United States District Court, D. South Carolina, Columbia Division
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER DENYING NONPARTY
SUBPOENA RECIPIENT JANE GARI'S MOTION TO RECONSIDER
NON-PREJUDICIAL EFFECT OF DISMISSAL, TO DISMISS WITH
PREJUDICE, AND TO IMPOSE SANCTIONS
GEIGER LEWIS UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
a defamation case in which Plaintiff alleges Jane S. Gari
(Gari), a nonparty to this action, posted a story (the Story)
on her website wrongfully accusing Plaintiff of raping
Defendant Jane Doe a/k/a “Susan” (Susan).
Plaintiff's Complaint (Complaint) alleges the Court has
subject matter jurisdiction under 28 U.S.C. § 1332.
Pending before the Court is Gari's Motion to Reconsider
Non-Prejudicial Effect of Dismissal, to Dismiss with
Prejudice, and to Impose Sanctions (Gari's Motion to
Gari's Motion to Reconsider, she requests the Court
reconsider and vacate its March 24, 2017, Order (Order)
granting Plaintiff's Motion to Dismiss without Prejudice
(Motion to Dismiss) and its corresponding judgment of the
same date (Judgment) dismissing this action without
prejudice, and enter a new order holding Plaintiff has
voluntarily dismissed this case under Federal Civil Procedure
Rule 41 as well as a corresponding judgment of dismissal with
prejudice. Gari also asks the Court sanction Plaintiff and
his attorneys pursuant to its inherent authority to impose
sanctions for bad faith conduct. Having carefully considered
the Motion, Gari's supporting memorandum, the response,
the reply, the record, and the applicable law, it is the
judgment of the Court Gari's Motion to Reconsider will be
FACTUAL AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY
case arises out of Gari's posting of the Story on her
website. Plaintiff maintains the accusation he raped Susan is
false. Plaintiff's Complaint asserts claims against Susan
and John and Jane Does 2-10 for defamation and false light in
connection with the Story. ECF No. 1. Plaintiff chose not to
name Gari as a defendant. See id.
originally filed this action in South Dakota, but he
voluntarily dismissed it. Plaintiff filed his Complaint with
this Court on September 13, 2016. Id.
September 15, 2016, Plaintiff filed an Ex Parte Motion for
Leave to Take Early Discovery (Motion for Early Discovery) in
which he sought permission to serve subpoenas on certain
individuals, including Gari, who Plaintiff believed had
information that would allow him to identify the Doe
Defendants. ECF No. 5. The Court issued an ex parte order
granting the Motion for Early Discovery on October 26, 2016
(Order Granting Early Discovery), ECF No. 9, and Gari
subsequently served a subpoena on Gari.
reasons irrelevant to Gari's Motion to Reconsider, the
Court ultimately unsealed the Motion for Early Discovery,
unsealed and vacated the Order Granting Early Discovery, and
granted Gari permission to file a response to Plaintiff's
Motion for Early Discovery. ECF No. 24. The parties then
filed numerous briefs and reports relating to the Motion for
Early Discovery. ECF Nos. 28, 29, 30, 33, 34, 35, 37, 38. In
such filings, Gari questioned whether the Court has subject
matter jurisdiction over this action and sought permission to
depose and serve interrogatories upon Plaintiff for the
purpose of investigating subject matter jurisdiction;
Plaintiff opposed Gari's requests for discovery.
January 30, 2017, the Court entered an Order granting Gari
permission to depose Plaintiff and propound fifteen
interrogatories upon him regarding matters relevant to
subject matter jurisdiction. ECF No. 39. The Order further
stated the Court would hold Plaintiff's Motion for Early
Discovery in abeyance pending the Court's determination
of whether it has subject matter jurisdiction. Id.
filed his Motion to Dismiss without Prejudice on March 23,
2017. ECF No. 51. In Plaintiff's Motion to Dismiss, he
requested the Court dismiss the case without prejudice for
lack of subject matter jurisdiction under Rule 12(h)(3). In
the alternative, Plaintiff requested the Court dismiss the
action for failure to serve the defendants as required by
Rule 4(m). That same day, Plaintiff also filed a status
report informing the Court he had failed to serve the
defendants and stating he “stipulates to administrative
dismissal of this action, without prejudice, for failure to
serve as required by Fed.R.Civ.P. 4(m).” ECF No. 50. On
March 24, 2017, the Court issued the Order granting
Plaintiff's Motion to Dismiss for lack of subject matter
jurisdiction, ECF No. 52, and the Judgment dismissing this
action without prejudice, ECF No. 53.
filed her Motion to Reconsider on March 24, 2017, shortly
after entry of the Court's Order and Judgment. ECF No.
54. Pursuant to the Court's permission, ECF No. 55, Gari
filed a memorandum in support of her Motion to Reconsider on
March 31, 2017. ECF No. 56. Plaintiff filed a response in
opposition on April 5, 2017, ECF No. 57, to which Gari
replied on April 10, 2017, ECF No. 58. The Court, having been
fully briefed on the relevant issues, is now prepared to
discuss the merits of Plaintiff's Motion.
STANDARD OF REVIEW
are only three limited bases for a district court to grant a
Rule 59(e) motion to alter or amend judgment: “(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[, ] ...