United States District Court, D. Maryland
ROBERT HOROWITZ, et al.
FEDERAL INSURANCE COMPANY d/b/a Chubb & Son
DEBORAH K. CHASANOW UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
pending and ready for resolution in this insurance case is a
motion to alter or amend the court’s judgment filed by
Plaintiffs Robert and Cathy Horowitz
(“Plaintiffs”). (ECF No. 16). The issues have
been fully briefed, and the court now rules, no hearing being
deemed necessary. Local Rule 105.6. For the following
reasons, Plaintiffs’ motion will be denied.
factual and procedural background to this case may be found
in the memorandum opinion issued on January 4, 2016.
(See ECF No. 14, at 1-2). That opinion and an
accompanying order granted a motion to dismiss filed by
Defendant Federal Insurance Company
(“Defendant”). On February 1, Plaintiffs filed
the pending motion pursuant to Fed.R.Civ.P. 59(e). (ECF No.
16). Defendants responded (ECF No. 17), and Plaintiffs
replied (ECF No. 18).
Standard of Review
have recognized three limited grounds for granting a motion
for reconsideration under Rule 59(e): (1) to accommodate an
intervening change in controlling law; (2) to account for new
evidence not previously available; or (3) to correct clear
error of law or prevent manifest injustice. See United
States ex. rel. Becker v. Westinghouse Savannah River
Co., 305 F.3d 284, 290 (4th Cir. 2002)
(citing Pacific Ins. Co. v. Am. Nat’l Fire Ins.
Co., 148 F.3d 396, 403 (4th Cir. 1998)).
59(e) motion “may not be used to relitigate old
matters, or to raise arguments or present evidence that could
have been raised prior to the entry of judgment.”
Pac. Ins. Co., 148 F.3d at 403 (quoting 11 Wright,
et al., Federal Practice & Procedure § 2810.1, at
127-28 (2d ed. 1995)); see also Medlock v. Rumsfeld,
336 F.Supp.2d 452, 470 (D.Md. 2002), aff’d, 86
F.App’x 665 (4th Cir. 2004) (citation
omitted) (“To the extent that Plaintiff is simply
trying to reargue the case, he is not permitted to do so.
Where a motion does not raise new arguments, but merely urges
the court to ‘change its mind, ’ relief is not
authorized.”). “In general,
‘reconsideration of a judgment after its entry is an
extraordinary remedy which should be used
sparingly.’” Pac. Ins. Co., 148 F.3d at
403 (quoting Wright, et al., supra, § 2810.1,
assert that reconsideration is necessary “to prevent
clear errors of law and ensure adherence to the standard of
review that requires facts pleaded in the complaint to be
deemed true.” (ECF No. 16, at 1). Plaintiffs contend
that the complaint contained sufficient facts showing that
Defendant attempted to collect a consumer debt without
obtaining the license required by the Maryland Collection
Agency Licensing Act (“MCALA”). According to
Plaintiffs, the court incorrectly held that a defendant is
only required to obtain a license if it
“regularly” engages in the business of collecting
or soliciting consumer debt. (ECF No. 16, at 4-5). Plaintiffs
cite to Fontell v. Hassett, 870 F.Supp.2d 395, 409
(D.Md. 2012), a case in which Judge Williams held that an
entity may violate the MCALA even if it is not
“regularly” engaged in the collection business.
arguments and citation to Fontell are unpersuasive.
In the memorandum opinion, the court held that dismissal was
warranted for two basic reasons. First, Plaintiffs did not
“allege plausibly that Defendant is engaged in the
business of collecting or soliciting consumer debt
claims.” (ECF No. 14, at 7-8). Second, Plaintiffs did
not allege that “Defendant was ‘collecting or
attempting to collect an alleged debt’ sufficient to
state a viable claim under the [Maryland Consumer Debt
Collection Act (‘MCDCA’)].” (Id.
at 7). The court held that Plaintiffs’ complaint put
forth nothing more than unsupported “summary
assertions, ” which failed to show plausibly that
Defendant engaged in any sort of debt collection.
(Id. at 6). Contrary to Plaintiffs’
assertions, the court did not hold that a defendant must be
engaged in “regular” debt collection to be liable
for a violation of the MCALA. Rather, the court explained that
“the alleged facts show that Defendant funded
Selzer’s defense of the malpractice claim, ”
which was distinct from any collection attempt.
(Id.). Plaintiffs failed to plead sufficient facts
alleging that Defendants engaged in any debt collection,
which distinguishes this case from Fontell.
short, Plaintiffs’ motion is an attempt to relitigate
the motion to dismiss. Plaintiffs continue to assert that
Defendant engaged in debt collection, but this assertion is
not sufficiently supported by factual allegations.
Plaintiffs’ motion does not persuasively articulate how
dismissal was a clear error of law or manifest injustice.
“Plaintiff[s’] reiteration of prior arguments
reveals a ‘mere disagreement’ with the
court’s decision and thus is an insufficient basis for
[the] extraordinary remedy” of reconsideration under
Rule 59(e). Panowicz v. Hancock, No. DKC-11-2417,
2015 WL 5895528, at *3 (D.Md. Oct. 5, 2015) (citing
Hutchinson v. Staton, 994 F.2d 1076, 1082
(4th Cir. 1993)).
put forth two additional arguments, neither of which warrants
significant analysis. First, Plaintiffs assert that the
investigation by the Maryland Insurance Administration (the
“MIA”) is “inconsistent with this
court’s conclusions about pleaded facts” because
the MIA investigation has been ongoing for “more than
seven months.” (ECF No. 16, at 8-9). Defendant counters
that the MIA issued a letter to Plaintiffs on January 29,
2016 determining that Defendant did not violate Maryland
insurance law. (ECF Nos. 17, at 2; 17-1). It is not clear how
the investigation is relevant to the pending motion, and the
MIA’s January 29 letter, at the very least, undermines
Plaintiffs’ position. Finally, Plaintiffs’
contention that res judicata does not apply is
irrelevant. As the court held in its memorandum opinion,
res judicata may bar Plaintiffs’ claims, but
it is “not necessary . . . to consider this question in
light of Plaintiffs’ failure to state a claim under the
MCDCA.” (ECF No. 14, at 8 n.1). Accordingly, none of
Plaintiffs’ arguments warrant the extraordinary remedy
of altering or amending the court’s judgment under Rule
foregoing reasons, the motion to alter or amend the
court’s judgment filed by Plaintiffs will be ...