Barron v. Hillsborough County School Board
ORDER denying 65 Plaintiff's Motion for Reconsideration. Signed by Judge James S. Moody, Jr on 10/30/2014. (LN)
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
MIDDLE DISTRICT OF FLORIDA
Case No: 8:13-cv-31-T-30EAJ
HILLSBOROUGH COUNTY SCHOOL
THIS CAUSE comes before the Court upon the Plaintiff’s Motion for
Reconsideration (Dkt. #65). Upon review and consideration, it is the Court’s conclusion
that the Motion should be denied.
Plaintiff, Caryl-Marie Barron, filed a complaint against the Defendant, The School
Board of Hillsborough County, Florida (the “School Board”) alleging disability
discrimination in violation of the Florida Civil Rights Act (“FCRA”) and retaliation and
interference in violation of the Family and Medical Leave Act (“FMLA”). The School
Board filed a Motion for Summary Judgment. The Court entered an Order granting the
motion in part and denying it in part. (Dkt. #39) (the “Order”). The Order granted the
Motion in favor of the School Board regarding Plaintiff’s disability discrimination claims
pursuant to the FCRA, and the retaliation and interference claims pursuant to the FMLA.
The Court concluded that factual issues existed as to Plaintiff’s retaliation claim pursuant
to the FCRA and denied summary judgment on that issue.
Plaintiff was represented by counsel in this case from the time of the filing of the
complaint through the initial Pre-Trial Conference held on April 3, 2014. The Court granted
Plaintiff’s motion to continue the case and to permit counsel to withdraw on May 28, 2014.
(Dkt. #59) Plaintiff now proceeds pro se. At the second Pre-Trial Conference, Plaintiff
indicated that she wanted the Court to reconsider the Order. The Court informed Plaintiff
that she must file a written motion and include any evidence the Court should consider with
Plaintiff now moves for reconsideration of the Order based on new evidence
including e-mails, sign-in sheets, performance reviews, guidelines regarding performance
reviews and other documents that her prior counsel did not submit into the record. She
further argues that the School Board misrepresented facts in its Motion, and therefore
misled the Court.
Pro se pleadings are held to a less stringent standard than pleadings drafted by
attorneys and will, therefore, be liberally construed. Tannenbaum v. United States, 148
F.3d 1262, 1263 (11th Cir. 1998). However, a pro se litigant is still bound to follow the
pleading requirements set forth in the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure. See Goldsmith v.
City of Atmore, 996 F. 2d 1155, 1161 (11th Cir. 1993). Further, “pro se litigants must
satisfy essential burdens.” Blanco GmbH & Co. KG v. Vlanco Indus., LLC, 992 F. Supp.
2d 1225, 1254 (S.D. Fla. 2014), on reconsideration in part (May 21, 2014) (citing Haines
v. Kerner, 404 U.S. 519, 520, 92 S.Ct. 594, 30 L.Ed.2d 652 (1972)).
Motions for reconsideration of orders are permitted when there is (1) an intervening
change in controlling law; (2) newly discovered evidence; or (3) the need to correct clear
error or manifest injustice. Tristar Lodging, Inc. v. Arch Speciality Ins. Co., 434 F. Supp.
2d 1286, 1301 (M.D.Fla. 2006) aff'd sub nom. Tristar Lodging, Inc. v. Arch Specialty Ins.
Co., 215 Fed. App’x. 879 (11th Cir. 2007).
A motion for reconsideration must
demonstrate why the court should reconsider its prior decision and “set forth facts or law
of a strongly convincing nature to induce the court to reverse its prior decision.” Id. A
motion for reconsideration cannot be used to re-litigate old matters, raise arguments, or
present evidence that could have been raised prior to the entry of judgment. See Parker v.
Midland Credit Management, Inc., 874 F. Supp. 2d 1353, 1359 (M.D.Fla. 2012); see also
Arthur v. King, 500 F.3d 1335, 1343 (11th Cir. 2007). “The decision to alter or amend a
judgment is an ‘extraordinary remedy.’” Tristar Lodging, Inc. 434 F. Supp. 2d at 1301.
Plaintiff’s Motion appears to also request relief from the Order pursuant to Federal
Rule of Civil Procedure 60(b)(2). To succeed on this basis, “a movant must meet a fivepart test: (1) the evidence must be newly discovered since the trial; (2) due diligence on the
part of the movant to discover the new evidence must be shown; (3) the evidence must not
be merely cumulative or impeaching; (4) the evidence must be material; and (5) the
evidence must be such that a new trial would probably produce a new result.” Waddell v.
Hendry Cnty. Sheriff's Office, 329 F.3d 1300, 1309 (11th Cir. 2003). “A motion for a new
trial under Rule 60(b)(2) is an extraordinary motion and the requirements of the rule must
be strictly met.” Id. (quoting Toole v. Baxter Healthcare Corp., 235 F.3d 1307, 1316 (11th
Plaintiff has not met her burden for reconsideration or for relief under Rule 60.
Plaintiff discusses evidence that was either already in the record, or not filed with her
Motion, or would not have otherwise changed the outcome of the Order. The Order
concluded that although the School Board relied on Plaintiff’s absences as one of the
reasons for termination, it also relied on her poor performance in the classroom as a
legitimate non-discriminatory reason. Plaintiff did not produce evidence demonstrating
that these additional reasons were pretext. Further, the Court concluded that Plaintiff did
not demonstrate that she was a “qualified individual” since she admittedly could not
consistently arrive to the school prior to 8:15, when her essential duties began.
The new evidence that Plaintiff references includes a February 2010 evaluation
where Dr. Peretz made adverse references to her FMLA leave and several e-mails from her
to Dr. Peretz and his assistant documenting notification of several unscheduled absences
and late arrivals. Plaintiff did not submit these documents for the Court’s consideration at
the summary judgment stage or with this Motion. Additionally, Plaintiff makes several
statements indicating that she will introduce other evidence, including leave slips and the
School Board’s sign-in sheets, at a later date in support of her arguments. Any evidence in
support of the Motion should have been filed contemporaneously with the Motion for the
Court’s consideration. Nevertheless, based on Plaintiff’s summary of the content of the
new evidence, the Court concludes that the evidence would not have changed the outcome
of the case since it would be merely cumulative and impeaching.
Any arguments regarding claims for hostile work environment, intentional infliction
of emotional distress, breach of contract, and claims pursuant to Title VII and Section 1981
are improper. Plaintiff did not bring these causes of action in her complaint and did not
move to amend her complaint to raise these causes of action. The Court could only consider
the claims pending before it when it entered the Order.
Plaintiff’s arguments regarding the School Board’s failure to follow its own internal
procedures and state guidelines regarding performance reviews, classroom observations,
and termination procedures for teachers do not change the outcome of the case. Even if the
School Board did not follow the proper procedures in documenting Plaintiff’s performance,
it does not create a genuine issue of material fact regarding the School Board’s conclusion
that Plaintiff’s performance was unsatisfactory.
Plaintiff’s request that the Court reconsider her disability claim based on evidence
that she is disabled is without merit. The Court presumed in the Order that Plaintiff is a
disabled person. Therefore, the proposed evidence would not have changed the outcome of
Plaintiff’s Motion is an attempt to re-litigate the same matters and arguments raised
in her opposition to Defendant’s Motion for Summary Judgment. Plaintiff raises no new
evidence that would change the outcome of the Order nor does she point to any manifest
errors in law or fact. Therefore, the Court denies the Motion.
It is therefore ORDERED AND ADJUDGED that:
Plaintiff’s Motion for Reconsideration (Dkt. #65) is DENIED.
DONE and ORDERED in Tampa, Florida, this 30th day of October, 2014.
Copies furnished to:
Counsel/Parties of Record
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