United States District Court, E.D. Louisiana
RICHARD J. THOMPSON
YELLOW FIN MARINE SERVICES, LLC.
ORDER AND REASONS
S. VANCE UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
Richard J. Thompson moves for reconsideration of the
Court's order denying his motion for a new trial under
Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 59(a). In its order, the
Court rejected Thompson's argument that the jury's
interrogatory responses were inconsistent. Thompson now
moves for reconsideration of that order under Federal Rule of
Civil Procedure 59(e). For the following reasons,
Thompson's motion is denied.
district court has considerable discretion to grant or to
deny a motion under Rule 59(e). See Edward H. Bohlin Co.
v. Banning Co., 6 F.3d 350, 355 (5th Cir. 1993). A
court's reconsideration of an earlier order is an
extraordinary remedy, which should be granted sparingly.
See Fields v. Pool Offshore, Inc., 1998 WL
43217, *2 (E.D. La. Mar. 19, 1998); Bardwell v. George G.
Sharp, Inc., 1995 WL 517120, *1 (E.D. La. Aug. 30,
1995). The Court must “strike the proper balance
between the need for finality and the need to render a just
decision on the basis of all the facts.” Edward H.
Bohlin Co., 6 F.3d at 355. A moving party must satisfy
at least one of the following criteria to prevail on a Rule
59(e) motion: (1) the motion is necessary to correct a
manifest error of fact or law; (2) the movant presents newly
discovered or previously unavailable evidence; (3) the motion
is necessary in order to prevent manifest injustice; and (4)
the motion is justified by an intervening change in the
controlling law. See Fidelity & Deposit Co. of Md. v.
Omni Bank, 1999 WL 970526, *3 (E.D. La. Oct. 21, 1999);
Fields, 1998 WL 43217 at *2.
explained more completely in the Court's earlier order,
Thompson worked for defendant Yellow Fin Marine Services, LLC
as a boat captain. In his complaint, Thompson sought recovery
from Yellow Fin for alleged injuries sustained when the
K-MARINE XI, one of Yellow Fin's boats, collided with an
energy platform. Thompson was serving as captain of the
K-MARINE XI at the time of the collision, and Yellow Fin
counterclaimed for damage to the ship.
verdict form, the jury found that Yellow Fin was not
responsible for any injuries to Thompson. As to Yellow
Fin's counterclaims, the jury found Thompson liable, but
found that Thompson was only 50 percent at fault for the
collision. The jury assigned the remaining 50 percent
of fault to Yellow Fin. In his motion for new trial, Thompson
argued that these findings are inconsistent, and that
Thompson is therefore entitled to a new trial.
denying Thompson's motion, the Court noted that Yellow
Fin argued two theories in its defense: (1) that Thompson,
rather than Yellow Fin, was responsible for the collision;
and (2) that Thompson was not injured in the collision, and
that Thompson's alleged health issues in fact predate the
accident. The Court found that the jury's verdict is
consistent with its crediting the latter defense. In other
words, the jury could have found that both Yellow Fin and
Thompson were responsible for the collision, but that
Thompson was not injured in the collision and that he
therefore cannot recover on his claim.
motion for reconsideration, Thompson makes two arguments.
First, Thompson simply rehashes his argument that the
jury's verdict is inconsistent. This argument is rejected
for the reasons offered in the Court's previous order.
second argument is that there was insufficient evidence to
support a finding that Thompson's injuries predated the
accident. In determining whether the evidence adduced at
trial was sufficient to support the verdict, the Court must
“draw all reasonable inferences and resolve all
credibility determinations in the light most favorable to the
nonmoving party.” Foradori v. Harris, 523 F.3d
477, 485 (5th Cir. 2008) (citation omitted). The jury's
verdict must be upheld “[u]nless the evidence is of
such quality and weight that reasonable and impartial jurors
could not arrive at such a verdict.” Ferrara Fire
Apparatus, Inc. v. JLG Indus., Inc., 581 F. App'x
440, 443 (5th Cir. 2014).
there was ample evidence to support a finding that
Thompson's injuries predated the collision aboard the K
MARINE XI. Although, Thompson testified that he suffered pain
only after the collision, “[t]he jury was under no
obligation to believe the testimony of [Thompson] as to his .
. . pain, even if that testimony were undisputed.”
Semper v. Santos, 845 F.2d 1233, 1237 (3d Cir.
1988); see also Id. (“[T]he trier of fact,
whether the issue be one of an excessive or inadequate
verdict, is at liberty within the bounds of reason to reject
entirely the uncontradicted testimony of a witness which does
not convince the trier of its merit.”). Furthermore, to
the extent Dr. Gregory Brick, Thompson's treating
physician, offered any opinion on causation, that opinion was
explicitly based on Thompson's own account of his pain.
Brick also testified that Thompson suffered from degenerative
arthritis in both hips and that this condition developed
before the collision.Finally, Dr. Brick also agreed that
he does not “relate” any pain in Thompson's
left hip to the collision. Based on this evidence, the jury was
free to conclude that Thompson's injuries predated the
collision. Accordingly, Thompson has shown no manifest error
of fact or law in the Court's prior order.
these reasons, plaintiff Richard J. Thompson's motion for
reconsideration is DENIED.
 R. Doc. 78.