U.S. District Court for Eastern District of Michigan Makes a Major Change to Its Local Rule Regarding Motions for Reconsideration

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Published on: June 2, 2022

The United States District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan routinely considers the substance of local court rules and periodically makes changes to the rules. As of December 1, 2021, the Court modified Local Rule 7.1(h), which pertains to Motions for Reconsideration. 

Local Rule 7.1(h) now expressly prohibits parties from filing a motion for reconsideration of a final order closing a case or from a judgment. A party seeking reconsideration of a final order or judgment must instead file the motion pursuant to FRCP 59(e) [Motion to Alter or Amend a Judgment] or FRCP 60(b) [Relief from a Judgment or Order-Grounds for Relief from a Final Judgment, Order, or Proceeding]. Local Rule 7.1(h) now takes a hard line by stating: “The court will not grant reconsideration of such an order or judgment under this rule.” (Emphasis added).

The revised local rule also raises the bar for motions seeking reconsideration of a non-final order, first stating that such motions are disfavored. If such a motion is brought, it must be filed within 14 days of the order being entered by the court and will be granted only if:

  1. The court made a mistake, correcting the mistake changes the outcome of the prior decision, and the mistake was based on the record and law before the court at the time of its prior decision; or
  2. An intervening change in controlling law warrants a different outcome; or
  3. New facts warrant a different outcome and the new facts could not have been discovered with reasonable diligence before the prior decision.

The previous version of Local Rule 7.1(h) defined the grounds for motions for reconsideration in more fluid terms requiring “palpable defect by which the court and the parties…have been misled,” but the new verbiage creates a defined criteria to guide parties in their filings and gives the court a structure for its decision. 

Judge Ludington considered the new version of Local Rule 7.1(h) in Hillman Power Co., LLC v. On-Site Equipment Maintenance, Inc., 2022 WL 193598 (E.D. Mich., January 21, 2022), analyzing three arguments in a motion for reconsideration, which happened to fit squarely under parts A, B, and C of the new criteria. On the first argument, Judge Ludington found the plaintiff did not follow the proper procedures for identifying experts, which was proper grounds for barring the expert witness, and that the plaintiff did not identify any error in the application of law, denying the argument. On the second argument Judge Ludington found that the caselaw cited in movant’s brief was not binding or precedential, no change in controlling law means no different outcome, so this argument was denied. On the third argument, Judge Ludington found that movant’s “new facts” were discoverable before the prior decision (they were actually a matter of public record), so the final argument was denied as well.

The final change to Local Rule 7.1(h) prevents parties from filing successive motions for reconsideration:  “A motion to reconsider an order denying a motion for reconsideration may not be filed.” 

The Miller Law Firm attorneys regularly practice in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan and have exceptional familiarity with the court’s local rules. For answers to your questions, contact us today.

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