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Citizens Allied for Integrity and Accountability, Inc. v. Schultz

United States District Court, D. Idaho

February 1, 2019

CITIZENS ALLIED FOR INTEGRITY AND ACCOUNTABILITY, INC., et al., Plaintiffs,
v.
THOMAS M. SCHULTZ, et al., Defendants.

          MEMORANDUM DECISION AND ORDER

          B. Lynn Winmill U.S. District Court Judge

         INTRODUCTION

         Before the Court is Defendants' Motion to Alter or Amend the Judgement or Alternatively, for Partial Relief from the Judgment. Dkt. 43. Plaintiffs oppose the motion. Dkt. 50. The Court will assume familiarity with its Memorandum Decision and Order regarding summary judgment. Dkt. 36. For the following reasons, Defendants' Motion is DENIED.

         BACKGROUND

         The Court granted summary judgment to Plaintiffs Rachel Holtry, Charlene Quade, and Citizens Allied for Integrity and Accountability, Inc. in this case. Dkt. 36. Ms. Holtry and Ms. Quade are residential property owners in Fruitland, Idaho. Dkt. 1 at ¶¶ 3-4; Dkt. 12 at ¶¶ 3-4. Both refused to lease their mineral rights to gas operator Alta Mesa. Dkt. 31-3 at 34:15-22; Dkt. 31-5 at 29:6-30:21. Citizens Allied is an Idaho non- profit corporation composed of, among other people, individuals “whose property was subject to the recent application for spacing and integration orders” at issue in this litigation. Dkt. 1 at ¶ 2. Citizens Allied sued in an “associative and representational capacity … on behalf of its members affected by” the spacing and integration orders at issue in this litigation. Id.

         The Court will briefly note two other facets of its Memorandum Decision and Order regarding summary judgment. First, the Court determined that Plaintiffs had a protected property interest in the minerals under their land. Dkt. 36 at 12-15. To the extent that the Idaho Oil and Gas Conservation Act (“OGCA”) allows forced pooling and integration, the Idaho Department of Lands (“IDL”) is required, pursuant to the statute, to establish that the terms afforded to “deemed leased” landowners are “just and reasonable.” Idaho Code § 47-320; see also Dkt. 36 at 12-15.

         Second, as a remedy for Defendants' unlawful conduct, the Court ordered the Idaho Oil and Gas Conservation Commission (“Commission”) to rescind its Final Order, which consisted of both a spacing order and an integration order. Dkt. 36 at 22; Dkt. 24-5. Additionally, the Court ordered the Commission to “rescind the lease contracts of Plaintiffs Quade and Holtry … and hold a new hearing that complies with due process by explaining the factors that will be considered when determining whether the terms and conditions of an integration order are ‘just and reasonable.'” Dkt. 36 at 22-23.

         LEGAL STANDARD

         1. Motion to Alter or Amend the Judgment

          Reconsideration of a final judgment under Rule 59(e) is an “extraordinary remedy, to be used sparingly in the interests of finality and conservation of judicial resources.” Carroll v. Nakatani, 342 F.3d 934, 945 (9th Cir. 2003) (internal quotation marks omitted). 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. See Sch. Dist. No. 1J, Multnomah Cnty. v. ACandS, Inc., 5 F.3d 1255, 1263 (9th Cir. 1993). As a result, there are four limited grounds upon which a motion for reconsideration may be granted: (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. Turner v. Burlington N. Santa Fe R.R. Co., 338 F.3d 1058, 1063 (9th Cir. 2003).

         2. Motion for Relief from Judgment

          Similar to Rule 59(e), under Rule 60(b), the moving party is entitled to relief from judgment for the following reasons: (1) mistake, inadvertence, surprise, or excusable neglect; (2) newly discovered evidence; (3) fraud, misrepresentation, or other misconduct of an adverse party; (4) the judgment is void; (5) the judgment has been satisfied, released, or discharged; or (6) any other reason justifying relief from the operation of the judgment. Relief under the “catch-all” provision of Rule 60(b)(6) should be granted only in extraordinary circumstances “as an equitable remedy to prevent manifest injustice, ” United States v. State of Washington, 98 F.3d 1159, 1163 (9th Cir. 1996) (internal citation and punctuation omitted).

         ANALYSIS

         1. Plaintiffs Have A Property Interest in the Minerals ...


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