United States District Court, D. South Carolina, Greenville Division
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER DENYING PLAINTIFF'S
RULE 59(e) MOTION TO ALTER OR AMEND
GEIGER LEWIS UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
before the Court is Plaintiff's Federal Rule of Civil
Procedure 59(e) Motion to Alter or Amend the Court's
Order affirming the final decision of Defendant denying
benefits. ECF No. 29. The Court has jurisdiction over the
matter under 28 U.S.C. § 1331 and 42 U.S.C. §
405(g). Having carefully considered the motion, the response,
the reply, the record, and the applicable law, it is the
judgment of the Court Plaintiff's motion will be denied.
FACTUAL AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY
States Magistrate Judge Kevin McDonald issued a Report and
Recommendation (Report) suggesting the final decision of
Defendant denying benefits be affirmed. ECF No. 20. Plaintiff
timely filed her objections, and this Court entered an Order
overruling Plaintiff's objections, adopting the Report,
and affirming the final decision of Defendant. ECF No. 26.
subsequently filed her motion under Rule 59(e) to alter or
amend the Court's Order affirming Defendant's
decision. ECF No. 29. Defendant filed her response in
opposition, ECF No. 30, and Plaintiff filed her reply, ECF
No. 31. The Court, having been fully briefed on the relevant
issues, is now prepared to discuss the merits of the motion.
STANDARD OF REVIEW
are only three limited bases for a district court to grant a
Rule 59(e) motion: “(1) to accommodate an intervening
change in controlling law; (2) to account for new evidence
not available at trial; or (3) to correct a clear error of
law or prevent manifest injustice.” Hutchinson v.
Staton, 994 F.2d 1076, 1081 (4th Cir.1993). A Rule 59(e)
motion “may not be used to relitigate old matters, or
to raise arguments or present evidence that could have been
raised prior to the entry of judgment.” Exxon
Shipping Co. v. Baker, 554 U.S. 471, 486 n.5 (2008)
(internal quotation marks omitted). Further, “mere
disagreement [with a district court's ruling] does not
support a Rule 59(e) motion.” Hutchinson, 994
F.2d at 1082. “In general[, ] reconsideration of a
judgment after its entry is an extraordinary remedy which
should be used sparingly.” Pac. Ins. Co. v. Am.
Nat'l Fire Ins. Co., 148 F.3d 396, 403 (4th
Cir.1998) (internal quotation marks omitted).
CONTENTIONS OF THE PARTIES
Plaintiff's motion, she appears to request the Court
alter or amend its Order affirming the final decision of
Defendant under Rule 59(e)'s third basis: namely, the
Court correct a clear error of law or prevent manifest
injustice. Plaintiff insists the Court ignored purportedly
binding precedent in upholding the Administrative Law Judge
(ALJ)'s decision to discount the medical opinion of Dr.
Mario Galvarino, one of Plaintiff's treating physicians,
and to give greater weight to the opinions of non-examining
physicians. Plaintiff also asserts the Court erred by failing
to hold the ALJ discounted Dr. Galvarino's opinion based
on a mischaracterization of Plaintiff's daily activities.
Further, Plaintiff contends the Court neglected to address
her argument that intermittent conditions can be disabling,
and Plaintiff states the Court utilized the wrong harmless
error test in evaluating whether the ALJ's use of
stability to prove ability to function was inappropriate.
Finally, Plaintiff urges she suffered prejudice from the
ALJ's speculation Dr. Galvarino based his opinion on
sympathy for Plaintiff.
disputes these assertions.
DISCUSSION AND ANALYSIS
initial matter, the Court notes Plaintiff raised each of her
contentions above in substantially the same format during her
initial briefing and then in her objections to the Report.
Her motion thus appears to be an impermissible attempt to
“relitigate old matters” under Rule 59(e).
See Exxon Shipping Co., 554 U.S. at 486 n.5
(internal quotation marks omitted). Out of an abundance of
caution, however, the Court will address the merits of
contentions largely concern the weight the ALJ assigned to
the opinion of Dr. Galvarino, one of ...