United States District Court, D. New Mexico
BORDER AREA MENTAL HEALTH, INC., COUNSELING ASSOCIATES, INC., EASTER SEALS EL MIRADOR, FAMILIES & YOUTH, INC., HOGARES, INC., SOUTHWEST COUNSELING CENTER, INC., SOUTHERN NEW MEXICO HUMAN DEVELOPMENT, INC., TEAMBUILDERS COUNSELING SERVICES, INC., THE COUNSELING CENTER, INC., and VALENCIA COUNSELING, INC., Plaintiffs,
UNITED BEHAVIORAL HEALTH, INC. and UNITED HEALTHCARE INSURANCE COMPANY, INC., d/b/a OPTUMHEALTH NEW MEXICO, PUBLIC CONSULTING GROUP, INC., ELIZABETH A. MARTIN, ANDREW SEKEL, TIMOTHY S. MILLER, and JOHN DOES 1-10, Defendants.
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER
Vázquez United States District Judge.
MATTER comes before the Court on Plaintiffs' Motion to
Reconsider [Doc. 72]. The Court, having considered the
motion, briefs, and relevant law, and being otherwise fully
informed, finds that the Motion is not well-taken and will be
New Mexico “(“OHNM”) is a joint venture
that was formed by United Behaviorial Health, Inc. and United
Healthcare Insurance Company, Inc. Doc. 6-1 at ¶ 3. In
2009, OHNM entered into a “Statewide Contract”
with the New Mexico Inter-Agency Behavioral Health Purchasing
Collaborative (the “Collaborative”) to manage New
Mexico's Medicaid and state-funded programs. Id.
at ¶ 4. Pursuant to the Statewide Contract, from 2009
through December 31, 2013, OHNM served as the
“Statewide Entity” to administer the delivery of
behavioral health services to individuals enrolled in and
eligible to receive services under the Collaborative's
agency programs. Id.
turn, in its capacity as the Statewide Entity, OHNM entered
into contracts with numerous healthcare providers, including
Plaintiffs, to provide the necessary behavioral health and/or
substance abuse health care services to the individual
enrollees. Id. at ¶ 5. Each of the
“Provider Agreements” and “Facility
Participation Agreements” between Plaintiffs and OHNM
includes an arbitration provision, which states in relevant
part that, in the event the parties were unable to resolve
“any disputes about their business relationship,
” those disputes would be “submitted to binding
arbitration in accordance with the rules of the American
Arbitration Association (“AAA”). Doc. 61, Ex. 1
at Art. 30; Doc. 6-1, Ex. 2 at Section 8.
allege that OHNM mismanaged its Statewide Contract and, in
order to cover up its mismanagement, accused its healthcare
providers, including Plaintiffs, of engaging in institutional
fraud. Doc. 1-1 at ¶¶ 36, 43. Plaintiffs further
allege that OHNM audited Plaintiffs with the predetermined
outcome of finding “credible allegations of fraud,
” in order to trigger the suspension of payments to
Plaintiffs for the healthcare services that they had provided
pursuant to their contracts with OHNM. Id. at
¶¶ 52-55. As a result, Plaintiffs allege, they are
owed payments totaling $11.5 million. Id. at ¶
on these allegations, Plaintiffs commenced the instant action
in the First Judicial District Court of New Mexico, Santa Fe
County, on June 23, 2016, against United Behavioral Health
and United Healthcare Insurance Company, doing business as
OHNM, Elizabeth Martin, Chief Executive Officer of OHNM,
Andrew Sekel, Chief Executive Officer of OptumHealth
Behavioral Solutions, and Timothy S. Miller, regional manager
for OHNM, collectively referred to as the “United
Defendants, ” in addition to the Public Consulting
Group, the entity that was hired to conduct the audits of
Plaintiffs. Doc. 1-1. On November 3, 2016, United Defendants
removed the action to this Court. Doc. 1. In their Complaint,
Plaintiffs allege claims against United Defendants for
interference with contractual relations, prima facie tort,
civil conspiracy to commit interference with contractual
relations and prima facie tort, and violations of the New
Mexico Unfair Practices Act. Doc. 1-1 at ¶¶ 67-89.
November 18, 2016, United Defendants filed a motion to compel
Plaintiffs to arbitrate the claims alleged against them. Doc.
6. In support of their motion, United Defendants argued that
the agreements into which each Plaintiff had entered
contained valid and binding arbitration provisions, and that
Plaintiffs' claims fell directly within the scope of
those provisions. Id. Plaintiffs did not dispute
that they entered into valid arbitration agreements, but
opposed United Defendants' motion to compel on the basis
that their claims did not bear a reasonable relationship to
the subject matter of the arbitration agreements and thus did
not fall within the scope of those agreements. Doc. 29 at
4-10; Doc. 30 at 3-10.
Memorandum Opinion and Order entered March 28, 2018
(“March 2018 Opinion”), the Court granted United
Defendants' motion to compel, explaining that, by
incorporating the AAA Rules into the arbitration provisions
set forth in the relevant agreements, Plaintiffs and United
Defendants “clearly and unmistakably” agreed to
arbitrate arbitrability. Doc. 46. Accordingly, the Court
further explained, all questions of arbitrability - including
the questions Plaintiffs raised as to whether their claims
reasonably relate to the subject matter of the parties'
agreements to arbitrate - must be resolved by an arbitrator.
Id. Under controlling Tenth Circuit precedent, the
Court found that it had no discretion to decide whether
Plaintiffs' claims were outside the scope of the
arbitration provisions in the relevant agreements, but rather
was obligated to defer that determination to the arbitrator.
Id. Accordingly, the Court found no basis to deny
United Defendants' motion compelling arbitration of
Plaintiffs' claims against it. Id.
11, 2018, Plaintiffs initiated an arbitration proceeding with
the AAA, and requested that the Arbitrator declare that their
claims against United Defendants are not subject to
arbitration. The Arbitrator, Judge Bruce. D. Black (Retired),
ordered the parties to submit briefing on the threshold issue
of arbitrability. Thereafter, on December 5, 2018, the
Arbitrator issued his Opinion on Arbitrability. Doc. 60-4.
The Arbitrator determined that the claims asserted by
Plaintiffs against United Defendants fall within the scope of
the arbitration provision in the relevant agreements, and
thus must be pursued solely through binding arbitration.
Plaintiffs filed a Motion to Set Aside the Opinion of the
Arbitrator [Doc. 60], requesting that this Court
“vacate the Arbitrator's decision and allow the
parties to litigate, in this Court, ” Plaintiffs'
claims against United Defendants. Doc. 60 at 3. In a
Memorandum Opinion and Order entered on May 28, 2019
(“May 2019 Opinion”) [Doc. 70], the Court denied
Plaintiffs' motion, explaining that Plaintiffs provided
no valid basis for this Court to set aside the
Arbitrator's determination that Plaintiffs' claims
are subject to arbitration. Doc. 70 at 11. Because no claims
were left before this Court, and because none of the parties
had requested a stay of this matter, the Court further
determined that dismissal of Plaintiffs' claims against
United Defendants was proper. Id. Accordingly, the
Court dismissed Plaintiffs' claims against United
Defendants. Id. In a Judgment entered
contemporaneously with the May 2019 Opinion (the
“Judgment”) [Doc. 71], the Court ordered that
this action is dismissed as to, inter alia, the
United Defendants. Doc. 71.
instant motion, Plaintiffs ask this Court to reconsider its
dismissal of Plaintiffs claims against United Defendants and
request that the Court stay this action. Doc. 72. United
Defendants oppose the motion. Doc. 73.
characterize their motion as one for reconsideration pursuant
to Rule 59 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure.
Generally, if a motion for reconsideration is filed within
twenty-eight days after entry of judgment, “it is
treated as a motion to alter or amend the judgment under Rule
59(e).” Computerized Thermal Imaging, Inc. v.
Bloomberg, LP, 312 F.3d 1292, 1296 n. 3 (10th Cir.
2002). “Grounds warranting a motion to reconsider
include (1) an intervening change in the controlling law, (2)
new evidence previously unavailable, and (3) the need to
correct clear error or prevent manifest injustice.”
Servants of the Paraclete v. Does, 204 F.3d 1005,
1012 (10th Cir. 2000). “Thus, a motion for
reconsideration is appropriate where the court has
misapprehended the facts, a party's ...