Stewart v. Cintas Corporation No. 3

Filing 49

ORDER granting 44 Motion for Reconsideration signed by Judge Garland E. Burrell, Jr on 1/5/12; For the stated reasons, Plaintiff's Rule 60(b) motion for relief is GRANTED. Therefore, the Order in Docket No. 39 is rescinded and the judgment is vacated. A separate order will issue on the merits of the summary judgment motion.(Matson, R)

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1 2 3 4 5 IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT 6 FOR THE EASTERN DISTRICT OF CALIFORNIA 7 8 KATHLEEN STEWART, Plaintiff, 9 v. 10 11 CINTAS CORPORATION NO. 3, 12 Defendant. ________________________________ ) ) ) ) ) ) ) ) ) ) 2:10-cv-01648-GEB-KJN ORDER 13 14 Plaintiff moves under Federal Rules of Civil Procedure 59(e) 15 and 60(b) for reconsideration of the Court’s order granting summary 16 judgment in favor of Defendant. Specifically, Plaintiff requests that 17 the Court vacate judgment entered in favor of Defendant, reconsider its 18 evidentiary ruling which found that Plaintiff failed to show she had 19 personal knowledge about matters on which she gave opinions in her 20 original declaration, and reconsider Defendant’s summary judgment motion 21 in light of Plaintiff’s supplemental declaration which is attached to 22 her reconsideration motion. Further, Plaintiff requests that the Court 23 grant Plaintiff relief from the judgment so that she may conduct 24 discovery under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 56(d) in opposition to 25 Defendant’s summary judgment motion. This Rule 56(d) request is denied 26 because it was not made in connection with Defendant’s summary judgment 27 motion, and fails to show that good 28 1 cause justifies authorizing 1 Plaintiff to conduct discovery after expiration of the prescribed 2 discovery completion date. Defendant opposes the motion. 3 4 I. DISCUSSION A. Rule 59(e) 5 Plaintiff seeks relief under the district court Rule 59(e), which is 6 “appropriate 7 discovered evidence, (2) the district court committed clear error or 8 made an initial decision that was manifestly unjust, or (3) there is an 9 intervening change in controlling law.” S.E.C. v. Platforms Wireless 10 Int’l Corp., 617 F.3d 1072, 1100 (9th Cir. 2010) (internal quotation 11 marks omitted). 12 if (1) Plaintiff argues that “the is Court presented erred in with newly finding that 13 Plaintiff’s [original] declaration lacked foundation or that Plaintiff 14 failed 15 Defendant’s re-route proposal,” which Plaintiff opines supported her 16 opposition to Defendant’s summary judgment motion. (Mot. 5:14-16.) 17 Defendant counters that Plaintiff does not present newly discovered 18 evidence and that “a motion for reconsideration is an inappropriate 19 vehicle for presenting additional facts or arguments available at the 20 time of the original motion.” (Opp’n 5:19-21.) Defendant also argues 21 that “[n]either the Court’s evidentiary ruling nor summary judgment 22 ruling . . . [are] clearly erroneous . . . .” (Opp’n 6:25-26.) Plaintiff 23 contends her “arguments could not have been reasonably presented earlier 24 in the litigation because Plaintiff could not have anticipated that she 25 would be perceived as unqualified to interpret the re-route proposal 26 spreadsheet, when (as part of her daily duties in servicing her route) 27 she 28 employment.” (Mot. 2:23-26.) to produce interpreted the evidence same that she information 2 was daily qualified in the to interpret course of her 1 “The overwhelming weight of authority is that the failure to 2 file documents in an original motion or opposition does not turn the 3 late filed documents into ‘newly discovered evidence.’” School Dist. No. 4 1J v. ACandS, Inc., 5 F.3d 1255, 1263 (9th Cir. 1993). Since Plaintiff 5 did not explain at the summary judgment stage that her opinions in her 6 original declaration were based on experience she had in her employment 7 with Defendant, it was not clear error to refuse to consider Plaintiff’s 8 opinions. Since Plaintiff has not shown her reconsideration motion 9 should be granted under Rule 59(e), this portion of her motion is 10 denied. 11 B. Rule 60(b) 12 Plaintiff argues her reconsideration motion should be granted 13 under Rule 60(b)(1), which prescribes: “On motion and just terms, the 14 court may relieve a party or its legal representative from a final 15 judgment, order, 16 surprise, or 17 Plaintiff argues her “failure to include [information regarding her 18 ability to read Defendant’s re-route proposal in her] declaration in 19 [support of] her Opposition to Defendant’s Motion for Summary Judgment 20 is at most, excusable neglect.” (Mot. 5:9-10 (citing Pincay v. Andrews, 21 389 F.3d 853, 859 (9th Cir. 2004); Reply 4:17-19.) Defendant counters: 22 “Determining whether an omission is ‘excusable neglect’ implicates the 23 four-part balancing test articulated in Pioneer Investment Services Co. 24 v. Brunswick Associated Ltd. Partnership, 507 U.S. 380, 123 L. Ed. 2d 25 74, 113 S. Ct. 1489 (1993)[,] . . . [and that] review of the Pioneer 26 factors . . . reveals that Plaintiff’s actions do not constitute 27 excusable neglect.” (Opp’n 9:25-27, 10:7-8.) Further, Defendant argues 28 Plaintiff’s reconsideration motion is barred by the law of the case or proceeding excusable for neglect[.]” 3 . . Fed. . R. mistake, Civ. inadvertence, Proc. 60(b)(1). 1 doctrine. (Opp’n 3:14.) However, this “doctrine is not a limitation on 2 a tribunal’s power, but rather a guide to discretion[],” and does not 3 preclude 4 reconsideration motion should be granted. United States v. Alexander, 5 106 F.3d 874, 876 (9th Cir. 1997). the 6 Court from deciding whether Plaintiff’s Rule 60(b) “To determine whether a party’s failure . . . constitutes 7 ‘excusable 8 four-factor [Pioneer] equitable test, examining: (1) the danger of 9 prejudice to the opposing party; (2) the length of the delay and its 10 potential impact on the proceedings; (3) the reason for the delay; and 11 (4) 12 Pictures, Inc., 624 F.3d 1253, 1261 (9th Cir. 2010) (citing Pioneer 13 Invest. Servs. v. Brunswick Assocs. Ltd. P’ship, 507 U.S. 380, 395 14 (1993)). “We start by recognizing that Rule 60(b) is remedial in nature 15 and . . . must be liberally applied.” Id. at 1262 (internal quotation 16 marks omitted). neglect whether the [under movant Rule acted 60(b)(1)],’ in good courts faith.” must apply Ahanchian v. a Xenon 17 Plaintiff does not argue under these factors in her motion, 18 and Defendant makes only conclusory arguments concerning prejudice and 19 the potential impact on the proceedings. Defendant argues in pertinent 20 part that “[r]econsideration based on Plaintiff’s failure . . . to 21 submit admissible evidence, or . . . to raise a material issue of fact 22 in opposition to summary judgment would clearly prejudice Defendant, 23 undercut the judicial principle of finality, and result in extended 24 delay of the judicial proceedings.” (Opp’n 10:10-13.) However, Defendant 25 does not explain how it would be prejudiced. Here, the record reveals 26 that prejudice to the Defendant is minimal. “[Defendant] would . . . 27 los[e] a quick victory and, should it ultimately los[e] the summary 28 judgment motion on the merits, [the 4 Court] would have . . . to 1 reschedule the [final pretrial conference and] trial date[s].” Bateman 2 v. U.S. Postal Serv., 231 F.3d 1220, 1225 (9th Cir. 2000). This degree 3 of prejudice has not been shown sufficient to justify denial of relief 4 under Rule 60(b)(1). Id. at 1225 (stating that the loss of “a quick 5 victory” and the need to reschedule the trial date “is insufficient to 6 justify denial of relief under Rule 60(b)(1)”). 7 Plaintiff filed her motion for reconsideration twenty-eight 8 days after the entry of final judgment, which is a “short delay.” TCI 9 Group Life Ins. Plan v. Knoebber, 244 F.3d 691, 701 (9th Cir. 2001) 10 (finding that a motion filed less than a month after final judgment was 11 entered was a “short delay”). Further, “there is no evidence that 12 [Plaintiff] acted with anything less than good faith. H[er] error[] [in 13 failing to provide an adequate foundation for the opinions in her 14 declaration] 15 deviousness or willfulness.” Bateman, 231 F.3d at 1225. 16 17 resulted from negligence and carelessness, not from Because the equities in this case weigh in favor of Plaintiff, Plaintiff is entitled to relief under Rule 60(b)(1). 18 II. CONCLUSION 19 For the stated reasons, Plaintiff’s Rule 60(b) motion for 20 relief is GRANTED. Therefore, the Order in Docket No. 39 is rescinded 21 and the judgment is vacated. A separate order will issue on the merits 22 of the summary judgment motion. 23 Dated: January 5, 2012 24 25 26 GARLAND E. BURRELL, JR. United States District Judge 27 28 5

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