United States District Court, W.D. Louisiana, Lafayette Division
JOHN F. STROY
DEPARTMENT OF VETERANS AFFAIRS, ET AL.
WHITEHURST MAGISTRATE JUDGE.
REBECCA F. DOHERTY, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
the Court is the "Plaintiff s Motion to Alter or Amend
the Judgment" [Doc. 62] filed by the plaintiff, John F.
Stroy. In his motion, the plaintiff argues this Court erred
in finding that the plaintiffs filing of his complaint two
days early presented a bar to this Court's subject matter
jurisdiction, The motion is opposed by the defendants [Doc.
65]. For the following reasons, the motion is DENIED.
Factual and Procedural Background
- a sixty-five year old African-American male employed by the
Department of Veterans Affairs ("VA") as a primary
care physician - brought this suit, alleging his employer
engaged in unlawful discrimination in violation of Title VII
of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, 42 U.S.C. §2000e,
et seq. Specifically, plaintiff alleges he suffered
unlawful discrimination based upon his race, and suffered
retaliation for complaining of same.
Court's December 5, 2016 Memorandum Ruling on
defendants' motion for summary judgment, the Court
concluded plaintiff failed to properly exhaust administrative
remedies and dismissed plaintiffs race based discrimination
claim without prejudice under Rule 12(b)(1) [Doc.
58, p. 12], This Court further granted summary judgment on
plaintiffs second claim of retaliation finding plaintiff
failed to present a. prima facie case of
discrimination based upon retaliation [Doc. 58, pp. 24-25].
On December 21, 2016, a final judgment dismissing all of the
plaintiffs claim was entered by this Court [Doc, 61].
instant motion, plaintiff argues the Court "committed a
manifest error of law and the Plaintiffs retaliation claim
should not be dismissed as the required exhaustion of
administrative remedies is not jurisdictional." The
plaintiff seeks the following grounds for relief based on
that argument: (1) reopening of the race based discrimination
claim, as plaintiff claims that it should not have been
dismissed as jurisdictional under Rule 12(b)(1); or (2)
remand the claim to the agency for further administrative
proceedings should the Court maintain its finding that it is
without jurisdiction over the race discrimination claim due
to plaintiffs failure to properly exhaust the claim.
Law and Analysis
plaintiff argues application of Rule 59(e) of the Federal
Rules of Civil Procedure. The Fifth Circuit has held a motion
which challenges a prior judgment on its merits will be
treated as either a motion "to alter or amend"
under Rule 59(e) or a motion for "relief from
judgment" under Rule 60(b), depending on when the motion
was filed. If the motion was filed within twenty-eight days
of the entry of judgment, it will be considered under Rule
59(e); if filed after that time period, it will be treated as
a motion under Rule 60(b). See Teal v. Eagle Fleet,
Inc., 933 F, 2d 341, 347 (5thCir. 1991),
citing Lavespere v. Niagara Mach. & Tool Works,
Inc., 910 F.2d 167, 173 (5th Cir. 1990)
(overruled on other grounds). In the instant case, plaintiff
filed his motion for reconsideration within 28 days of entry
of judgment, therefore the motion is properly considered
under Rule 59(e).
established Fifth Circuit jurisprudence,
A Rule 59(e) motion "calls into question the correctness
of a judgment." This Court has held that such a motion
is not the proper vehicle for rehashing evidence, legal
theories, or arguments that could have been offered or raised
before the entry of judgment. Rather, Rule 59(e)
"serve[s] the narrow purpose of allowing a party to
correct manifest errors of law or fact or to present newly
discovered evidence." Reconsideration of a judgment
after its entry is an extraordinary remedy that should be
Templet v. HydroChem Inc., 367 F.3d 473, 478-79
(5th Cir. 2004) (internal citations omitted).
Lavespere, this Court recognized while a district
court has considerable discretion in deciding whether to
reopen a case in response to a motion for reconsideration,
such discretion is not limitless. 910 F.2d at 174. The Fifth
Circuit has identified two important judicial imperatives
relating to such a motion; 1) the need to bring litigation to
an end; and 2) the need to render just decisions on the basis
of all the facts, noting "[t]he task for the district
court is to strike the proper balance between these competing
interests. Id. The Fifth Circuit has further held
"an unexcused failure to present evidence available at
the time of summary judgment provides a valid basis for
denying a subsequent motion for reconsideration."
See Templet v. HydroChem Inc., 367 F .3d at 478,
citing Russ v. Int'l Paper Co., 589');">943 F.2d 589,
593 (5th Cir.1991).
review of the record shows the plaintiffs argument in support
of his motion to amend the judgment is identical to the
argument raised in opposition to the defendants' motion
for summary judgment. This Court considered all arguments
presented by the plaintiff in response to the defendants'
motion for summary judgment prior to concluding the
plaintiffs discrimination claim should be dismissed
without prejudice under Rule 12(b)(1), This Court