Thomas v. Lighthouse of Oakland et al
AMENDED ORDER Denying Plaintiff's 160 MOTION for Reconsideration and Denying Plaintiff's 180 Motion to Extend his Possession of the Court's Laptop. Signed by District Judge Judith E. Levy. (SBur)
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
EASTERN DISTRICT OF MICHIGAN
Case No. 12-cv-15494
Judith E. Levy
United States District Judge
Lighthouse of Oakland County,
Development, Greg Sterns, and
AMENDED ORDER DENYING PLAINTIFF’S MOTION FOR
RECONSIDERATION  AND DENYING PLAINTIFF’S
MOTION TO EXTEND HIS POSSESSION OF THE COURT’S
reconsideration (Dkt. 160) and motion to extend the time for which he
can possess the Court’s laptop. (Dkt. 180.) For the reasons set forth
below, plaintiff’s motion for reconsideration is DENIED and plaintiff’s
motion to extend the time for which he can possess the Court’s laptop is
DENIED AS MOOT.
On November 22, 2016, Judge Roberts issued an order dismissing
plaintiff’s claims. (Dkt. 154.) Judge Roberts issued that order after
plaintiff failed to participate in preparing the joint final pretrial order
(“JFPO”), as required by Local Rule 16.2.
The JFPO was
originally due to the Court on November 14, 2016, but plaintiff failed to
comply with that deadline while moving to stay the trial date. (Dkt.
151.) Judge Roberts denied plaintiff’s motion to stay and exercised her
discretion to give plaintiff until 12:00 p.m. on November 22, 2016 to
submit his portions of the JFPO to defendants. (Id.) In doing so, Judge
Roberts explicitly noted that “[t]he Court puts Thomas on notice
that failure to comply with this order may result in sanctions,
up to and including dismissal of his case.” (Id. at 3 (bolding in
Plaintiff failed to submit his portion of the JFPO to
defendants by the November 22 deadline, and defendants moved that
same day to dismiss plaintiff’s case. (Dkt. 153.) Judge Roberts granted
defendants’ motion later in the day and closed the case. (Dkt. 154.)
At some point on November 22, after Judge Roberts issued a 4:53
p.m. order dismissing plaintiff’s claims (id.), plaintiff submitted his
portion of the pretrial order to the docket (dkt. 155), but did not provide
it to defendants by noon of that day. (Dkt. 153-1.) While that document
contains some elements of a final pretrial order, such as a witness list
and a statement of plaintiff’s claims, it includes vast amounts of
information not appropriately included in a JFPO. For example, the
document makes reference to plaintiff’s previously dismissed FMLA
claims (id. at 6), a grant of summary judgment in favor of now
dismissed former defendant Ziraldo (id. at 10), dismissed ADA claims
(id. at 15-16), and witnesses not relevant to the remaining claims,
among others. (Id. at 25.) Plaintiff’s submission also fails to “itemize
all claimed damages” and instead includes a verdict form that reads
“Lighthouse guilty on all charges award plaintiff all damages in amount
of 5 million dollars.” (Id. at 40.) As such, in addition to being untimely
and submitted to the Court rather than to defendants, plaintiff’s
submission does not reasonably meet the requirements for a JFPO.
Plaintiff filed this motion for reconsideration on December 6, 2016.
Judge Roberts disqualified herself and transferred the case to the
undersigned on December 19, 2016.
In the interim, plaintiff has
possessed a laptop owned by the Eastern District of Michigan, pursuant
to Judge Roberts’ July 6, 2016 order granting him a disability
accommodation. (Dkt. 125.) On September 12, 2017, the Court ordered
plaintiff to return the laptop while the Court continued its search for a
pro bono attorney willing to assist plaintiff in filing a reply to the
motion for reconsideration.
Plaintiff responded to that
order with a request for an extension of the time he has to keep the
Court’s laptop. (Dkt. 180.) Despite a long and thorough search, there
was no response to the Court’s request for an attorney to accept a pro
bono assignment on this matter. Having reviewed the submissions on
this motion, the Court determines that no further briefing is warranted
or permitted, and turns now to rule on the motion for reconsideration.
A. Motion for Reconsideration
To prevail on a motion for reconsideration under Local Rule 7.1, a
movant must “not only demonstrate a palpable defect by which the
court and the parties and other persons entitled to be heard on the
motion have been misled but also show that correcting the defect will
result in a different disposition of the case.” E.D. Mich. LR 7.1(h)(3). “A
palpable defect is a defect that is obvious, clear, unmistakable, manifest
or plain.” Witzke v. Hiller, 972 F. Supp. 426, 427 (E.D. Mich. 1997).
The “palpable defect” standard is consistent with the standard for
amending or altering a judgment under Fed. R. Civ. P. 59(e).
Henderson v. Walled Lake Consol. Schs., 469 F.3d 479, 496 (6th Cir.
Motions for reconsideration should not be granted if they
“merely present the same issues ruled upon by the court, either
expressly or by reasonable implication.” E.D. Mich. LR 7.1(h)(3). And
“parties cannot use a motion for reconsideration to raise new legal
arguments that could have been raised before a judgment was issued.”
Roger Miller Music, Inc. v. Sony/ATV Publ’g, 477 F.3d 383, 395 (6th
Here, plaintiff fails to identify any “palpable defect” that “will
result in a different disposition of the case.” E.D. Mich. LR 7.1(h)(3).
Plaintiff’s claims were dismissed for failure to comply with deadlines,
and his motion does not provide the Court with any new information
regarding this failure to comply. Instead, plaintiff seeks to relitigate
the effect of his various medical conditions on his ability to participate
in litigation. (Dkt. 146.) Judge Roberts already noted that “[d]espite
his health conditions, Thomas has actively prosecuted his case” when
she denied his motion for a stay of trial.
conditions that plaintiff cites in this motion as reason for missing the
Court’s deadlines are the same as those he cited in favor of staying the
(Compare Dkt. 142 with Dkt. 146.)
As this motion
“present[s] the same issues [already] ruled upon by the court” and
identifies no defect in the Court’s prior ruling, plaintiff’s motion for
reconsideration is denied. See E.D. Mich. LR 7.1(h)(3).
Additionally, although “pro se litigants may be entitled to some
latitude when dealing with sophisticated legal issues, acknowledging
their lack of formal training, there is no cause for extending this margin
to straightforward procedural requirements that a layperson can
comprehend as easily as a lawyer.” Jourdan v. Jabe, 951 F.2d 108, 109
(6th Cir. 1991).
Deadlines are a procedural requirement “that a
layperson can comprehend as easily as a lawyer.” See id.
missed the initial deadline for submitting his portion of the JFPO, and
was explicitly on notice “that failure to comply with this order [setting
new deadlines] may result in sanctions, up to and including dismissal of
his case.” (Dkt. 151 at 3 (emphasis removed)); see E.D. Mich. LR 16.2(c)
(“For failure to cooperate in preparing or submitting the joint final
pretrial order or failure to comply strictly with the terms of the joint
final pretrial order, the Court may dismiss claims, enter default
judgment, refuse to permit witnesses to testify or to admit exhibits,
assess costs and expenses, including attorney fees, or impose other
When plaintiff failed to meet the new
deadline, the Court exercised its discretion pursuant to the local and
federal rules to dismiss the case. See id.; Fed. R. Civ. P. 16(f)(1)(C) (the
court may impose sanctions, “including those authorized by Rule
37(b)(2)(A)(ii)-(vii), if a party . . . fails to obey a scheduling or other
pretrial order”); Fed. R. Civ. P. 37 (the available sanctions under Rule
37(a)(2)(A) include “(ii) prohibiting the disobedient party from
supporting or opposing designated claims or defenses, or from
introducing designated matters in evidence” and “(v) dismissing the
action or proceeding in whole or in part”).
What is more, plaintiff failed to meet these deadlines despite
defendant’s attempts to contact him and ensure that he would submit
his portion of the JFPO on time. (Dkt. 149 (declaration of defendant’s
counsel detailing his communications with plaintiff about the JFPO).)
Defendant also provided its portion of the JFPO to plaintiff within the
timeframe set by the Court, giving plaintiff ample opportunity to fulfill
his obligations. (Id. at 2.)
Accordingly, plaintiff’s motion for reconsideration is denied.
B. Motion to Extend the Time for which Plaintiff May Possess
the Court’s Laptop
In her order granting plaintiff’s request for an accommodation,
Judge Roberts allowed plaintiff to use and possess a court issued laptop
“for the duration of his case.” (Dkt. 125 at 2.) By denying plaintiff’s
motion for reconsideration today, the Court fully and completely closes
plaintiff’s district court case. As such, the “duration of his case” has
ended, and the laptop must be returned to the Court. Plaintiff’s motion
accommodation was tied to his need to litigate this case. As of today,
plaintiff’s case can no longer be litigated in the district court, and he is
ordered to return the laptop to the Court by Monday,
December 11, 2017 at 4:30 p.m.
reconsideration is DENIED, and plaintiff’s motion to extend the time
for which he can possess the Court’s laptop is DENIED AS MOOT, and
plaintiff is hereby ORDERED to return the laptop to Joshua Matta in
the Information Technology Department located at 231 W. Lafayette
Boulevard, Room 128, Detroit, MI 48226, by Monday,
December 11, 2017 at 4:30 p.m.
IT IS SO ORDERED.
Dated: December 1, 2017
Ann Arbor, Michigan
s/Judith E. Levy
JUDITH E. LEVY
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 December 1, 2017.
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?