United States District Court, E.D. Louisiana
ORDER AND REASONS
TRICHE MILAZZO UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
the Court is Defendants' Motion for Reconsideration (Doc.
39). For the following reasons, this Motion is
Steven Williams brings this negligence action, as a result of
injuries sustained while accessing the attic at the home of
his brother, Defendant Mitchell Williams. He contends that
one of the rungs of the attic access ladder was broken,
causing him to fall to the floor and sustain serious injuries
to his right shoulder. He alleges that the defect in the
ladder posed an unreasonable risk of harm. Defendants filed a
Motion for Summary Judgment, alleging that there was no way
that he knew or, in the exercise of reasonable care, should
have known of the defective ladder. The Court denied this
motion, finding that this issue presented a genuine issue of
fact inappropriate for determination on summary judgment.
Defendants responded with the instant Motion for
Reconsideration, which Plaintiff opposes.
in this District generally analyze motions to reconsider
interlocutory orders under Rule 59(e). A Rule 59(e)
motion “[i]s not the proper vehicle for rehashing
evidence, legal theories, or arguments that could have been
offered or raised before the entry of
judgment.” Instead, Rule 59(e) serves the narrow
purpose of correcting “‘manifest error[s] of law
or fact or . . . presenting newly discovered
evidence.'“ “‘Manifest error' is one
that ‘is plain and indisputable, and that amounts to a
complete disregard of the controlling
law.'” In the Fifth Circuit, altering, amending,
or reconsidering a judgment under Rule 59(e) “[i]s an
extraordinary remedy that should be used
sparingly.”While district courts have
“considerable discretion in deciding whether to grant
or deny a motion to alter a judgment, ” denial is
Motion, Defendants aver that the Court's earlier order
denying their Motion was in error because (1) no reasonable
jury could find that the defendant should have known of the
problem with the attic stairs and (2) the Court's order
did not address Defendants' contention that the broken
ladder step constituted an open and obvious condition. The
Court will address these arguments in turn.
Defendants' Arguments Concerning Knowledge of the
Defective Condition are Not Appropriate for a Motion for
argue that this Court erroneously placed the burden on them
to explain what happened to the step. This is a
mischaracterization of this Court's ruling. The Court
merely found that the record was incomplete and that there
was a genuine issue of material fact as to whether Defendant
knew or should have known of the defective condition.
Defendants point the Court to no new evidence and no
intervening change in the law in support of their motion for
reconsideration on this issue. Accordingly, no grounds for
relief exist and the Motion is denied in this respect.
Defendants Arguments Relative to the “Open and
Obvious” Nature of the Condition Were Not Properly
Before the Court
next asks for reconsideration because the Court “did
not address at all” their arguments that the broken
step was open and obvious under Louisiana law. The Court did
not address this issue for the simple reason that it was not
raised in Defendants' Motion. Instead, this argument was
raised for the first time in Defendants' reply brief. New
arguments and legal theories raised for the first time in a
reply brief cannot be considered by the ...