Evans v. Wilson Trucking Company et al
OPINION and ORDER denying 67 Motion for Reconsideration re 63 Order Ruling on Report and Recommendation. Signed by Honorable Bruce Howe Hendricks on 5/17/17.(alew, ) Modified on 5/17/2017 to edit text (alew, ).
IN THE DISTRICT COURT OF THE UNITED STATES
FOR THE DISTRICT OF SOUTH CAROLINA
Civil Action No.: 6:15-887-BHH
OPINION AND ORDER
Wilson Trucking Company, Keith
Doonan, and Tim Stokes,
This matter is before the Court on Plaintiff Adam Evans’ (“Plaintiff”) pro se motion
for reconsideration (ECF No. 67) of the Court’s August 15, 2016 Order (ECF No. 63)
granting summary judgment in favor of Defendants Wilson Trucking Company, Keith
Doonan, and Tim Stokes (“Defendants”). Plaintiff cites no legal authority or basis for his
motion, stating only that it is made in light of putative “newly discovered evidence.” (See
ECF No. 67 at 1-2.) Accordingly, the Court applies the standards corresponding to
motions made pursuant to Federal Rules of Civil Procedure 59(e) and 60(b).
By way of background, Plaintiff filed this action against his former employer,
former manager, and former dispatch supervisor, asserting that they discriminated
against him because of his race and retaliated against him because of a complaint he
made to a safety manager, in violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, as
amended, and Title 42, United States Code, Section 1981. (ECF No. 1.) After pretrial
handling by United States Magistrate Judge Kevin F. McDonald, and the issuance of a
Report and Recommendation, the Court granted Defendants’ motion for summary
judgment by way of an Order dated August 15, 2016 (ECF No. 63). The Court found that
Plaintiff could not establish a prima facie case of discrimination or retaliation, and had
presented no evidence raising a reasonable inference that his termination was motivated
by race or bore any causal connection to the complaint he made to his safety manager,
which had not been shown to be protected activity under Title VII in the first instance.
(See ECF No. 57 at 18-22.) Plaintiff filed the instant motion for reconsideration on
September 2, 2016 asserting, generally, that “new evidence” in the form of two affidavits
rendered the Court’s entry of summary judgment improper. (See ECF No. 67.)
“In general, reconsideration of a judgment after its entry is an extraordinary
remedy which should be used sparingly.” Pac. Ins. Co. v. Am. Nat’l Fire Ins. Co., 148
F.3d 396, 403 (4th Cir. 1998). The Fourth Circuit has held such a motion should be
granted for only three reasons: (1) to follow an intervening change in controlling law; (2)
on account of new evidence; or (3) to correct a clear error of law or prevent manifest
injustice. Hutchinson v. Staton, 994 F.2d 1076, 1081 (4th Cir. 1993). Rule 59 motions
“may not be used to make arguments that could have been made before the judgment
was entered.” Hill v. Braxton, 277 F.3d 701, 708 (4th Cir. 2002). Nor do such motions
constitute opportunities to revisit issues already ruled upon simply because a litigant is
displeased with the result. See Hutchinson, 994 F.2d at 1082 (stating that “mere
disagreement does not support a Rule 59(e) motion”) (citation omitted).
“[B]efore a party may seek relief under Rule 60(b), a party first must show
‘timeliness, a meritorious defense, a lack of unfair prejudice to the opposing party, and
exceptional circumstances.’” Dowell v. State Farm Fire and Cas. Auto. Ins. Co., 993 F.2d
46, 48 (4th Cir. 1993) (quoting Werner v. Carbo, 731 F.2d 204, 207 (4th Cir. 1984)).
“After a party has crossed this initial threshold, he then must satisfy one of the six
specific sections of Rule 60(b).” Dowell, 993 F.2d at 48. Rule 60(b) of the Federal Rules
of Civil Procedure allows the Court to relieve a party from a final judgment for the
. . . (1) mistake, inadvertence, surprise, or excusable neglect; (2) newly
discovered evidence that, with reasonable diligence, could not have been
discovered in time to move for a new trial under Rule 59(b); (3) fraud
(whether previously called intrinsic or extrinsic), misrepresentation, or
misconduct by an opposing party; (4) the judgment is void; (5) the
judgment has been satisfied, released or discharged; it is based on an
earlier judgment that has been reversed or vacated; or applying it
prospectively is no longer equitable; or (6) any other reason that justifies
Fed. R. Civ. P. 60(b). “Where the motion is nothing more than a request that the district
court change its mind, however, it is not authorized by Rule 60(b).” United States v.
Williams, 674 F.2d 310, 313 (4th Cir. 1982) (citing 11 C. Wright & A. Miller, supra, s
2858). The only discernable basis for reconsideration asserted in Plaintiff’s motion is the
“new evidence” submitted therewith, and the Court will conduct its analysis accordingly.
The Court need not lend lengthy discourse to disposal of Plaintiff’s motion, which
is entirely without merit. The parties were granted a period of six months in which to
conduct discovery in this case, and Plaintiff offers no explanation or excuse for why he
could not have obtained the newly submitted affidavits in a timely manner. Plaintiff’s
submission thus immediately fails to satisfy the strictures of Rule 60’s requirements. See
Fed. R. Civ. P. 60(b)(2); see also Dowell, 993 F.2d at 48. More importantly, Plaintiff’s
“new evidence” does nothing to advance the merits of his case. The substance of the
affidavits merely confirms factual issues that were not in dispute during the summary
judgment phase, namely, that Plaintiff was delayed while making a delivery to FN
Manufacturing on the morning of August 15, 2013 due to a chemical container that was
leaking in his delivery truck. This “new evidence” does not support Plaintiff’s racial
discrimination and retaliation claims in any way, and is not an appropriate basis for relief
under Rules 59(e) and 60(b). The remainder of Plaintiff’s motion consists of arguments
that could have been made before judgment was entered and of attempts to rehash
issues already resolved in Defendants’ favor; such arguments and attempts are
unavailing. See Hill, 277 F.3d at 708; Hutchinson, 994 F.2d at 1082.
Out of recognition for Plaintiff’s pro se status, the Court declines to grant
Defendants’ request to recover from Plaintiff the attorney’s fees and costs incurred in the
preparation of its response to Plaintiff’s motion (see ECF No. 68 at 13). However,
Plaintiff is hereby advised that any further frivolous motions submitted in this case may
result in the imposition of liability for such fees and costs.
Plaintiff’s pro se motion for reconsideration is DENIED.
IT IS SO ORDERED.
/s/Bruce Howe Hendricks
United States District Judge
May 17, 2017
Greenville, South Carolina
NOTICE OF RIGHT TO APPEAL
The parties are hereby notified that any right to appeal this Order is governed by
Rules 3 and 4 of the Federal Rules of Appellate Procedure.
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