United States of America et al v. North East Medical Services, No. 4:2010cv01904 - Document 292 (N.D. Cal. 2016)

Court Description: ORDER DENYING MOTIONS TO ALTER, VACATE OR SET ASIDE JUDGMENT. Signed by Judge Claudia Wilken on 2/17/16. (jebS, COURT STAFF) (Filed on 2/17/2016)
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United States of America et al v. North East Medical Services Doc. 292 1 IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT 2 FOR THE NORTHERN DISTRICT OF CALIFORNIA 3 4 5 UNITED STATES OF AMERICA and STATE OF CALIFORNIA ex rel. LOI TRINH and ED TA-CHIANG HSU, 6 Plaintiffs, 7 No. C 10-1904 CW v. 8 NORTHEAST MEDICAL SERVICES, INC., 9 Defendant. ________________________________/ 10 United States District Court For the Northern District of California 11 NORTHEAST MEDICAL SERVICES, INC., No. C 12-2895 CW 12 Plaintiff, 13 v. 14 15 16 CALIFORNIA DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH CARE SERVICES, et al., Defendants. ________________________________/ 17 ORDER DENYING MOTIONS TO ALTER, VACATE OR SET ASIDE JUDGMENT (Docket Nos. 265 & 284 in 10-1904) (Docket Nos. 144 & 154 in 12-2895) 18 19 20 Northeast Medical Services, Inc. (NEMS), Defendant in case 21 number 10-19041 and Plaintiff in case number 12-2895, moves to 22 alter, vacate or set aside both the Court's judgment and 23 accompanying settlement term documents, Docket Nos. 256, 257 and 24 258, and Magistrate Judge Laurel Beeler's order enforcing the 25 parties' oral settlement agreement on which judgment rests, Docket 26 27 1 All docket numbers referenced refer to this case unless otherwise stated. 28 Dockets.Justia.com 1 Nos. 223, 225 and 229. NEMS asserts that such relief is proper 2 under Rule 59(e) and Rule 60(b) and (d) of the Federal Rules of 3 Civil Procedure. 4 denied. For the reasons discussed below, the motions are BACKGROUND 5 6 United States et al. v. NEMS, No. 10-1904, is a qui tam 7 action that arose out of a dispute concerning NEMS's financial 8 reporting obligations under the Medicaid Act. 9 No. 12-2895, related to the same dispute, against the United NEMS filed action States, the State of California, California's Department of 11 United States District Court For the Northern District of California 10 Healthcare Services (DHCS) and its director (collectively, the 12 Governments), seeking declaratory and injunctive relief. 13 District Court referred the cases to Magistrate Judge Beeler for a 14 settlement conference and, on September 4, 2014, NEMS reached an 15 oral settlement agreement with the Governments and Relators, 16 placed on the record in open court, Docket No. 189-1, Ex. 1, 17 Transcript September 4, 2014, that would result in dismissal of 18 both cases with prejudice, id. at 10. 19 The relevant terms are as follows. The In exchange for dismissal 20 of the case against it, NEMS agreed to pay eight million dollars 21 "plus 2.37 percent interest . . . from September 26, 2014." 22 at 8; Judgment ¶ 1. 23 resolution of its federal administrative remedies" with the United 24 States Department of Health and Human Services (USDHHS), id. at 8, 25 meaning, "essentially, whether or not the [USDHHS] would require a 26 corporate-integrity agreement," Docket No. 225, Amended Order 27 Enforcing Settlement at 3. 28 an auditing process to establish governing standards for reporting Id. The settlement was contingent upon "NEMS' NEMS and the DHCS agreed to implement 2 1 purposes. 2 parties also agreed that Magistrate Judge Beeler would retain 3 jurisdiction over the settlement agreement and that the settlement 4 agreement would be reduced to writing. 5 2014 at 8, 11. 6 agreement in the qui tam case "is the standard federal and state 7 False Claims Act[] Settlement agreement." 8 States and the State both accepted the settlement agreement 9 subject to the contingency of final supervisory approval. 10 United States District Court For the Northern District of California 11 Id. at 3; Transcript September 4, 2014 at 8-9. The Transcript September 4, Finally, the parties agreed that the settlement Id. at 9. The United Id. at 16-17. The parties were unable to reduce that settlement agreement 12 to writing because NEMS refused to sign the Governments' draft 13 settlement agreement. 14 Amended Order Enforcing Settlement at 7. On December 1, 2014, the Governments and the qui tam Relators 15 together filed a motion to enforce the settlement agreement. 16 Docket No. 189. 17 Attorney Melanie Proctor, attached to the motion, stated, "The 18 Governments have obtained the necessary approvals to enter into 19 the settlement agreement that was recorded on September 4, 2014." 20 Docket No. 247 (citing Docket No. 189-1, Proctor Dec.). 21 opposition was based on the USDHHS administrative remedies 22 contingency. 23 the settlement on the record, the federal government had informed 24 NEMS that "so long as it participated in the state audit process 25 set forth in the settlement agreement, it could satisfy the 26 requirements for a corporate integrity agreement" with the USDHHS. 27 Amended Order Enforcing Settlement at 6. 28 not sign the settlement agreement because the Governments provided The declaration of Assistant United States NEMS's Sometime after Magistrate Judge Beeler had placed 3 NEMS argued that it did 1 only a general outline of the audit proposal that would satisfy 2 the federal administrative remedies contingency. 3 However, NEMS "believed that a completed audit, or at least an 4 agreed-upon audit process . . . was a 'prerequisite' to NEMS's 5 signing the final settlement agreement." 6 No. 195, NEMS's Opposition to Motion to Enforce).2 7 Id. at 7-8. Id. at 8 (quoting Docket The parties consented to having Magistrate Judge Beeler hear 8 and decide the motion to enforce settlement herself, as opposed to 9 making a Report and Recommendation to the Court. At the hearing, Magistrate Judge Beeler stated that the USDHHS administrative 11 United States District Court For the Northern District of California 10 remedies contingency "was the only contingency beyond the . . . 12 ordinary contingency of . . . the signoff by the upper echelons on 13 the government side, both state and federal." 14 Transcript January 8, 2015 at 10-11. 15 contingency were satisfied, she continued, the agreement would be 16 binding and enforceable. 17 stated repeatedly that the contingency was satisfied, id. at 14- 18 15, 23, and Assistant United States Attorney Proctor agreed, id. 19 at 14-15. 20 permitted NEMS a few days to convene its Board so it could sign 21 the agreement on its own without her enforcement. 22 NEMS did not sign it. 23 24 25 26 27 Id. at 11. Docket No. 221, As long as the USDHHS Magistrate Judge Beeler At the end of the hearing, Magistrate Judge Beeler Id. at 32-36. Amended Order Enforcing Settlement at 7. Magistrate Judge Beeler issued an order enforcing the oral settlement agreement on January 13, 2015. 2 With respect to the Interestingly in light of the current dispute, NEMS distinguished the USDHHS contingency from the "'normal contingency' of the government approval, which occurs only after a final agreement has been signed." NEMS's Opposition to Motion to Enforce at 5 n.2. 28 4 1 USDHHS contingency, she held that "NEMS got what it bargained for: 2 dismissal of the case without a [corporate integrity agreement], 3 with a settlement number in a restitution landscape, and with the 4 litigation insulation of a False Claims Act release." 5 As she explained, the issue involved in the USDHHS contingency 6 "was only whether [USDHHS} would require, or waive, a corporate- 7 integrity agreement. 8 NEMS had wanted to include more precise, or different, conditions 9 into the settlement, it should have expressed that desire openly, Id. at 17. NEMS wanted waiver, and it got it . . . If objectively." 11 United States District Court For the Northern District of California 10 and their counsel had been "present with settlement authority" on 12 September 4, 2014, the date of the oral agreement. 13 noted above, the State and the United States had expressly 14 conditioned their acceptance on the "ordinary final supervisory 15 authority that is required" in a settlement agreement with a 16 government entity. 17 disputes that the contingency of approval was satisfied" because, 18 at the January 8, 2015 hearing, the federal and state governments 19 represented that they had the authority to sign the transcripts. 20 Id. at 6. 21 Id. at 14. The order also stated that the parties Id. at 5. Id. at 3. As The order explained that "no one On January 15, 2015, Magistrate Judge Beeler issued a Report 22 and Recommendation recommending that this Court enter judgment. 23 On the same day, NEMS filed a Notice of Appeal. 24 the Ninth Circuit dismissed the appeal for lack of jurisdiction 25 because there was not yet a final order. 26 On June 10, 2015, On June 17, 2015, Brian V. Frankel, an attorney for the 27 State, e-filed a letter to Magistrate Judge Beeler with the 28 following text: 5 1 This is to inform you that while NEMS' appeal was pending, and consistent with the parties' settlement agreement, as reflected on the September 4, 2014 hearing transcript, the State of California's Department of Health Care Services obtained "control agency approval" to proceed with implementing the terms of the September 4, 2014 settlement. 2 3 4 Docket No. 244, June 17, 2015 Frankel Letter. 6 Magistrate Judge Beeler directed the State to file a written 7 explanation regarding what effect, if any, this letter had on the 8 case. 9 stating that the January 13 order "included an incorrect reference 10 to the timing of when the State obtained control agency approval." 11 United States District Court For the Northern District of California 5 Docket No. 246, July 2, 2015 Frankel Letter. 12 explained that his June 17 letter "was a courtesy to advise the 13 Court and parties of the completion of that anticipated event." 14 Id. 15 agency approval had no effect on the enforceability of the 16 agreement. 17 The following day, Mr. Frankel filed an explanatory letter on July 2, 2015, Mr. Frankel Mr. Frankel stated that the timing of the State's control Id. The Governments explain the sequence of events resulting in 18 the June 17, 2015 letter as follows. In December 2014, when the 19 Governments and Relators moved to enforce the settlement 20 agreement, the United States had authority to settle and 21 understood that the State also had that authority. 22 268-1, Proctor Dec. ¶ 2. 23 Assistant United States Attorney Proctor to affix their electronic 24 signatures to the motion to enforce settlement. 25 The State reviewed Assistant United States Attorney Proctor's 26 declaration in support of the motion to enforce indicating that 27 the supervisory approvals had been obtained and, through an 28 oversight, agreed to its filing. Docket No. The State attorneys had authorized 6 Proctor Dec. ¶ 4. 1 NEMS's counsel filed several letters in response to Mr. 2 Frankel's letters. In particular, NEMS's counsel requested that 3 Magistrate Judge Beeler "direct the governments to produce the 4 bases for their representations" in the motion to enforce the 5 settlement agreement and supporting declarations and to produce 6 "documents and communications that show when, as to what, and from 7 whom the approval was sought." 8 Feldesman Letter; see also Docket No. 249, July 25, 2015 Feldesman 9 Letter. Docket No. 247, July 7, 2015 Magistrate Judge Beeler issued no such directive and, on August 6, 2015, NEMS's counsel filed another letter requesting 11 United States District Court For the Northern District of California 10 that she issue a directive or state why she did not issue a 12 directive. 13 Docket No. 253, August 6, 2015 Feldesman Letter. On July 22, 2015, Magistrate Judge Beeler scheduled a 14 conference call for July 29, 2015, to discuss the letters the 15 parties had filed. 16 on August 10, 2015, vacated the scheduled conference call. 17 Court reviewed the record de novo, including the above-described 18 letters, concluded that the cases were ripe for entry of judgment 19 and entered judgment. 20 She later rescheduled the conference call, and This On September 9, 2015, NEMS filed a motion to alter the 21 judgment or in the alternative to set aside the judgment or in the 22 alternative to vacate the order granting the motion to enforce the 23 settlement and the judgment. 24 DHCS's director and Relators filed timely responses. 25 its reply brief on September 30, 2015. 26 pending, NEMS filed another Rule 60(b) and (d) motion on December 27 23, 2015. Docket No. 284. Docket No. 265. The Governments, NEMS filed While this motion was The parties have filed timely 28 7 1 responses and replies. 2 The Court rules on both motions in this order. LEGAL STANDARDS 3 4 Rule 59(e) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure permits a 5 party to move to alter or amend a judgment no later than twenty- 6 eight days after the entry of judgment. 7 entry is "an extraordinary remedy which should be used sparingly." 8 Allstate Ins. Co. v. Herron, 634 F.3d 1101, 1111 (9th Cir. 2011). 9 Rule 59(e) amendments are appropriate if the district court is Amending a judgment after presented with newly discovered evidence or committed clear error 11 United States District Court For the Northern District of California 10 or the initial decision was manifestly unjust. 12 Litig., 516 F.3d 1095, 1100 (9th Cir. 2008). 13 In re Syncor ERISA Rule 60(b) allows a party to seek relief from a “final 14 judgment, order, or proceeding” when one of the following is 15 shown: “(1) mistake, inadvertence, surprise, or excusable neglect; 16 (2) newly discovered evidence that, with reasonable diligence, 17 could not have been discovered in time to move for a new trial 18 under Rule 59(b); (3) fraud (whether previously called intrinsic 19 or extrinsic), misrepresentation, or misconduct by an opposing 20 party; (4) the judgment is void; (5) the judgment has been 21 satisfied, released or discharged . . .; or (6) any other reason 22 that justifies relief.” 23 motions are not a substitute for appeal or a means of attacking 24 some perceived error of the court. 25 Corp. v. Dunnahoo, 637 F.2d 1338, 1341-42 (9th Cir. 1981). 26 Fed. R. Civ. P. 60(b). Rule 60(b) See Twentieth Century-Fox Film Rule 60(d) states that the "rule does not limit a court's 27 power to: . . . (3) set aside judgment for fraud on the court." 28 Fed. R. Civ. P. 60(d)(3). A court's inherent power to vacate or 8 1 amend a judgment obtained by fraud on the court is narrowly 2 construed, "applying only to fraud that defiles the court or is 3 perpetrated by officers of the court." 4 642 F.3d 1236, 1240 (9th Cir. 2011). DISCUSSION 5 6 I. The Judgment A. Rule 59(e) 7 8 9 United States v. Chapman, NEMS argues that the judgment should be altered or amended under Rule 59(e)(1) based on newly discovered evidence. However, the letters indicating that the State had belatedly obtained 11 United States District Court For the Northern District of California 10 control agency approval to implement the settlement were filed 12 with the Court in June and July of 2015, well before judgment was 13 entered in August. 14 be altered or amended under Rule 59(e)(1) is unavailing. Thus, NEMS's argument that the judgment should 15 NEMS is also not entitled to relief under Rule 59(e)(2)3 16 because the judgment was neither clearly erroneous nor manifestly 17 unjust. 18 "governmental supervisory approval was a fully disclosed and 19 bargained-for term . . . which was ultimately satisfied." 20 No. 267, State Response Br. at 3. 21 the settlement terms relating to obtaining supervisory approval 22 were not fully explained is unavailing. 23 Br. at 4-5. 24 approval needed or how long it would take, it should have inquired The Court agrees with the State that the contingency of Docket Further, NEMS's argument that See Docket No. 272, Reply If NEMS wanted more details regarding the supervisory 25 26 27 3 The Court addresses Rule 59(e)(2) even though it is not clear from NEMS's briefing whether NEMS believes it is entitled to relief under this subsection. 28 9 1 before orally agreeing to the settlement as it stood on September 2 4, 2014. 3 4 B. Rule 60(b) NEMS requests relief under Rule 60(b)(2), which relates to reconsideration based on newly discovered evidence. 6 judgment on the basis of newly discovered evidence is warranted if 7 (1) the moving party can show the evidence relied on in fact 8 constitutes 'newly discovered evidence' within the meaning of Rule 9 60(b); (2) the moving party exercised due diligence to discover 10 this evidence; and (3) the newly discovered evidence must be of 11 United States District Court For the Northern District of California 5 'such magnitude that production of it earlier would have been 12 likely to change the disposition of the case.'" 13 Inc. v. City of Spokane, 331 F.3d 1082, 1093 (9th Cir. 2003) 14 (quoting Coastal Transfer Co. v. Toyota Motor Sales, U.S.A., Inc., 15 833 F.2d 208, 211 (9th Cir. 1987)). 16 "Relief from Feature Realty, As with Rule 59(e), evidence is not newly discovered if the 17 moving party was in possession of the evidence before judgment was 18 rendered. 19 agency approval in June 2015 was before the parties and the Court 20 before judgment was entered. 21 under Rule 60(b)(2). 22 See id. Evidence that the State obtained control Thus, NEMS is not entitled to relief NEMS also argues for relief based on purported fraud. Under 23 Rule 60(b)(3), the movant must (1) prove by clear and convincing 24 evidence that the verdict was obtained through fraud, 25 misrepresentation, or other misconduct; and (2) establish that the 26 conduct complained of prevented the losing party from fully and 27 fairly presenting its case or defense. 28 362 F.3d 1254, 1260 (9th Cir. 2004); Jones v. Aero/Chem Corp., 921 10 Casey v. Albertson's Inc., 1 F.2d 875, 878-79 (9th Cir. 1990). Rule 60(b)(3) "require[s] that 2 fraud . . . not be discoverable by due diligence before or during 3 the proceedings." 4 in original). 5 unfairly obtained, not at those which are factually incorrect." 6 In re M/V Peacock, 809 F.2d 1403, 1405 (9th Cir. 1987). Casey, 362 F.3d at 1260 (brackets and ellipsis Rule 60(b)(3) "is aimed at judgments which were 7 NEMS is not entitled to relief under Rule 60(b)(3) because it 8 has not established that the premature representation, on December 9 1, 2014, that the State already had supervisory approval prevented NEMS from fully and fairly presenting its case or defense. 11 United States District Court For the Northern District of California 10 Casey, 362 F.3d at 1260. 12 demonstrate what the premature representation of supervisory 13 approval prevented it from presenting. 14 present any evidence of fraud. 15 representation that final approval had been obtained was an 16 unintentional error, as was the delay in obtaining the approval. 17 18 See NEMS has not satisfied its burden to Further, NEMS does not It appears that the premature C. Rule 60(d) For similar reasons, NEMS is not entitled to relief under 19 Rule 60(d). Fraud on the court occurs when "the fraud rises to 20 the level of an unconscionable plan or scheme which is designed to 21 improperly influence the court in its decision." Chapman, 642 22 F.3d at 1240 (internal quotation marks omitted). The proponent 23 must demonstrate "by clear and convincing evidence" that such 24 fraud occurred. 25 415, 445 (9th Cir. 2011). 26 instead, it has fastened on the apparently inadvertent and 27 immaterial delay in obtaining the State's supervisory approval to 28 implement the settlement. United States v. Estate of Stonehill, 660 F.3d NEMS did not meet its burden here; 11 D. Objections to the Judgment's Terms 1 In addition to its motions to set aside the judgment 2 3 altogether, NEMS raises two objections to the judgment's terms. First, NEMS argues that the judgment's description of the 4 5 contemplated state auditing process differs from the descriptions 6 in both the September 4, 2014 transcript and Magistrate Judge 7 Beeler's January 13, 2015 order enforcing the settlement. 8 judgment states that "NEMS shall participate in an auditing 9 process established and executed by and with the California 10 Department of Health Care Services." 11 United States District Court For the Northern District of California Docket No. 256 ¶ 2. The The September 4, 2014 transcript states that NEMS and DHCS have 12 "agreed to the condition that they will have . . . an auditing 13 process to include auditors for both sides to establish the 14 governing standards on how NEMS reports revenue for wraparound 15 purposes for open and future years." 16 at 8. 17 the settlement agreement states that "NEMS and the California 18 Department of Health Care Services . . . agreed to implement an 19 auditing process, including auditors for both sides, to establish 20 governing standards on how NEMS reports revenue for wraparound 21 purposes for open and future years." 22 Settlement at 3 (citing the September 4, 2014 transcript). Transcript September 4, 2014 Magistrate Judge Beeler's January 13, 2015 order enforcing Amended Order Enforcing 23 Second, NEMS objects to the Court's statement of the Standard 24 False Claims Act Settlement Terms, Docket No. 257, which the Court 25 incorporated into the judgment. 26 agreed orally on the record on September 4, 2014, that their 27 settlement would "be a standard False Claims Act settlement 28 agreement." As noted above, the parties had Amended Order Enforcing Settlement at 4; see also 12 1 Transcript September 4, 2014 at 9. NEMS now argues that there are 2 no standard False Claims Act settlement terms, and that the 3 Standard False Claims Act Settlement Terms incorporated into the 4 judgment differ both from the version of the terms the Governments 5 filed with their motion to enforce and from a settlement agreement 6 NEMS had executed in an earlier case. The Court gave NEMS an opportunity to submit supplemental 7 8 briefing regarding these objections, to explain the "exact changes 9 it requests that the Court make to these documents to address 'the discrepancies'" and "the basis for its requests." 11 United States District Court For the Northern District of California 10 Order for Additional Briefing. 12 Docket No. 279, NEMS's Additional Briefing; Docket No. 282, NEMS's 13 Additional Reply. 14 appropriate recourse is to set aside or vacate the judgment and 15 Magistrate Judge Beeler's order. 16 unpersuasive. 17 transcript, Magistrate Judge Beeler's order and the judgment with 18 regard to the auditing process do not constitute clear error. 19 Further, the Court agrees with Magistrate Judge Beeler that "the 20 10-1904 settlement requires only implementing and engaging in the 21 audit process, not resolving it." 22 Settlement at 18. 23 NEMS did not identify any Standard False Claims Act Settlement 24 Terms it considers inconsistent with its understanding of the 25 standard terms, any differences that may exist do not constitute 26 clear error. 27 // 28 // In response, NEMS provides neither. See Instead, NEMS states repeatedly that the only The Court finds NEMS's arguments Whatever differences may exist among the Amended Order Enforcing Likewise, because, when given the opportunity, 13 1 2 II. Order Enforcing the Settlement Agreement Analysis under Rule 60(b)(2) is different with respect to the 3 January 13, 2015 order enforcing the settlement agreement. 4 that the State did not obtain control agency authority to 5 implement the settlement agreement until June 2015 was "newly 6 discovered evidence" with respect to the order. 7 not fail to exercise diligence to discover the filed letter 8 announcing authority sooner, as the letter was only available once 9 filed. Second, NEMS did The Governments had represented that both had supervisory 10 approval as of the January 8, 2015 hearing on the motion to 11 United States District Court For the Northern District of California First, enforce the settlement. 12 However, NEMS falls short on the third prong; this newly 13 discovered evidence was not of "such magnitude that production of 14 it earlier would have been likely to change the disposition of the 15 case." 16 Judge Beeler would not have granted the motion on January 13, 2015 17 if the State had not yet obtained final supervisory approval, the 18 State ultimately did obtain such approval. 19 Beeler been aware that the State had not yet obtained final 20 approval, she might, at most, have waited to grant the order to 21 enforce the settlement agreement until it did, which would not 22 have altered the disposition. 23 Governments' motion to enforce the settlement agreement based on 24 the State's delay in obtaining final implementing approval, 25 particularly because it was the State, as well as the United 26 States, that wished to enforce the settlement, over NEMS's 27 objections, which had nothing to do with the State's authority. Feature Realty, 331 F.3d at 1093. Even if Magistrate Had Magistrate Judge She would not have denied the 28 14 1 NEMS also argues that it would not have agreed on September 2 4, 2014 to a September 26, 2014 payment date "had it had any idea 3 that the State's supervisory approval was the responsibility of a 4 still unknown 'control agency' whose processes, by all 5 appearances, . . . would take five months to complete." 6 No. 265, Opening Br. at 10. 7 information when it agreed to the settlement in September, nor did 8 it pay by that date. 9 when the Court approved a supersedeas bond pending NEMS's appeal. Docket NEMS, however, did not seek that Indeed, it had not paid as of May 13, 2015, September 26 was not the payment date, but the date from which 11 United States District Court For the Northern District of California 10 interest would begin to accrue. 12 8; Amended Order Enforcing Settlement at 3. 13 Transcript September 4, 2014 at NEMS argues that, without the State's final supervisory 14 approval, the State was not entitled to file the motion to enforce 15 the settlement agreement at all. 16 Relators also filed the motion. 17 State had not yet obtained control agency approval, the State 18 would have filed the motion once the State did obtain the final 19 approval, with the same result. 20 However, the United States and Had the parties known that the NEMS argues in its second Rule 60 motion that, because it did 21 not know that the State had not yet obtained control agency 22 approval, its consent to Magistrate Judge Beeler's jurisdiction 23 over the motion to enforce the settlement was neither knowing nor 24 voluntary. 25 authority suggesting that any misunderstanding regarding final 26 supervisory approval relates to the knowing-and-voluntary Docket Nos. 284 and 289. 27 28 15 NEMS cites no legal 1 requirement.4 2 argument, even though it consented to Magistrate Judge Beeler's 3 jurisdiction over a year ago and received Mr. Frankel's letter 4 over six months ago. 5 State had not yet obtained control agency approval to implement 6 the settlement does not constitute the "extraordinary 7 circumstances" required to vacate consent to a magistrate judge. 8 See 28 U.S.C. § 636(c)(4). 9 unpersuasive.5 Further, this is the first time NEMS has made this Finally, that NEMS was unaware that the The Court finds NEMS's argument In addition, the Court has reviewed de novo Magistrate Judge 10 United States District Court For the Northern District of California 11 Beeler's order enforcing the settlement agreement and concludes 12 that her determination that the settlement must be enforced is 13 correct. It appears that NEMS has thought the better of its agreement 14 15 to settle and is grasping at straws seeking to undo it. 16 // 17 // 18 // 19 4 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 Indeed, the Ninth Circuit and the Supreme Court have discussed this requirement in the context of constitutional, rather than factual, concerns. See Roell v. Withrow, 538 U.S. 580, 595 (2003) (explaining that the express consent requirement for magistrate judge jurisdiction "ensures that the parties knowingly and voluntarily waive their right to an Article III judge"); Anderson v. Woodcreek Venture Ltd., 351 F.3d 911, 914-15 (9th Cir. 2003) (explaining that the knowing-and-voluntary-consent requirement "was designed to assuage constitutional concerns, as Congress did not want to erode a litigant's right to insist on a trial before an Article III judge"). 5 Because this argument fails on its merits, the Court need not discuss procedural arguments for denying the motion. See Docket No. 287 at 2. 28 16 1 CONCLUSION 2 For all the foregoing reasons, NEMS's motions for relief 3 under Rules 59 or 60 (Case No. 10-1904, Docket Nos. 265 and 284; 4 Case No. 12-2895, Docket Nos. 144 and 154) are DENIED. 5 6 IT IS SO ORDERED. Dated: February 17, 2016 CLAUDIA WILKEN United States District Judge 7 8 9 10 United States District Court For the Northern District of California 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 17