United States District Court, W.D. Missouri, Central Division
NANETTE K. LAUGHREY, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
before the Court are plaintiff Myron Hubbard's motion to
reconsider, disqualify counsel, strike, and compel mediation,
Doc. 16, and defendant Missouri Department of Mental
Health's motion for sanctions, Doc. 21. For the following
reasons, both motions are denied.
Hubbard worked as a psychiatric nurse for the Missouri
Department of Mental Health (the “Department”)
until 2008, when he was denied leave and constructively
discharged. Thereafter, Mr. Hubbard brought Title VII
discrimination and Family Medical Leave Act claims against
the Department and others pertaining to his discharge.
See Hubbard v. St. Louis Psychiatric Rehab. Ctr.,
No. 11-2082, 2013 WL 4052908 (E.D. Mo. Aug. 12, 2013)
(Hubbard I). Following the dismissal of his
Complaint with prejudice in Hubbard I, Mr. Hubbard
brought another suit against the Department, this time
alleging violation of Title VI for the same conduct. His
complaint was dismissed with prejudice based on res judicata.
See Hubbard v. Missouri Dep't of Mental Health,
No. 15-722, 2016 WL 593585 (E.D. Mo. Feb. 12, 2016)
August 17, 2018, Mr. Hubbard, again proceeding pro se, filed
a third complaint in in the Circuit Court of Cole County,
Missouri, alleging that the Department 1) committed fraud on
the court in Hubbard I and II by
misrepresenting whether it receives federal funds for the
purpose of providing employment, resulting in a denial of Mr.
Hubbard's due process rights, and 2) violated Title VI,
and continues to violate Title VI through the Missouri
Attorney General's Office and the South Carolina
Department of Mental Health's retaliatory acts against
Department removed the case, Doc. 1, and on December 19,
2018, the Court granted the Department's motion to
dismiss on the grounds that Mr. Hubbard's discrimination
and fraud claims were barred by res judicata and that he
failed to state a claim for retaliation by failing to show
that the Department took materially adverse employment action
against him. Doc. 14.
Hubbard now asks the Court to reconsider its ruling on the
Department's motion to dismiss in addition to seeking to
disqualify the Department's counsel, strike their filings
in this case, and compel mediation. The Department in turn
seeks sanctions against Mr. Hubbard.
Motion to Reconsider, Disqualify, Strike, and Compel
Court construes Mr. Hubbard's motion to reconsider as a
motion to alter or amend judgment pursuant to Federal Rule of
Civil Procedure 59(e). Schoffstall v. Henderson, 223
F.3d 818, 827 (8th Cir. 2000). Rule 59(e) motions serve the
limited function of correcting “manifest errors of law
or fact” or “present[ing] newly discovered
evidence.” United States v. Metro St. Louis Sewer
Dist., 440 F.3d 930, 933 (8th Cir. 2006). They
“may not [however] be used to relitigate old matters,
or to raise arguments or present evidence that could have
been raised prior to the entry of judgment.” Exxon
Shipping Co. v. Baker, 554 U.S. 471, n.5 (2008)
(quotations omitted); see also Schoffstall, 223 F.3d
at 827 (affirming denial of motion to reconsider where motion
“merely restated” arguments made in opposition to
summary judgment and “provided no additional reasons
why [the judgment] was inappropriate”).
Hubbard asks the Court to reconsider its ruling that Mr.
Hubbard's claims were barred by res judicata by again
arguing that the Department has “procured all its
Judgements through Fraud.” Doc. 16 (Motion for
Reconsideration), ¶ 45. Specifically, Mr. Hubbard argues
that in this and prior cases, the Department
“fraudulently failed to disclose relevant information
regarding material facts of Title IV, ” id. at
¶¶ 10, “made false statements regarding
jurisdiction, ” id. at ¶¶ 12-13, and
“created fraud through false arguments or opinions,
” id. at ¶ 17.
heart of his motion, Mr. Hubbard takes issue with, and labels
as “fraud, ” the legal strategy and legal
arguments advanced by the Department. However, “the
assertion of a legal position . . . [is] not . . .
fraud or misstatement.” Roger Edwards, LLC v.
Fiddes & Son Ltd., 427 F.3d 129, 137 (1st Cir. 2005)
(emphasis in original); see also Smithrud v. City of St.
Paul, No. 10-4452, 2012 WL 4129299, at *8 (D. Minn.
Sept. 18, 2012), (“[A]n attorney's good faith legal
arguments, especially meritorious arguments that are affirmed
on appeal, do not constitute fraud.”),
aff'd, 746 F.3d 391 (8th Cir. 2014).
Mr. Hubbard presents no new facts or evidence in support of
reconsideration. Instead, he reiterates arguments of fraud
raised in response to the Department's motion to dismiss,
Doc. 12, pp. 2, 8, 20, and previously adjudicated in
Hubbard II, 2016 WL 593585, at *3-4. Although Mr.
Hubbard asserts that reconsideration is necessary in order to
“avert violating Missouri Laws 575.020, ” Doc.
16, ¶ 46, section 575.020 addresses the crime of
“concealing an offense, ” for which Mr. Hubbard
lacks standing to assert a claim. See Linda R.S. v.
Richard D., 410 U.S. 614, 619 (1973) (“[I]n
American jurisprudence at least, a private citizen lacks a
judicially cognizable interest in the prosecution . . . of
another.”); Jones v. Clinton, 206 F.3d 811,
812 (8th Cir. 2000) (finding a private party has no standing
to prosecute a criminal action). For these reasons the Court
denies Mr. Hubbard's motion to reconsider. Because the
Court finds it inappropriate to revisit its final judgment
dismissing Mr. Hubbard's Complaint, it is also not in a
position to compel mediation.
Hubbard also asks the Court to disqualify the Missouri
Attorney General and Eileen Ruppe Krispin as counsel and
strike their entries in this case because “they are
necessary witnesses, have been accused of criminal, civil and
professional misconduct [by Mr. Hubbard], ha[ve] personal
interest and conflict of interest in the case.” Doc.
16, ¶¶ 58, 77. Such a motion is subject to
“particularly strict judicial scrutiny.”
Harker v. Comm'r, 82 F.3d 806, 808 (8th Cir.
1996) (quotations omitted). Here, however, Mr. Hubbard has
failed to allege conduct pertaining to the entire Missouri
Attorney General's Office and has made only conclusory
allegations of wrongdoing against Ms. Krispin, which are
entirely unsupported by evidence. Such conclusory allegations
are insufficient to support a motion to disqualify. See
Id. (declining to impute disqualification to entire
Office of District Counsel); Board of Regents of Univ. of
Neb. v. BASF Corp., No. 04-3356, 2006 WL 2385363, at *11
(D. Neb., Aug. 17, 2006) (denying motion to ...