgment, which was granted. (Mem. Op. & Order, DN 34). Cathey now moves to
voluntarily dismiss her counterclaims, and Johns moves the Court to re-evaluate, or reconsider,
motion for summary judgment. (Def.’s Mot. Dismiss, DN 36; Pl.’s Mot. Evaluate, DN 38).
The Court has subject-matter jurisdiction of this matter based upon diversity jurisdiction.
See 28 U.S.C. § 1332.
Cathey’s Motion to Dismiss
Cathey moves to voluntarily dismiss her counterclaims against Johns without prejudice
considering the Court’s ruling on her motion for summary judgment; Johns has not opposed
Cathey’s motion. (Def.’s Mot. Dismiss 1). Courts may dismiss an action at a plaintiff’s request,
and the decision to grant such a dismissal is within the “sound discretion” of the district court.
Fed. R. Civ. P. 41(a)(2); Banque de Depots v. Nat’l Bank of Detroit, 491 F.2d 753, 757 (6th Cir.
1974) (citations omitted). Courts should not dismiss an action without prejudice if the defendant
Case 1:21-cv-00136-GNS-HBB Document 42 Filed 05/18/23 Page 3 of 4 PageID #: 331
will suffer “plain legal prejudice” as a result and should consider several factors such as: (1) the
nonmovant’s effort and litigation expenses; (2) excessive delay and lack of diligence on the part
of movant; (3) an insufficient explanation of the need for dismissal; and (4) whether the nonmovant
has filed a motion for summary judgment. Grover ex rel. Grover v. Eli Lilly & Co., 33 F.3d 716,
718 (6th Cir. 1994) (citations omitted). “These factors are only a guide, however, and the trial
judge ultimately retains discretion to grant the motion to dismiss.” Malibu Media, LLC v.
Ricupero, 705 F. App’x 402, 407 (6th Cir. 2017) (citation omitted).
These factors favor dismissal without prejudice. Johns has not made considerable effort to
litigate the counterclaims or expended a considerable sum of money and the litigation has focused
primarily of Johns’ unjust enrichment claim. (See Mem. Op. & Order, DN 29; Mem. Op. & Order,
DN 34). Furthermore, Cathey has not caused excessive delay in litigating her counterclaims, as
she moved to dismiss them soon after obtaining of summary judgment against Johns and the parties
have not engaged in extensive discovery. (See Mem. Op. & Order, DN 34 (docketed Feb. 8, 2023);
Def.’s Mot. Dismiss (filed Feb. 14, 2023)).
Additionally, Cathey moves to dismiss the
counterclaims so that this action may be closed, which is an adequate explanation. Finally, Johns
has not filed a motion for summary judgment on the counterclaims. Therefore, Cathey’s motion
to dismiss her counterclaims is granted and dismissal shall be without prejudice.
Johns’ Motion to Evaluate
Johns moves this Court to re-evaluate its decision granting Cathey’s motion for summary
judgment, which will be construed as a motion to reconsider. (Pl.’s Mot. Evaluate 1-2). Pursuant
to Fed. R. Civ. P. 59(e), “[a] district court may alter or amend its judgment based on ‘(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.’” Brumley v. United Parcel Serv., Inc., 909 F.3d 834, 841 (6th
Case 1:21-cv-00136-GNS-HBB Document 42 Filed 05/18/23 Page 4 of 4 PageID #: 332
Cir. 2018) (citation omitted). Johns fails to satisfy any of these circumstances. Instead, he simply
rehashes his previous arguments, but a motion to reconsider “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.” Id. (quoting Exxon Shipping Co. v. Baker, 554 U.S. 471, 486 n.5 (2008)). Therefore,
Johns’ motion to evaluate is denied.
For the foregoing reasons, IT IS HEREBY ORDERED that Defendant’s Motion to
Dismiss (DN 36) is GRANTED and Plaintiff’s Motion to Evaluate (DN 38) is DENIED. The
counterclaims are DISMISSED WITHOUT PREJUDICE. The Clerk shall strike this matter
from the active docket.
There being no just cause for delay, this is a final and appealable order.
May 17, 2023
counsel of record
Danny Johns, pro se
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?