United States District Court, N.D. Ohio
OPINION & ORDER [RESOLVING DOC. 52]
S. GWIN UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
August 9, 2017, Defendant the City of East Cleveland, and the
City Defendants,  filed a motion for reconsideration of the
Court's August 8, 2017 order. That August 8, 2017, order
granted Plaintiffs Laurese Glover and Derrick Wheatt access
to the Cuyahoga County grand jury hearing transcripts that
resulted in those plaintiffs' indictments for aggravated
reasons stated below, the Court DENIES the Defendants'
motion for reconsideration.
Federal Rules do not describe motions to reconsider. The
Sixth Circuit, however, has held that a motion to vacate and
reconsider may be treated under Federal Rule of Civil
Procedure 59(e) as a motion to alter or amend a
judgment. Such a motion is extraordinary and is
seldom granted because it contravenes the goals of finality
may grant a motion to amend or alter judgment if a clear
error of law or newly discovered evidence exists, an
intervening change in controlling law occurs, or to prevent
manifest injustice. “It is not the function of a motion
to reconsider either to renew arguments already considered
and rejected by a court or ‘to proffer a new legal
theory or new evidence to support a prior argument when the
legal theory or argument could, with due diligence, have been
discovered and offered during the initial consideration of
the issue.'” When the “defendant views the law in
a light contrary to that of this Court, ” its
“proper recourse” is not by way of a motion for
reconsideration “but appeal to the Sixth
their instant motion, Defendant City of East Cleveland and
the City Defendants put forward the same three basic
arguments that their co-defendant, Cuyahoga County, advanced
in its original opposition to Plaintiffs' request for the
transcript of the grand jury proceedings. Like their
co-defendant, they argue that: (1) Ohio state law controls
whether this Court can order the release of the grand jury
transcripts and minutes; (2) Plaintiffs failed to demonstrate
particularized need for the grand jury proceedings; and (3)
the need to maintain the secrecy of the grand jury
proceedings outweighs the need for production.
Court remains unpersuaded by each of these three arguments.
First, as this Court stated previously,  Federal
Rule of Criminal Procedure 6(e) and related case law
determines whether this Court may order disclosure of the
grand jury transcripts. Defendants' arguments to the
contrary misunderstand the relevant case law.
correctly argue that for federal law malicious prosecution
claims, grand jury testimony typically receives absolute
immunity. Therefore, a plaintiff cannot use an
officer's grand jury testimony as the basis for
a federal law malicious prosecution action under 42 U.S.C.
above scenario, the grand jury testimony is irrelevant to the
federal malicious prosecution claim and could only be used to
support a state law malicious prosecution
claim.Because only the state law malicious
prosecution claim survives, state substantive law controls
that state law claim.
this does not describe the allegations in this case. As the
Sixth Circuit has recently explained, “Rehberg
does not affect the thin but conspicuous line between, on the
one hand, law-enforcement officers who only provide
grand-jury testimony … and, on the other hand,
law-enforcement officers who either (1) ‘set the wheels
of government in motion by instigating a legal action, '
or (2) ‘falsify affidavits' or ‘fabricate
evidence concerning an unsolved
crime.'” In this case, Plaintiffs allege that
Defendant officers engaged in this latter kind of behavior,
and therefore federal law controls.
Plaintiffs proved that they have a particularized need for
the grand jury proceedings. The police investigation and
prosecution occurred more than twenty years ago. Plaintiffs
argue that the grand jury transcripts may demonstrate that
their prosecutions were started without probable cause due to
the actions of one or more Defendants. Rebutting the
presumption of probable cause is crucial to Plaintiffs'
malicious prosecution claims.
contrary to Defendants' protestations, the need for
secrecy in this case does not remain heightened to the point
of warranting nondisclosure. These transcripts deal with a
completed grand jury proceeding that ended over two decades
ago. The convictions resulting from these proceedings ...