United States District Court, D. South Carolina, Aiken Division
ORDER AND OPINION
Eric Alan Sanders (“Sanders” or
“Plaintiff”) filed this action pro se against his
former employer, Defendant Wal-Mart Stores East, LP
(“Wal-Mart” or “Defendant”), alleging
that he was subjected to discrimination because of his
disability in violation of the Americans with Disabilities
Act of 1990 (“ADA”), 42 U.S.C. §§
12101-12213. (ECF No. 1.)
matter is before the court pursuant to Plaintiff's
“Motion for Reconsideration in Accordance with F. R.
Civ. P. 59(e) 54(b); Motion to Allow Page Count Joined”
seeking reconsideration of the Order entered on March 24,
2016 (the “March Order”). (ECF No. 134.) In the
March Order (ECF No. 128), the court among other things
granted Defendant's Motion for Summary Judgment as to
Plaintiff's claims for hostile work environment,
discriminatory discharge on account of his disability, and
discriminatory failure to promote based on sex.(ECF No. 128 at
23.) In his Motion, Plaintiff requests reconsideration of the
March Order to correct clear errors of law and prevent
manifest injustice. (E.g., ECF No. 134 at 4, 10.) In
response, Defendant asserts that Plaintiff's Motion
should be denied because his challenges to the March Order
are meritless. (ECF No. 141 at 4.) For the reasons stated
below, the court DENIES Plaintiff's
Motion for Reconsideration.
he filed his Motion for Reconsideration, Plaintiff filed a
Notice appealing the March Order to the Court of Appeals for
the Fourth Circuit. (ECF No. 135.) In this matter,
Plaintiff's appeal did not divest the court of
jurisdiction because the court maintains jurisdiction to
consider matters in aid of the appeal. See Fobian v.
Storage Tech. Corp., 164 F.3d 887, 890- 91 (4th Cir.
1999) (holding that a district court is authorized, under the
“in aid of appeal” exception, to entertain a
motion after a party appeals the district court's
LEGAL STANDARD AND ANALYSIS
Standard for Reconsideration under Rule 59(e)
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)).
Standard for Reconsideration under Rule 54(b)
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).
The Parties' Arguments
fifty-eight page Motion for Reconsideration of the March
Order, Plaintiff alleges substantial error by the
court. More specifically, Plaintiff asserts that
the court and the Magistrate Judge committed clear error in
their factual summations, which Plaintiff argues were
presented in the light most favorable to Defendant. (ECF No.
134 at 4-8, 36, 42-50 & 56.) Plaintiff next asserts that
the court committed clear error of law by the way it
construed several of his pro se filings. (Id. at
9-11.) In this regard, Plaintiff argues that his Motions to
Vacate (ECF Nos. 95, 98, 99 & 100) should have been
considered as part of his opposition to Defendant's
Motion for Summary Judgment. (ECF No. ...