United States District Court, D. Idaho
THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, ex. rel. RAFTER H CONSTRUCTION, LLC, an Idaho limited liability company, and NEAL HIKIDA, Plaintiffs,
BIG-D CONSTRUCTION CORP, a Utah corporation, and BIG-D CORPORATION, a Utah corporation and DOE DEFENDANTS 1-20, Defendants.
MEMORANDUM DECISION AND ORDER
C. Nye Chief U.S. District Court Judge
before the Court is Plaintiffs/Relators, Rafter H
Construction, LLC, and Neal Hikida's
(“Plaintiffs”) Motion for Reconsideration. Dkt.
26. Having reviewed the record and briefs, the Court finds
that the facts and legal arguments are adequately presented.
Accordingly, in the interest of avoiding further delay, and
because the Court finds that the decisional process would not
be significantly aided by oral argument, the Court will
decide the Motion without oral argument. Dist. Idaho Loc.
For the reasons set forth below, the Court finds good cause
to GRANT the Motion.
underlying facts of the case are not overly relevant to the
current motion. That said, the Court fully outlined the
substantive facts in its prior Decision (Dkt. 25) and
incorporates the same herein by reference.
October 24, 2018, the Court issued its Memorandum Decision
and Order granting Plaintiffs' Motion for an Award of
Costs and Attorneys' Fees. In that Decision, the Court
found that Plaintiffs were entitled to their requested fees
and costs under existing settlement agreements as well as the
False Claims Act qui tam provisions. See 31 U.S.C.
§ 3730(d)(1). The Court struggled, however, to determine
whether to direct the award to Plaintiffs themselves or
Plaintiffs' counsel. Ultimately, the Court determined
that the proper course of action was to award the fees and
costs to Plaintiffs (not Plaintiffs' counsel directly)
and furthermore, that the award was to be used as an
“off-set” of pre-existing debt obligations
between the parties.
filed the instant motion asking the Court to reconsider its
prior decision and instead direct that the award go to
Plaintiffs' Counsel directly. Plaintiffs proffer three
reasons for their request: “(1) Relators assigned their
right to an award of costs and attorneys' fees to
counsel; (2) there was no ‘debt' or judgment
against Relator / Plaintiff Neal Hikida, and therefore any
set off is improper and without any basis; and (3) allowing
Defendants a right of set off rewards them for the very fraud
perpetrated against the government and thwarts the aims,
goals, and intent of the False Claims Act, 31 U.S.C. §
3729.” Dkt. 26-1, at 2.
take issue with each of Plaintiffs' arguments, but most
strongly oppose the motion on its face, alleging that the
motion is not properly before the Court in the first place.
After outlining the applicable legal standard in this case,
the Court will begin with a discussion regarding motions to
reconsider generally and then address the substance of
do not initially state a rule upon which they base their
request for relief. In their reply brief, however, they
mention Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 54(b) which outlines
[A]ny order or other decision, however designated, that
adjudicates fewer than all the claims or the rights and
liabilities of fewer than all the parties does not end the
action as to any of the claims or parties and may be revised
at any time before the entry of a judgment adjudicating all
the claims and all the parties' rights and liabilities.
light of the posture of this case-specifically that this case
itself is settled-the Court is not entirely sure that Rule
54(b) provides an appropriate avenue for reconsideration.
This aside, the Court is not without options. As Defendants
correctly note, Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 59 does
“permit a district court to reconsider and amend a
previous order.” Carroll v. Nakatani, 342 F.3d
934, 945 (9th Cir. 2003). The Ninth Circuit has cautioned,
however, that this Rule offers an “extraordinary
remedy, to be used sparingly in the interests of finality and
conservation of judicial resources.” Id.
(quoting 12 James Wm. Moore et al., Moore's Federal
Practice § 59.30 (3d ed. 2000)).
“a losing party cannot use a Rule 59(e) motion to
relitigate old matters or to raise arguments that could have
been raised before the entry of judgment.” Coffelt
v. Yordy, No. 1:16-CV-00190-CWD, 2016 WL 9724059, at *1
(D. Idaho Nov. 30, 2016); see also Sch. Dist. No. 1J,
Multnomah Cnty. v. ACandS, Inc., 5 F.3d 1255, 1263 (9th
Rule 59, “there are four limited grounds upon
which” a district court may grant a motion for
reconsideration: “(1) the motion is necessary to
correct manifest errors of fact or law; (2) the moving party
presents newly discovered evidence; (3) reconsideration is
necessary to prevent manifest injustice; or (4) there is an
intervening change in the law.” Coffelt, 2016
WL 9724059 at *1 (citing Turner v. Burlington N. Santa Fe
R.R. Co., 338 F.3d 1058, 1063 (9th Cir. 2003)).
district court has inherent authority and wide latitude in
controlling-among other things-its calendar and docket, as
well as its orders and decisions. Ultimately, it is the
Court's duty “to secure the just, speedy, and
inexpensive determination of every action and
proceeding.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 1. In certain circumstances,
this may mean that a Court must reconsider, modify, or even
reverse a prior determination.
Court does not take reconsideration lightly. Time, expense,
and precedent are all concerns the Court must weigh when a
party seeks reconsideration of a prior order or decision. To
succeed on a motion to reconsider, a party must first
establish that they have the right to ask for
reconsideration; that is to say, they must establish that one
or more of the limited grounds for reconsideration are
present. If that is ...