Himes v. Provident Life and Accident Insurance Company
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER: The court finds no basis for reconsideration of the previously entered Memorandum and Order denying the Motion for Judgment. The Motion for Reconsideration (Doc. No. 35 ), therefore, is DENIED. Further, the court finds no rea son not to grant the defendant's Motion to Enter Judgment (Doc. No. 38 ), to which the plaintiff has not responded. Accordingly, the Motion to Enter Judgment is GRANTED. This is the final Order in this case, and the Clerk is DIRECTED to ente r judgment in favor of the defendant, in accordance with Rule 58 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure. Signed by District Judge Aleta A. Trauger on 4/26/2021. (xc:Pro se party by regular mail. ) (DOCKET TEXT SUMMARY ONLY-ATTORNEYS MUST OPEN THE PDF AND READ THE ORDER.)(vh)
IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
FOR THE MIDDLE DISTRICT OF TENNESSEE
LARRY LEE HIMES,
PROVIDENT LIFE AND ACCIDENT
INSURANCY COMPANY (a/k/a UNUM
Case No. 3:19-cv-00215
Judge Aleta A. Trauger
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER
Before the court is plaintiff Larry Lee Himes’ Motion for Reconsideration (Doc. No. 35),
which cites Rule 59(e) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure and seeks the court’s
reconsideration of the decision denying Himes’ Motion for Judgment on the Administrative
Record. (See Memorandum and Order, Doc. Nos. 33, 34.) Also pending is the defendant’s Motion
to Enter Judgment (Doc. No. 38).
Under Rule 59(e), a court may alter or amend a judgment based on: (1) a clear error of law;
(2) newly discovered evidence; (3) an intervening change in controlling law; or (4) a need to
prevent manifest injustice. Leisure Caviar, LLC v. U.S. Fish & Wildlife Serv., 616 F.3d 612, 615
(6th Cir. 2010); Roger Miller Music, Inc. v. Sony/ATV Publ’g, LLC, 477 F.3d 383, 395 (6th Cir.
2007); Intera Corp. v. Henderson, 428 F.3d 605, 620 (6th Cir. 2005).
A motion under Rule 59(e) is not a vehicle for presenting new legal arguments that could
have been raised before a judgment was issued. Roger Miller Music, 477 F.3d at 395; see also
Leisure Caviar, 616 F.3d at 616 (noting that a movant “cannot use a Rule 59 motion to raise
arguments which could, and should, have been made before judgment issued”). Critically, “[a]
motion under Rule 59(e) is not an opportunity to reargue a case.” Sault Ste. Marie Tribe of
Chippewa Indians v. Engler, 146 F.3d 367, 374 (6th Cir. 1998).
Relief under Rule 59(e) is an extraordinary remedy reserved for exceptional cases. Hines
v. Comm’r of Soc. Sec., 414 F. Supp. 3d 1080, 1081 (S.D. Ohio 2019) (citations and quotation
marks omitted). “The grant or denial of a Rule 59(e) motion is within the informed discretion of
the district court, reversible only for abuse.” Scotts Co. v. Cent. Garden & Pet Co., 403 F.3d 781,
788 (6th Cir. 2005) (citation and internal quotation marks omitted), abrogated on other grounds,
Allied Indus. Scrap, Inc. v. OmniSource Corp., 776 F.3d 452 (6th Cir. 2015).
The plaintiff here raises five issues that he claims require reconsideration: (1) that the court
erred in concluding that defendant Provident was not required to waive the physician care
requirement when it was clear from the record that continued care would be of no benefit; (2) that
the court erred in concluding that, under the Plan documents, it was up to Provident to decide when
continued care would be of no further benefit, rather than the plaintiff’s physician; (3) that the
court erred in finding that Provident was entitled to seek objective evidence of his conditions when
they are, by their nature, subjective, and further, that the independent medical examiner’s report
qualified as the evidence of disability that Provident sought; (4) that it was unreasonable for
Provident to rely on the independent medical examiner’s report; and (5) that the plaintiff proved
by more than a preponderance of the evidence that he was disabled. (Doc. No. 35.)
The Motion for Reconsideration does not point to an intervening change in the law or newly
discovered evidence as a basis for reconsidering or reversing the court’s denial of the Motion for
Judgment. Nor does it point to a clear error of law. The Motion, in fact, does not cite to a single
case in support of its arguments. Instead, the plaintiff’s five points simply reiterate arguments
previously presented in the briefs filed in support of the Motion for Judgment. The court surmises
that the plaintiff’s position is that manifest injustice would result if the court does not reconsider
its previous decision. Rule 59(e), however, “is not designed to give an unhappy litigant an
opportunity to relitigate matters already decided, nor is it a substitute for appeal.” McDaniel v. Am.
Gen. Fin. Servs., Inc., No. 04-2667 B, 2007 WL 2084277, at *1–2 (W.D. Tenn. July 17, 2007)
(quoting Sherwood v. Royal Ins. Co. of Am., 290 F. Supp. 2d 856, 858 (N.D. Ohio 2003)).
As the court noted in McDaniel:
no general definition of manifest injustice has ever been developed; courts instead
look at the matter on a case-by-case basis. What is clear from case law, and from a
natural reading of the term itself, is that a showing of manifest injustice requires
that there exist a fundamental flaw in the court’s decision that without correction
would lead to a result that is both inequitable and not in line with applicable policy.
Id. at *2 (citations omitted). District courts in this circuit have also referenced the definition of
“manifest injustice” found in Black’s Law Dictionary: “An error in the trial court that is direct,
obvious and observable such as a defendant’s guilty plea that is involuntary. . . . .” See, e.g.,
McDaniel, 2007 WL 205277, at *2 (quoting Black’s Law Dictionary 974 (7th ed. 1999); In re
Looper, No. No. 05-38187, 2007 WL 1725251, at *2 (Bankr. E.D. Tenn., June 12, 2007)). The
plaintiff has not satisfied these standards in seeking relief under Rule 59(e).
The court finds no basis for reconsideration of the previously entered Memorandum and
Order denying the Motion for Judgment. The Motion for Reconsideration (Doc. No. 35), therefore,
Further, the court finds no reason not to grant the defendant’s Motion to Enter Judgment
(Doc. No. 38), to which the plaintiff has not responded. Accordingly, the Motion to Enter Judgment
This is the final Order in this case, and the Clerk is DIRECTED to enter judgment in favor
of the defendant, in accordance with Rule 58 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure.
It is so ORDERED.
ALETA A. TRAUGER
United States District Judge
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