Phillips v. Hoffner
OPINION AND ORDER Denying 7 Motion to Certify Declaratory Questions and Denying 8 Motion for Reconsideration. Signed by District Judge Mark A. Goldsmith. (Goltz, D)
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
EASTERN DISTRICT OF MICHIGAN
JESSE M. PHILLIPS II, #167158,
CASE NO. 14-CV-10767
HON. MARK A. GOLDSMITH
OPINION AND ORDER DENYING MOTION TO CERTIFY DECLARATORY
QUESTIONS (Dkt. 7) AND MOTION FOR RECONSIDERATION (Dkt. 8)
Petitioner Jesse M. Phillips II, a state prisoner currently incarcerated at the Lakeland
Correctional Facility in Coldwater, Michigan, filed this case under 28 U.S.C. § 2254. On May 5,
2014, the Court summarily dismissed the petition as untimely after Petitioner was unable to
demonstrate that he complied with the one-year statute of limitations set forth in 28 U.S.C. §
2244(d). 5/5/14 Order (Dkt. 5). Presently before the Court are Petitioner’s motion to certify
declaratory questions (Dkt. 7) and motion for reconsideration (Dkt. 8).
Petitioner’s motion to certify declaratory questions invokes 28 U.S.C. § 2202, a statutory
section for further relief pertaining to declaratory judgments. See Pet. Mot. at 1 (Dkt. 7). Title
28 U.S.C. § 2202 provides that “further necessary or proper relief based on a declaratory
judgment or decree may be granted, after reasonable notice and hearing, against any adverse
party whose rights have been determined by such judgment.” 28 U.S.C. § 2202. On its face, the
motion to certify declaratory questions is frivolous because section 2202 has absolutely no
application to this habeas case, where there has been no declaratory relief granted. Therefore,
the Court denies the motion.
As for Petitioner’s motion for reconsideration, Local Rule 7.1(h) allows a party to file
such a motion. Under that Local Rule, this Court will not grant a motion for reconsideration that
merely presents “the same issues ruled upon by the court, either expressly or by reasonable
implication.” E.D. Mich. L.R. 7.1(h)(3). The movant must (i) demonstrate a “palpable defect”
by which the court and the parties have been “misled,” and (ii) show “that correcting the defect
will result in a different disposition of the case.” Id. A “palpable defect” is an error that is
“obvious, clear, unmistakable, manifest, or plain.” United States v. Cican, 156 F. Supp. 2d 661,
668 (E.D. Mich. 2001); see also Blunt v. Berghuis, No. 08-CV-14808, 2014 WL 2572805 (E.D.
Mich. June 9, 2014) (denying habeas petitioner’s motion for reconsideration). Furthermore, a
“motion for reconsideration is not a vehicle to re-hash old arguments, or to proffer new
arguments or evidence that the movant could have presented earlier.” Gowens v. Tidwell, No.
10-10518, 2012 WL 4475352, at *1 (E.D. Mich. Sept. 27, 2012) (citing Sault St. Marie v.
Engler, 146 F.3d 367, 374 (6th Cir. 1998)); Owner-Operator Indep. Drivers v. Arctic Express,
Inc., 288 F. Supp. 2d 895, 900 (S.D. Ohio 2003) (“Motions for reconsideration do not allow the
losing party . . . to raise new legal theories that should have been raised earlier.”).
When the Court summarily dismissed the petition, it did so because Petitioner filed this
action after the expiration of the statute of limitations and failed to demonstrate any basis for
equitable tolling. 5/5/14 Order at 6. In the instant motion, Petitioner does not address either
basis for the Court’s decision, but makes a new argument that the Court unreasonably applied
federal law under various authorities, including federal and state cases, “28 U.S.C. § 1983,” and
Federal Rules of Evidence 201, 302, and 401.
By contesting the Court’s dismissal of his petition and arguing that the Court has
jurisdiction — although it is extremely difficult to penetrate Petitioner’s rambling prose —
Petitioner is merely presenting issues which were already ruled upon by the Court, either
expressly or by reasonable implication, when the Court dismissed his petition. Therefore, the
motion cannot be granted. E.D. Mich. L.R. 7.1(h)(3); see also Hence v. Smith, 49 F. Supp. 2d
547, 553 (E.D. Mich. 1999) (denying motion for reconsideration where the petitioner merely
raised the same issues as in his petition). Also, Petitioner’s motion is flawed because he does not
identify a palpable defect in the Court’s order dismissing his petition; therefore, Petitioner’s
motion fails on its face. E.D. Mich. L.R. 7.1(h)(3). Lastly, to the extent that Petitioner raises
new arguments, the Court rejects them because this tactic is improper on a motion for
reconsideration. Arctic Express, 288 F. Supp. 2d at 900.
Accordingly, Petitioner’s motion to certify declaratory questions (Dkt. 7) and his motion
for reconsideration (Dkt. 8) are denied.
Dated: August 13, 2014
s/Mark A. Goldsmith
MARK A. GOLDSMITH
United States District Judge
CERTIFICATE OF SERVICE
The undersigned certifies that the foregoing document was served upon counsel of record
and any unrepresented parties via the Court's ECF System to their respective email or First Class
U.S. mail addresses disclosed on the Notice of Electronic Filing on August 13, 2014.
s/Deborah J. Goltz
DEBORAH J. GOLTZ
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