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Sanders v. Lowe's Home Centers LLC

United States District Court, D. South Carolina, Rock Hill Division

October 11, 2016

Eric Alan Sanders, Plaintiff,
Lowe's Home Centers, LLC; EEOC of Charlotte, NC; John Hayward; Mike Calzareeta; Doug Ford; Rayvon Irby, Defendants.


         Plaintiff Eric Alan Sanders (“Sanders” or “Plaintiff”) filed this action pro se against Defendants Lowe's Home Centers, LLC (“Lowe's”); the EEOC of Charlotte, NC; John Hayward (“Hayward”); Mike Calzareeta (“Calzareeta”); Doug Ford (“Ford”); and Rayvon Irby (“Irby”) alleging that he was subjected to discrimination, retaliation, and a hostile work environment in violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (“Title VII”), 42 U.S.C. §§ 2000e- 2000e17, and the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (“ADA”), 42 U.S.C. §§ 12101- 12213.[1] (ECF No. 16.) Plaintiff also alleges claims for violation of his civil rights under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 and state law claims for violation of South Carolina statutory law. (ECF No. 16.)

         This matter is before the court on Plaintiff's Motion for Reconsideration of the court's Order entered on July 20, 2016 (the “July Order”) pursuant to Rules 54(b), 59(e), and 60(b) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure.[2] (ECF No. 88.) Specifically, in the July Order (ECF No. 73), the court overruled Plaintiff's Objections and denied his Appeal/Motion to Vacate (ECF No. 61) an Order (ECF No. 56) entered by United States Magistrate Judge Paige J. Gossett on February 29, 2016 (the “February Order”), which granted Lowe's Motion to Compel, but held in abeyance its Motion to Dismiss. (ECF No. 54.) Lowe's opposes Plaintiff's Motion for Reconsideration asserting that he has not presented any arguments entitling him to reconsideration of the July Order. (ECF No. 92.) For the reasons stated below, the court DENIES Plaintiff's Motion for Reconsideration.


         A. Applicable Standard

         1. Standard for Reconsideration under Rule 59(e)

         Rule 59[3] allows a party to seek an alteration or amendment of a previous order of the court. Fed.R.Civ.P. 59(e). Under Rule 59(e), a court may “alter or amend the judgment if the movant shows either (1) an intervening change in the controlling law, (2) new evidence that was not available at trial, or (3) that there has been a clear error of law or a manifest injustice.” Robinson v. Wix Filtration Corp., 599 F.3d 403, 407 (4th Cir. 2010); see also Collison v. Int'l Chem. Workers Union, 34 F.3d 233, 235 (4th Cir. 1994). It is the moving party's burden to establish one of these three grounds in order to obtain relief under Rule 59(e). Loren Data Corp. v. GXS, Inc., 501 F. App'x 275, 285 (4th Cir. 2012). The decision whether to reconsider an order pursuant to Rule 59(e) is within the sound discretion of the district court. Hughes v. Bedsole, 48 F.3d 1376, 1382 (4th Cir. 1995). A motion to reconsider should not be used as a “vehicle for rearguing the law, raising new arguments, or petitioning a court to change its mind.” Lyles v. Reynolds, C/A No. 4:14-1063-TMC, 2016 WL 1427324, at *1 (D.S.C. Apr. 12, 2016) (citing Exxon Shipping Co. v. Baker, 554 U.S. 471, 485 n.5 (2008)).

         2. Standard for Reconsideration under Rule 54(b)

         Rule 54(b) provides the following:

When an action presents more than one claim for relief-whether as a claim, counterclaim, crossclaim, or third-party claim-or when multiple parties are involved, the court may direct entry of a final judgment as to one or more, but fewer than all, claims or parties only if the court expressly determines that there is no just reason for delay. Otherwise, any order or other decision, however designated, that adjudicates fewer than all the claims or the rights and liabilities of fewer than all the parties does not end the action as to any of the claims or parties and may be revised at any time before the entry of a judgment adjudicating all the claims and all the parties' rights and liabilities.

Id. Under Rule 54(b), the “district court retains the power to reconsider and modify its interlocutory judgments . . . at any time prior to final judgment when such is warranted.” Am. Canoe Ass'n v. Murphy Farms, Inc., 326 F.3d 505, 514-15 (4th Cir. 2003); see also Moses H. Cone Mem. Hosp. v. Mercury Constr. Corp., 460 U.S. 1, 12 (1983) (noting that “every order short of a final decree is subject to reopening at the discretion of the district judge”). The Fourth Circuit has offered little guidance on the standard for evaluating a Rule 54(b) motion, but has held motions under Rule 54(b) are “not subject to the strict standards applicable to motions for reconsideration of a final judgment.” Am. Canoe Ass'n, 326 F.3d at 514; see also Fayetteville Investors v. Commercial Builders, Inc., 936 F.2d 1462, 1472 (4th Cir. 1991) (the Court found it “unnecessary to thoroughly express our views on the interplay of Rules 60, 59, and Rule 54”). In this regard, district courts in the Fourth Circuit, in analyzing the merits of a Rule 54 motion, look to the standards of motions under Rule 59 for guidance. See U.S. Home Corp. v. Settlers Crossing, LLC, C/A No. DKC 08-1863, 2012 WL 5193835, at *2 (D. Md. Oct. 18, 2012); R.E. Goodson Constr. Co., Inc. v. Int'l Paper Co., C/A No. 4:02-4184-RBH, 2006 WL 1677136, at *1 (D.S.C. June 14, 2006); Akeva L.L.C. v. Adidas Am., Inc., 385 F.Supp.2d 559, 565-66 (M.D. N.C. 2005). Therefore, reconsideration under Rule 54 is appropriate on the following grounds: (1) to follow an intervening change in controlling law; (2) on account of new evidence; or (3) to correct a clear error of law or prevent manifest injustice. Beyond Sys., Inc. v. Kraft Foods, Inc., C/A No. PJM-08-409, 2010 WL 3059344, at *2 (D. Md. Aug. 4, 2010) (“This three-part test shares the same three elements as the Fourth Circuit's test for amending an earlier judgment under Rule 59(e), but the elements are not applied with the same force when analyzing an[] interlocutory order.”) (citing Am. Canoe Ass'n, 326 F.3d at 514).

         3. Standard for Reconsideration under Rule 60(b)

         Rule 60(b) allows the court to relieve “a party . . . from a final judgment, order, or proceeding” due to (1) “mistake, inadvertence, surprise, or excusable neglect”; (2) “newly discovered evidence”; (3) “fraud . . ., misrepresentation, or misconduct”; (4) a void judgment; (5) a satisfied, released, or discharged judgment; or (6) “any other reason that justifies relief.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 60(b); see also United States v. Winestock, 340 F.3d 200, 203-4 (4th Cir. 2003). Rule 60(b) “does not authorize a motion merely for reconsideration of a legal issue.” United States v. Williams, 674 F.2d 310, 312 (4th Cir. 1982). “Where the motion is nothing more than a request that the district court change its mind . . . it is not authorized by Rule 60(b).” Id. at 313. “A motion for reconsideration under Rule 60(b) is addressed to the sound discretion of the district court and . . . [is] generally granted only upon a showing of exceptional circumstances.” Lyles, 2016 WL 1427324, at *1 (citation and internal quotation marks omitted).

         B. The Parties' Arguments

         In his Motion for Reconsideration, Plaintiff first complains that the Magistrate Judge entered a Scheduling Order (ECF No. 42) that was “defective and unenforceable because the parties were never allowed to mutually agree upon a discovery plan that took into consideration the needs of both parties . . . .” (ECF No. 88 at 6.) Plaintiff next complains that the Magistrate Judge failed to either notify him about the waiver of Rule 26(f)'s requirements or properly construe all of his claims. (Id. at 6-7 (referencing ECF No. 27).) Based on the foregoing, Plaintiff argues that the Magistrate Judge “failed to fulfill her case management responsibilities” and the case should be reassigned “to another Magistrate Judge.” (Id. at 9.) Plaintiff further argues that the court should reject the Scheduling Order and the February Order because they contain error and their enforcement would cause him to suffer ...

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