United States District Court, N.D. Ohio, Eastern Division
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER
HONORABLE SARA LIOI, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
matter is before the Court on the motion of plaintiff Cedar
Lane Farms, Corp. (“CLF”) to vacate the
Court's decision and judgment dismissing CLF's
complaint against defendant United States Department of
Energy (“DOE”) (Doc. Nos. 18 and 19
[“JE”]), and for leave to file an amended
complaint. (Doc. No. 20 [“Mot.”].) DOE opposed
the motion (Doc. No. 22 [“Opp'n”]), and
plaintiff filed a reply (Doc. No. 23 [“Reply”]).
For the reasons that follow, the motion is denied.
factual background of this case is detailed in the
Court's memorandum opinion from which CLF seeks relief.
See Cedar Lane, 2017 WL 1155564, at *1-2. Briefly,
CLF leased certain property from defendants William and
Sandra Besancon (“property”). CLF sublet a
portion of the property to Touchstone Research Laboratory,
Ltd. (“Touchstone”) pursuant to a subrecipient
agreement for an algae research project that Touchstone was
performing for DOE (“project”). As part of the
project, certain assets were purchased and constructed on the
property (“assets”). The subrecipient agreement
provides that at the end of the project, Touchstone would
request that DOE transfer the assets to Touchstone, who would
in turn transfer them to CLF, but Touchstone could not
guarantee that DOE would transfer ownership of the assets.
Id. at *1 (“[Touchstone] cannot guarantee that
[DOE] will transfer ownership at the end of the project and
therefore title may reside with DOE even after the completion
of the project.”) (quoting subrecipient agreement).
complaint sought declaratory judgment that DOE has no
ownership interest in the assets. CLF also sought declaratory
judgment that the Besancons had no ownership interest in the
assets, and a declaration that the assets are the personal
property of CLF. Id. at *2 (citation omitted).
moved to dismiss the complaint for lack of subject matter
jurisdiction under Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(1) on the grounds that
the government has not waived sovereign immunity from suit.
The Court agreed, finding that although the complaint
satisfied the first requirement of an action under the
Administrative Procedures Act (“APA”) by seeking
non-monetary relief, it did not meet the second
requirement-that DOE acted unlawfully. Id. at *3.
Thus, the Court granted DOE's motion to dismiss and,
because there was no independent basis for jurisdiction over
CLF's claims against the Besancons, those claims were
dismissed without prejudice. Id. at *3-4.
instant motion, CLF contends that facts have emerged after
the original complaint was filed which cure the
jurisdictional defects of the original complaint against DOE.
Specifically, CLF had the assets valued “and discovered
that the per unit fair market value of the Assets was less
than $5, 000.” (Mot. at 109.) CLF argues that, pursuant
to 2 C.F.R. § 910.360(g), assets with this valuation
become CLF's property with no further obligation to DOE.
The motion states that when CLF advised DOE of the
assets' valuation, DOE responded that the value was
greater than $5, 000.00 and demanded payment. (Id.
at 109-110.) According to CLF, DOE's disagreement with
CLF's valuation and demand for payment constitutes an
unlawful act which satisfies the second requirement for an
APA action, and confers subject matter jurisdiction upon the
Court. Thus, CLF contends that it should be permitted to
amend the complaint to assert these new facts. (Id.
at 109-110, 113.)
Standard of Review
to Rule 59, CLF seeks to vacate the Court's dismissal of
its claims against DOE and, then, to file an amended
complaint pursuant to Fed.R.Civ.P. 15. Post-judgment Rule 15
motions turn on the same factors as the Rule 59 inquiry.
Morse v. McWhorter, 290 F.3d 795, 799 (6th Cir.
2002) (“Where a timely motion to amend judgment is
filed under Rule 59(e), the Rule 15 and Rule 59 inquiries
turn on the same factors.”) (citations omitted).
only three situations justify a district court in altering or
amending its judgment: (1) to accommodate an intervening
change in controlling law; (2) to account for new evidence
not previously available; or (3) to correct a clear error of
law or to prevent a manifest injustice. Rodriguez v.
Tenn. Laborers Health & Welfare Fund, 89 F.
App'x 949, 959 (6th Cir. 2004) (citing Reich v. Hall
Holding Co., 990 F.Supp. 955, 965 (N.D. Ohio 1998)).
Rule 59 does not permit a party to relitigate matters that
were or could have been raised earlier, or to argue a new
legal theory. Howard v. United States, 533 F.3d 472,
475 (6th Cir. 2008) (citations omitted).
Rule 59 does not support the motion
contends that “[n]ew facts emerged after the filing of
the [c]omplaint, which [CLF] believes will resolve the
jurisdictional issue that formed the basis of the motion to
dismiss and [CLF] simply seeks to amend the [c]omplaint to
add these facts.” (Mot. at 111.) But the emergence of
new facts after the complaint is filed is not the standard.
“To constitute ‘newly discovered evidence, '
the evidence must have been previously unavailable”
during prior proceedings. Leisure Caviar, LLC v. U.S.
Fish & Wildlife Serv., 616 F.3d 612, 617 (6th Cir.
2010) (quoting GenCorp, Inc. v. Am. Int'l
Underwriters,178 F.3d 804, 834 (6th Cir. 1999));
see also Cameron v. Hess Corp., No. 2:12-CV-00168,
2013 WL 6157999, at *3 (S.D. Ohio Nov. 25, 2013) (“A