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United States v. 2035 Inc.

United States District Court, D. South Dakota, Western Division

November 30, 2017

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, Plaintiff,
v.
2035 INC., a corporation, and ROBERT L. LYTLE, an individual d/b/a 2035 PMA and QLASERS PMA, Defendants.

          ORDER DENYING MOTION TO ALTER OR AMEND JUDGMENT AND DENYING OTHER MOTIONS

          KAREN E. SCHREIER, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE

         Defendant Robert L. Lytle moves the court to alter or amend its judgment entered on May 4, 2017. Dockets 194 and 194-1.[1] Lytle has also filed several other motions that primarily seek to challenge the court's personal and subject-matter jurisdiction. Dockets 197, 200, 201, 205, and 206. Plaintiff, the United States, opposes Lytle's motions. For the reasons that follow, the court denies each of Lytle's pending motions.

         BACKGROUND

         The procedural history of this case is set forth more fully in the court's May 4, 2017 order. See Docket 193 at 1-6. The following facts are relevant to the pending motions:

         On October 21, 2014, the United States filed a complaint seeking a permanent injunction against the defendants under 21 U.S.C. § 332(a) for alleged violations of the Federal Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act (FDCA) and a motion for a preliminary injunction seeking to enjoin defendants from violating the FDCA during the pendency of the proceedings. Dockets 1 and 4. Lytle responded to the complaint and request for a preliminary injunction by challenging the court's personal and subject-matter jurisdiction. Dockets 37 and 40. On January 14, 2015, Chief Judge Jeffrey L. Viken entered an order denying Lytle's jurisdictional challenges and entering a preliminary injunction against defendants. Dockets 47 and 48. On January 26, 2015, Lytle filed an interlocutory appeal to the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals challenging the court's jurisdiction and the preliminary injunction. Docket 54.

         While Lytle's interlocutory appeal was pending, litigation on the United States's request for a permanent injunction continued. A bench trial on the permanent injunction was held on March 3-4, 2015. Docket 81. On April 15-16, 2015, a show cause hearing was held to determine whether to hold Lytle in contempt of court for alleged violations of the preliminary injunction. Docket 103. This hearing, however, was continued until October 6, 2015, so Lytle could retain counsel to deal with potential Fifth Amendment consequences resulting from the United States's decision to call Lytle adversely. Id.

         On August 21, 2015, the Eighth Circuit issued an opinion on Lytle's interlocutory appeal. Lytle v. U.S. Dep't of Health & Human Servs., 612 F. App'x 861 (8th Cir. 2015) (per curiam). In its opinion, the Eighth Circuit affirmed Chief Judge Viken's finding that the court had jurisdiction over Lytle and his actions. Id. at 861-62. But the Eighth Circuit remanded the preliminary injunction for the court to determine “whether a more narrowly-tailored injunction might be sufficient . . . .” Id. at 863. The Eighth Circuit also observed that reconsideration of the preliminary injunction on remand “may become moot” by the entry of a permanent injunction. Id.

         Following the Eighth Circuit's decision, Lytle filed a motion in the district court seeking reconsideration of the preliminary injunction. Docket 128. The motion raised eight objections that challenged the scope of the preliminary injunction. Id.

         On October 6, 2015, the show cause hearing resumed. Docket 136. At the hearing, after a discussion between the court and the parties, it was agreed that Chief Judge Viken would rule on each of Lytle's eight objections to the preliminary injunction and enter an order regarding a permanent injunction incorporating his rulings on Lytle's objections.[2] Docket 154 at 24-34. This in turn negated the need for Chief Judge Viken to determine whether to hold Lytle in contempt of court for allegedly violating the terms of the preliminary injunction because, as the Eighth Circuit had noted, entry of a permanent injunction would moot any issues remaining regarding the preliminary injunction. Id. Chief Judge Viken entered a permanent injunction in favor of the United States at the conclusion of this hearing. Docket 138. The permanent injunction was amended on October 13, 2015, to make grammatical and nonsubstantive revisions. Docket 139 (Amended Permanent Injunction).

         Following the entry of the Amended Permanent Injunction, Lytle's attorney withdrew from his representation of Lytle with Lytle's consent. Docket 143. On December 3, 2015, Lytle filed a notice of appeal of the Amended Permanent Injunction. Docket 147. On September 6, 2016, the Eighth Circuit affirmed Chief Judge Viken's entry of the Amended Permanent Injunction. United States v. 2035, Inc., 668 F. App'x 679 (8th Cir. 2016) (per curiam). In the opinion, the Eighth Circuit found that the court had jurisdiction to enter a permanent injunction. Id. at 679 (citations omitted). The Eighth Circuit also concluded that Chief Judge Viken's Amended Permanent Injunction order was sufficiently tailored to address Lytle's violations of the FDCA. Id. (citations omitted).

         Following the Eighth Circuit's affirmance of the Amended Permanent Injunction, Lytle filed nine additional motions challenging the validity of the Amended Permanent Injunction and the court's jurisdiction over him.[3]Dockets 164, 165, 170, 180, 181, 185, 187, 189, 191. On May 4, 2017, this court entered an order denying each of Lytle's attempts to avoid enforcement of the Amended Permanent Injunction and concluding that jurisdiction over Lytle and his case was appropriate. See Docket 193.

         LEGAL STANDARD

         The law of the case doctrine is “a means to prevent the relitigation of a settled issue in a case.” Gander Mountain Co. v. Cabela's, Inc., 540 F.3d 827, 830 (8th Cir. 2008) (citing United States v. Bartsh, 69 F.3d 864, 866 (8th Cir. 1995)). “The doctrine ‘requires courts to adhere to decisions made in earlier proceedings in order to ensure uniformity of decisions, protect the expectations of the parties, and promote judicial economy.' ” Id. (quoting Bartsh, 69 F.3d at 866). “ ‘[T]he doctrine posits that when a court decides upon a rule of law, that decision should continue to govern the same issues in subsequent stages in the same case.' ” Thompson v. Comm'r, 821 F.3d 1008, 1011 (8th Cir. 2016) (quoting Gander Mountain Co., 540 F.3d at 830). “Although a court should not reopen issues already decided, if a prior decision ‘is clearly erroneous and would work a manifest injustice, ' reopening may be appropriate.” Id. (quoting Wong v. Wells Fargo Bank, N.A., 789 F.3d 889, 898 (8th Cir. 2015) cert. denied 136 S.Ct. 507 (2015)).

         “Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 59(e) was adopted to clarify a district court's power to correct its own mistakes in the time period immediately following entry of judgment.” Chapman v. Hiland Partners GP Holdings, LLC, 862 F.3d 1103, 1110-11 (8th Cir. 2017) (quoting Innovative Home Health Care, Inc. v. P.T.-O.T. Assocs. of the Black Hills, 141 F.3d 1284, 1286 (8th Cir. 1998)). “Rule 59(e) motions serve the limited function of correcting ‘manifest errors of law or fact or to present newly discovered evidence.' ” United States v. Metro. St. Louis Sewer Dist., 440 F.3d 930, 933 (8th Cir. 2006) (quoting Hagerman v. Yukon Energy Corp., 839 F.2d 407, 414 (8th Cir. 1988)). “ ‘Such motions cannot be used to introduce new evidence, tender new legal theories, or raise arguments which could have been offered or ...


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