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Ness v. Samson Resources

United States District Court, D. North Dakota

May 20, 2019

Mr. and Mrs. Lloyd Odell Ness, Plaintiffs,
v.
Samson Resources, Samson Investments, KKR Kravis, Kohlberg, Roberts, Magnum Hunter, Bakken Hunter, ONEOK Partners, ONEOK, and OKS, Defendants.

          ORDER DENYING MOTION FOR RECONSIDERATION

          Charles S. Miller, Jr., Magistrate Judge.

         I. INTRODUCTION

         Plaintiffs in this action sought a litany of damages and other relief based largely on conclusory allegations that defendants engaged in an industry-wide scheme to defraud royalty and other mineral interest owners of the correct amounts owed to them on the production of natural gas, including from oil and gas wells in which plaintiffs have an interest. The court dismissed the case as to all defendants on various grounds in an order dated February 15, 2019. (Doc. No. 120). Before the court now is a motion by plaintiffs filed on March 28, 2019, in which they ask the court to reconsider the dismissal and allow the case to proceed on the merits. (Doc. No. 122). Defendants have filed responses in opposition to which plaintiffs have replied. (Doc Nos. 123-26).

         II. DISCUSSION

         Plaintiffs' motion to reconsider does not state which rule of procedure they are proceeding under. However, since judgment has been entered, the court will presume they are seeking to alter or amend a judgment pursuant to Fed.R.Civ.P. 59(e) or are seeking a motion for relief from a judgment or order pursuant to Rule 60(b).

         A. If the motion for reconsideration is pursuant to Rule 59(e), it is too late

         Fed. R. Civ. P. 59(e) provides that “[a] motion to alter or amend a judgment must be filed no later than 28 days after the entry of the judgment.” In this case, judgment was entered on February 15, 2019, which was the same date the court entered its order dismissing the case. (Doc. No. 121). And, as already noted, plaintiffs did not file their motion to reconsider until March 28, 2019-forty-one (41) days after entry of judgment. Not only is plaintiffs' motion untimely if plaintiffs are seeking to alter or amend the judgment under Rule 59(e), the court now lacks jurisdiction to consider the granting of relief under this Rule. S e e Sanders v. Clemco Industries, 862 F.2d 161, 168 (8th Cir. 1988).

         B. Plaintiffs have failed to demonstrate entitlement to relief under Rule 60(b)

         Fed.R.Civ.P. 60 allows a party to seek substantive relief from a final judgment for any of the reasons set forth in subdivision (b), which reads as follows:

(b) Grounds for Relief from a Final Judgment, Order, or Proceeding. On motion and just terms, the court may relieve a party or its legal representative from a final judgment, order, or proceeding for the following reasons:
(1) mistake, inadvertence, surprise, or excusable neglect;
(2) newly discovered evidence that, with reasonable diligence, could not have been discovered in time to move for a new trial under Rule 59(b);
(3) fraud (whether previously called intrinsic or extrinsic), misrepresentation, or misconduct ...

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