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Easton v. Shulkin

United States District Court, D. Oregon, Eugene Division

December 19, 2018

THOMAS DEWEY EASTON Plaintiff,
v.
DAVID J. SHULKIN, in his official capacity as the Secretary of U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, CAROLINE M. HOWELL, FNP, individually and in her official capacity as employee of VA Eugene Clinic, KRISTOPHER G. KYES, individually and in his official capacity as DMV /Medical Programs Coordinator, and OREGON DOT/DMV, Defendants.

          OPINION AND ORDER

          Ann Aiken, United States District Judge.

         This matter comes before the Court on plaintiffs Motion for Leave to Amend and Reconsideration (doc. 24). For the reasons stated below, the motion is GRANTED in part and DENIED in part.

         BACKGROUND

         The parties are familiar with the background facts of this case, which are discussed in the Court's October 9, 2018 Opinion and Order (the "October Opinion") granting the Motion to Dismiss that was filed by Kristopher G. Kyes and Oregon Department of Transportation/Department of Motor Vehicles ("Oregon DOT/DMV") (collectively, "State Defendants"). The Court will not retread them here.

         In the October Opinion, the Court concluded that the Oregon DOT/DMV were entitled to sovereign immunity because it had not been waived in federal court and that the claims against Kyes were either proscribed by the Eleventh Amendment or lacked a constitutional basis under § 1983. Plaintiff filed his Motion for Leave to Amend and Reconsideration (the "Motion") on October 23, 2018. State Defendants filed their Response in Opposition on November 6, 2018.

         DISCUSSION

         Plaintiff argues that the Motion should be granted because (i) "defendants DMV and Kyes . ., attempted to perpetrate a fraud on the Oregon Court of Appeals [because they alleged that plaintiff] had not followed agency rules to restore his driver's license" and (ii) plaintiff wants to add a new discrimination claim under the Americans with Disabilities Act ("ADA").

         I. Motion for Reconsideration

         Plaintiff asks for reconsideration under Rule 60(b)(3) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, which provides for reconsideration upon a showing of fraud.

         Plaintiff argues that State Defendants attempted to defraud the Oregon Court of Appeals by making a false claim in their brief on October 9, 2018-the day this Court's October Opinion was issued. Plaintiff further states that he "does not oppose the stay of proceedings [in this Court] until the decision of the Oregon Court of Appeals [is filed]"-which implies that there is, or was when he filed this motion, an ongoing state law proceeding. To the extent there was a fraudulent statement in the State Defendants' state court brief, that is best addressed to the state court itself. Thus, reconsideration based on Rule 60(b)(3) is improper.

         Additionally, Ninth Circuit precedent indicates that reconsideration is proper when a district court "(1) is presented with newly discovered evidence, (2) committed clear error or the initial decision was manifestly unjust, or (3) if there is an intervening change in controlling law." Sch. Dist. No. IJ v. ACandS, Inc., 5 F.3d 1255, 1263 (9th Cir. 1993) (internal citation omitted). Reconsideration is an "extraordinary remedy, to be used sparingly in the interests of finality and conservation of judicial resources." Kona Enters., Inc. v. Estate of Bishop, 229 F.3d 877, 890 (9th Cir. 2000) (internal quotation marks and citation omitted).

         There is no allegation of error or injustice under (2), or that there has been a change in the law under (3). The only issue, then, is whether there is new evidence to consider under (1). A defendant's fraudulent briefing in a state court proceeding is not new evidence that warrants dismissal in federal court-particularly because the content of the October Opinion was unrelated to the alleged fraud. Accordingly, plaintiffs motion for reconsideration is denied.

         II. Motion for Leave to Amend

         Plaintiff also requests leave to file a Second Amended Complaint to add ...


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