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Roche Diagnostics Corp. v. Priority Healthcare Corp.

United States District Court, N.D. Alabama, Southern Division

October 11, 2019

ROCHE DIAGNOSTICS CORP., et al., Plaintiffs,
v.
PRIORITY HEALTHCARE CORP., et al., Defendants.

          MEMORANDUM OPINION

          KARON OWEN BOWDRE, CHIEF UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE

         This matter comes before the court on Plaintiff Roche's motion for partial reconsideration of the court's memorandum opinion and order of September 27, 2019. (Doc. 215.) Roche argues that the court improperly dismissed seven Defendants from the case for lack of personal jurisdiction. (Doc. 215 at 1-2.) Because the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act provides an independent basis for personal jurisdiction that the court failed to consider, Roche contends that the court committed a manifest error of law by dismissing without prejudice these seven Defendants. Four of the seven dismissed Defendants-Phillip Anthony Minga, Wesley Minga, Christopher Daniel Knotts, and Daniel Baker-filed an opposition memo (Doc. 217) that the other three dismissed defendants-Geneva Oswalt, Melissa Sheffield, and Ashley Tigrett- joined. (Doc. 219.) Roche also filed a reply to Defendants' opposition brief. (Doc. 221.)

         The issue before the court is whether Roche, in a motion to reconsider, can assert a legal argument that it failed to raise at the motion-to-dismiss stage. Because Roche failed to present a statutory personal jurisdiction argument prior to the court's ruling on Defendants' 12 motions to dismiss, the court finds that Roche waived the issue and will DENY Roche's motion.

         Background

         Roche's Amended Complaint features eight counts and 40 Defendants. Roche brought Count One, a RICO claim, against Priority Healthcare Corporation and five individual Defendants: Konie Minga, Phillip Minga, Sammy Carson, William Austin, and Melissa Sheffield.

         In its Amended Complaint, Roche provides the following reasons why this court should exercise personal jurisdiction over the Individual Defendants:

The Court has personal jurisdiction over the Defendants because Defendants have their principal place of business in Alabama; own or exercise control over businesses operating in Alabama; perpetrate fraudulent activities in, and through businesses operating in, Alabama; and/or knowingly participate in a fraudulent scheme employing pharmacies and pharmacists operating in Alabama.

(Doc. 90 at 14.) This paragraph composed the Amended Complaint's entire treatment of the matter of personal jurisdiction. Roche's response brief expounded on these arguments and contended that this court possessed personal jurisdiction over the Individual Defendants based on either of two theories: (1) the Individual Defendants participated in a conspiracy that included overt acts within the forum state, and/or (2) the Individual Defendants personally participated in torts that occurred in Alabama. (Doc. 141 at 34-38.) Nowhere in its brief did Roche ever assert RICO as a basis for jurisdiction over the Defendants.

         In their motions to dismiss, seven of the 11 Individual Defendants-including three of five individual RICO Defendants, Phillip Minga, William Austin, and Mellissa Sheffield- argued that neither of these theories applied and asked the court for dismissal based on lack of personal jurisdiction. The other four Individual Defendants waived the issue by failing to raise the matter of personal jurisdiction.

         When ruling on Defendants' motions to dismiss, the court considered both the conspiracy and tortious conduct theories and determined that neither theory subjected the seven Individual Defendants to personal jurisdiction in this court. (Doc. 212 at 12-16.) The court dismissed all seven from the case without prejudice but allowed the RICO claim to proceed against the Defendants who failed to challenge personal jurisdiction.

         At no time prior to the instant motion did Roche present any argument concerning the RICO statute's nationwide service-of-process provision.

         Standard

         Roche brings this motion to reconsider pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 59(e). A motion to reconsider presents “an extraordinary remedy [that] is employed sparingly.” Rueter v. Merrill Lynch, Pierce, Fenner & Smith, Inc.,440 F.Supp.2d 1256, 1267-68 (N.D. Ala. 2006). A party cannot use a motion for reconsideration “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, 485 n.5 (2008). Rather, only “newly discovered evidence or manifest errors of law or fact” justify granting such a ...


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