United States District Court, D. Kansas
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER
D. Crabtree, United States District Judge.
matter comes before the court on defendants Rural Community
Insurance Company and Scott Laaveg's Motion to Reconsider
(Doc. 36). It asks the court to reconsider the court's
February 28, 2019 Memorandum and Order. Doc. 34. That Order
compelled arbitration between the parties and determined the
parties' arbitration agreement required the arbitrator to
determine the scope of the arbitrable claims. The Order also
stayed the claims asserted against defendant Scott Laaveg
until the other parties have completed their arbitration
reasons explained below, the court finds defendants'
arguments do not merit a different outcome. The court thus
denies defendants' motion.
Kevin Struss, Struss Farms, L.L.C., and Struss & Cook
Farms bring several tort claims and a breach of contract
claim against defendants Rural Community Insurance Company
(“RCIC”) and Scott Laaveg, RCIC's Claim
representative. These claims generally arise from a
contractual relationship between the parties. Namely, RCIC
insured plaintiffs' crops under several insurance
contracts issued under a federal crop insurance program. The
Complaint alleges that defendants breached the insurance
contract, defamed plaintiffs, committed false light invasion
of privacy, acted negligently, and tortuously interfered with
plaintiffs' prospective business advantage or
defendants moved the court to dismiss the Complaint under
Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(3) and 12(b)(6), and, alternatively, to
compel arbitration. Doc. 7. Plaintiffs responded that they
were willing to proceed to arbitration and made a
“counter-motion” to compel arbitration.
See Docs. 16 and 18. The court ordered supplemental
briefing on the issue of the arbitration clause's scope.
Doc. 30. Thereafter, the court compelled arbitration of all
plaintiffs' claims against RCIC and stayed the claims
against Mr. Laaveg until the arbitration proceedings had
completed. Doc. 34. Defendants ask the court to reconsider
its Order. Doc. 36.
Rule 7.3(b) requires a movant to base its motion for
reconsideration on: “(1) an intervening change in
controlling law; (2) the availability of new evidence; or (3)
the need to correct clear error or prevent manifest
injustice.” A motion to reconsider “is not
appropriate to revisit issues already addressed or advance
arguments that could have been raised in prior
briefing.” Ferluga v. Eickhoff, 236 F.R.D.
546, 549 (D. Kan. 2006) (citing Servants of Paraclete v.
Does, 204 F.3d 1005, 1012 (10th Cir. 2000)). So,
“a motion for reconsideration is appropriate [only]
where the court has misapprehended the facts, a party's
position, or the controlling law.” Id. (citing
Servants of Paraclete, 204 F.3d at 1012). “The
decision whether to grant a motion to reconsider is committed
to the district court's discretion.”
Coffeyville Res. Ref. & Mktg., LLC v. Liberty Surplus
Ins. Corp., 748 F.Supp.2d 1261, 1264 (D. Kan. 2010)
(citing In re Motor Fuel Temperature Sales Practices
Litig., 707 F.Supp.2d 1145, 1166 (D. Kan. 2010));
see also Brumark Corp. v. Samson Res. Corp., 57 F.3d
941, 944 (10th Cir. 1995) (noting “the decision to
grant reconsideration is committed to the sound discretion of
the district court”).
motion contends that the court should reconsider its February
28, 2019 Order “because the arbitration of both the
contract and tort claims in this case would unduly result in
clear error and manifest injustice . . . .” Doc. 37 at
2. They assert the court erred when it referred both the
contract and tort claims to arbitration and it should have
dismissed plaintiffs' claims for “extra-contractual
damages.” Id. at 3, 5. The court addresses
each of defendants' arguments below.
Referring contract and tort claims to arbitration was not
assert the court erred by compelling “plaintiffs and
RCIC to arbitrate all the claims in the Complaint - not just
the breach of contract claim.” Doc. 37 at 3.
Specifically, defendants contend the court failed to consider
the effect of two subsections of the American Arbitration
Association rules cited by Rule 20(a)-subsections 20(c) and
(f). According to defendants, Rule 20(c) and (f), as
incorporated into Rule 20(a), “expressly limit the
applicability of the AAA's rules” and limit the
arbitrator's jurisdiction over tort and state law claims.
Id. at 3.
problem with defendants' argument is that they never made
it in their original Motion to Dismiss nor in any subsequent
filing. Also, defendants had a bonus opportunity to raise
this argument when the court asked for supplemental briefing
about the scope of the arbitration clause. Doc. 30. But
defendants didn't raise the argument in that submission
either. A motion for reconsideration “is not [an]
appropriate [device] to . . . advance arguments that could
have been raised in prior briefing.” Ferluga,
236 F.R.D. at 549. Relying on Belnap v. IASIS
Healthcare, 844 F.3d 1272, 1281 (10th Cir. 2017), the
court concluded that the AAA's rules govern the
parties' arbitration agreement under their Common Crop
Insurance Policies. Doc. 34 at 6. And the court explained
those rules provide the arbitrator with the authority to
decide the scope of the arbitrable issues between the
parties. Id. The court declines to reconsider its
holding referring all claims in the Complaint against
defendant RCIC to arbitration.
The court continues the stay for plaintiffs'