United States District Court, D. Arizona
G. Campbell United States District Judge
asks the Court to reconsider its order granting
Defendants' motion to dismiss. Doc. 77. The Court will
deny the motion.
in this district have identified four circumstances where a
motion for reconsideration will be granted: (1) the moving
party has discovered material differences in fact or law from
those presented to the Court at the time of its initial
decision, and the party could not previously have known of
the factual or legal differences through the exercise of
reasonable diligence; (2) material factual events have
occurred since the Court's initial decision; (3) there
has been a material change in the law since the Court's
initial decision; or (4) the moving party makes a convincing
showing that the Court failed to consider material facts that
were presented to the Court at the time of its initial
decision. See, e.g., Motorola, Inc. v.
J.B. Rodgers Mech. Contractors, Inc., 215 F.R.D. 581,
586 (D. Ariz. 2003). Motions for reconsideration are
disfavored, and they are not the place for parties to make
new arguments not raised in their original briefs. See
Nw. Acceptance Corp. v. Lynnwood Equip., Inc., 841 F.2d
918, 925-26 (9th Cir. 1988).
first argues that the Superior Court decision could not have
given rise to claim preclusion because it was a dismissal for
lack of jurisdiction. Plaintiff also argues that the
dismissal was not final. First, Plaintiff did not argue in
his response to Defendants' motion that the state-court
dismissal was for lack of subject matter jurisdiction
(see Doc. 45 at 4) and cannot raise that argument
for the first time in this motion for reconsideration.
Second, the state-court dismissal was not necessarily for
lack of subject matter jurisdiction. Defendants argued that
Arizona State University (“ASU”) has discretion
to determine whether a student's academic performance
meets program standards and has no legal duty to retain a
student whose performance is deficient. Doc. 23-1 at 3.
Defendants also argued that ASU's decision was not
subject to review under the Administrative Review Act (Doc.
23-1), but the Court did not mention that argument in its
ruling (Doc. 23-2 at 5-6). Third, the Superior Court decision
was expressly a final judgement under Rule 54(c) of the
Arizona Rules of Civil Procedure. See Doc. 23-2 at
Plaintiff argues that the Court incorrectly stated that he
sued four ASU employees in state court when he actually sued
only one. Plaintiff explains that state-court documents
naming four employees did not count because they never became
the operative complaint in state court. Even if this is true,
the basis for the Court's ruling was not dependent on the
number of employees sued in state court. The Court noted that
Plaintiff sued the state employees in state court and this
Court in their official capacities, and that “ASU
employees sued in their official capacities will necessarily
be in privity with one another and with Defendant ASU.”
Doc. 73 at 4.
Plaintiff argues that the Court should have applied the test
for claim preclusion in Garity v. APWU National Labor
Org., 828 F.3d 848, 855 (9th Cir. 2016). The Court does
not agree. “It is now settled that a federal court must
give to a state-court judgment the same preclusive effect as
would be given that judgment under the law of the State in
which the judgment was rendered.” Migra v. Warren
City Sch. Dist. Bd. of Educ., 465 U.S. 75, 81 (1984);
accord Ayers v. City of Richmond, 895 F.2d 1267,
1270 (9th Cir. 1990). The Court appropriately looked to
Arizona law to determine the preclusive effect of the
even if the Court had applied Garity - which
Plaintiff did not cite in his claim-preclusion argument in
this Court (Doc. 45 at 4-5) - the result would have been the
same. To determine if there is an identity of claims,
Garity looked to four factors: (1) whether the two
suits arise out of the same transactional nucleus of facts,
(2) whether rights or interests established in the prior
judgment would be destroyed or impaired by prosecution of the
second action, (3) whether the two suits involve infringement
of the same right; and (4) whether substantially the same
evidence is presented in the two actions. 828 F.3d at 855.
These factors show that claim preclusion was properly applied
here. First, this case and the state-court case clearly arose
from the same transactional nucleus of operative facts -
Plaintiff's termination from the ASU master's program
for reasons allegedly related to his mental disability.
Second, the state court held that Plaintiff could not
maintain his suit, and did so in the face of Plaintiff's
ADA arguments and his request for $500, 000 in damages. Doc.
71-1 at 5-8. Defendants' victory in that case would be
destroyed or impaired if Plaintiff were permitted to raise
the same issues in this court. Third, the two suits concerned
the same right - Plaintiff's claim that he should have
been permitted to continue in the master's program as
“a mentally handicapped student.” Doc. 71-1 at 7.
Fourth, substantially the same evidence applied in both
actions. Plaintiff argued in state court that he
“suffers from a mental disability and requested
accommodations for his disability, ” and that he was
terminated from the ASU program for complaining about the
lack of accommodations. Id. at 4. Substantially the
same facts are at issue here - Plaintiff claims that he is
disabled and was retaliated against for asserting his rights.
Doc. 35 at 1.
Plaintiff argues that he was wrongly denied an opportunity to
amend his complaint. But Plaintiff had already filed three
complaints in this case (Docs. 1, 26, 35) and had proposed a
fourth (Doc. 67), none of which stated a claim that was not
barred by claim preclusion.
Plaintiff argues that the Court acted improperly when it
required him to provide the Court with a copy of his
state-court response to the state-court motion to dismiss.
Plaintiff contends that the Court should have reviewed his
motion to withdraw that document and should have recused
itself from this case. See Doc. 76. Plaintiffs
motion to withdraw argued that the Court was without
justification in requiring the state-court document to be
filed. Clearly this is incorrect. The Court needed Plaintiffs
state-court filing in order to identify the issues that were
litigated in state court, and acted entirely within its
authority in requiring Plaintiff to file it. There is no
basis for recusal.
Plaintiff asserts that the Court acted improperly in ordering
him to stop sending emails to and calling chambers.
See Doc. 72. Plaintiffs abusive communications with
the Court's staff were entirely inappropriate, and the
Court acted properly in ordering him to communicate with the
Court only through filings in the docket.