Harrington v. Saturn Corporation
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER denying 16 Motion for Reconsideration. Signed by Judge Paula Xinis on 9/25/2017 (c/m 9/25/17 cags, Deputy Clerk)
IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
FOR THE DISTRICT OF MARYLAND
SOLITA D. HARRINGTON,
Civil Action No. PX 17-656
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER
Pending before the Court in this bankruptcy appeal is a “Motion for Reconsideration”
filed by Appellant Solita D. Harrington who is proceeding pro se, ECF No. 16.
The focus of Harrington’s appeal centers on the Bankruptcy Court’s March 8, 2017 order
granting Appellee-Debtor Saturn Corporation’s (“Appellee-Debtor”) objection to a proof of
claim. See ECF No. 1-1. The designation of record for the appeal was docketed on April 7,
2017, providing Appellant with thirty days to file her brief. See ECF No. 3. After this Court
granted Appellant’s motion for extension of time, ECF No. 5, Appellant filed a motion on June
15, 2017 which she styled “Motion to Resolve the Case Without Filing a Brief,” in lieu of filing
the required brief, see ECF No. 6. The Court denied this Motion on July 12, 2017, and directed
Appellant to file her brief by August 2, 2017, or risk dismissal of the appeal. See ECF No. 9.
Appellant did not file a brief. Instead, Appellant filed a second Motion for Extension of Time on
August 1, 2017, requesting an additional six months to file her brief because Appellant was “still
experiencing medical problems” and required time to “recover from medical reasons.” See ECF
No. 10. Appellant also failed to file a statement of the issues she wished to raise on appeal. See
Fed. R. Bankr. P. 8009(a)(1). On August 23, 2017, this Court denied Appellant’s Motion for
Extension of Time, and directed the clerk’s office to close this case. ECF No. 13; ECF No. 14.
Thereafter, on September 1, 2017, Appellant filed the instant motion, which is best construed as
a Motion for Reconsideration under Fed. R. Civ. P. Rule 59(e), requesting that the Court amend
the previous order, reopen the appeal, and grant Appellant additional time to file her brief. ECF
For reconsideration motions filed under Fed. R. Civ. P. Rule 59(e), the United States
Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit recognizes three grounds for amending a previous
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.”
Pac. Ins. Co. v. Am. Nat’l Fire Ins. Co., 148 F.3d 396, 403 (4th Cir. 1998) (citation omitted).
Generally, “reconsideration of a judgment after its entry is an extraordinary remedy which
should be used sparingly,” id. (citation and internal quotation marks omitted), and “may not be
used to relitigate old matters, or to raise arguments or present evidence that could have been
raised prior to entry of judgment,” id. (quoting 11 Wright, Miller & Kane, Federal Practice
and Procedure § 2810.1, at 127–28 (2d ed. 1995) (emphasis added). While “[p]ro se litigants are
entitled to some deference from courts,” such deference is not unlimited. Ballard v. Carlson,
882 F.2d 93, 96 (4th Cir. 1989) (citation omitted).
Rule 59(e) cannot provide relief for Appellant’s failure to provide corroborative
information, such as medical records, until September 1, 2017, ECF No. 17, after this Court had
already dismissed her case, ECF No. 14. The law anticipates and unequivocally rejects the use
of a Rule 59(e) Motion to marshal previously available evidence. See, e.g., Ingle ex rel Estate of
Ingle v. Yelton, 439 F.3d 191, 198 (4th Cir. 2006); Small v. Hunt, 98 F.3d 789, 798 (4th Cir.
1996). In her September 1, 2017, submission, Appellant provides documents that are best
described as medical records dated December 2016 through August 16, 2017, ECF No. 17,
clearly demonstrating that the information was available prior to the Court’s August 23, 2017
Order. ECF No. 14. Moreover, the Court twice previously had granted Appellant extensions to
file her brief, ECF No. 5 and ECF No. 9, during which time she could have, and did not, alert the
court to her specific medical condition(s). See ECF No. 13.
Lastly, even assuming the records Appellant now offers are authentic and somehow were
not previously available, Appellant still has not justified further delay in an already long-delayed
appeal. While the Court is mindful of the difficulties in appearing pro se, and sympathizes with
this Appellant’s particular situation, Appellant’s medical condition cannot excuse her previous
dilatory approach to her case. See, e.g., Tekmen v. John E. Harms, Jr. & Assocs., Inc., No. RDB11-1385, 2011 WL 5061874, at *5 (D. Md. Oct. 25, 2011) (describing Appellants’ “delaying and
extending” litigation and pattern of “consistently disregarded procedural rules without providing
reasonable excuse or explanation for their neglect.”). Nor does her condition support the
extraordinary remedy of amending the Court’s previous order and reopening this matter to grant
the requested relief. Accord 11 Wright, Miller & Kane, Federal Practice and Procedure
§ 2810.1, at 127–28 (2d ed. 1995).
It is therefore, this 25th day of September, 2017, by the United States District Court for
the District of Maryland, ORDERED that:
1. Plaintiff’s motion for reconsideration BE, and the same hereby IS, DENIED.
2. The clerk shall transmit copies of this Memorandum Opinion and Order to the Appellant
and counsel for the Appellee and CLOSE this case.
United States District Judge
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