Jacques v. Haas Group International, LLC
ORDER DENYING 134 Motion to Alter Judgment Signed by Judge Susan P. Watters on 2/22/2017. (AMC)
IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
FOR THE DISTRICT OF MONTANA
THOMAS P. JACQUES,
HAAS GROUP INTERNATIONAL,
Before the Court is Plaintiff Thomas Jacques' Motion to Amend the
Judgment (Doc. 134). For the foregoing reasons, Jacques' Motion to Amend the
Judgment is DENIED.
Regarding Jacques' wage claim, the jury's verdict form contained three
questions. The first question asked:
Did Defendant Haas Group International, Inc., fail to pay
compensation owed to Plaintiff Tom Jacques while he was employed?
The jury answered yes. The second question asked:
Of the compensation that was owed to Jacques while he was
employed, what amount, if any still has not been paid by Haas?
The jury answered $48,252.50. The third question asked:
What percentage penalty should Haas pay on the amounts that it did
not timely pay to Jacques?
The jury answered 110%.
On December 14, 2016 this Court entered an Order that judgment upon the
jury verdicts be entered by the Clerk of Court in favor of Plaintiff Thomas P.
Jacques. Doc. 128. As part of that order, the Court directed that judgment in favor
of Plaintiff Jacques be entered awarding him $101,330.25 in unpaid commissions
and penalties under the Wage Payment Act. Id. While the Order did not explain
the calculation resulting in the $101,330.25 award, this amount was calculated by
adding the unpaid wage amount calculated by the jury ($48,252.50) to the penalty
amount ($48,242.50 x 110% = $53,077.75). The Clerk of Court entered judgment
on that same date, pursuant to the Order. Doc. 129.
Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 59(e) permits a district court to reconsider
and amend a previous order. Carrol v. Nakatani, 342 F.3d 934, 945 (9th Cir.
2003). The rule is an "extraordinary remedy, to be used sparingly in the interests
of finality and conservation of judicial resources." Carrol, 342 F.3d at 945. A
motion for reconsideration should not be granted "absent highly unusual
circumstances, unless the district court is presented with newly discovered
evidence, committed clear error, or ifthere is an intervening change in the
controlling law." Carrol, 342 F.3d at 945.
Jacques argues the jury's penalty of 110% applies to commission amounts
previously paid by Haas, in August and September 2014, which, in Jacques' view,
were untimely. The Court disagrees. The stipulated verdict form did not ask the
jury to determine whether the amounts previously paid by Haas were untimely, and
if so, whether an additional 55% penalty on those commission amounts should be
paid by Haas. (Haas voluntarily paid a 55% penalty on the commission amounts it
paid to Jacques in August and September 2014.) The Court cannot assess the
110% penalty on the amounts previously paid by Haas without a stipulated fact or
a finding by the jury that the amounts previously paid were untimely and an
additional 55o/o penalty should be paid by Haas on those amounts. Therefore, the
judgment contains no clear error or other reason justifying an amendment. Carrol,
342 F.3d at 945.
Jacques' Motion to Amend the Judgment (Doc. 134) is DENIED.
DATED this .,,Pd day of February, 2017.
SUSAN P. WATTERS
United States District Judge
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