United States District Court, W.D. Louisiana, Monroe Division
JUDGE KAREN L. HAYES
G. JAMES UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
the Court is Plaintiff Joseph Lawrence39;s
(“Lawrence”) “Motion For New Trial, or in
the Alternative, for Reconsideration pursuant to Federal Rule
of Civil Procedure 59 and 60” [Doc. No. 49] and
Intervener Plaintiff QBE Insurance Co.39;s
(“QBE”) “Motion for Trial, or in the
Alternative, for Reconsideration.” [Doc. No. 51]. Both
parties request that the Court reconsider its May 22, 2017
Ruling and Judgment dismissing Lawrence39;s claims with
prejudice. [Doc. Nos. 43 & 44]. For the following
reasons, the motions for reconsideration are DENIED.
FACTUAL AND PROCEDURAL BACKGROUND
WestRock CP, LLC and WestRock Services, Inc. (collectively
“WestRock”) are the owners and operators of a
paper mill in Hodge, Louisiana. [Doc. No. 34');">34, p. 5');">p. 5]. WestRock
contracted with Plum Creek Timber for the purchase of timber
products. Plum Creek, in turn, contracted with various
trucking companies, such as Lawrence39;s employer, Triple T
Logging, LLC, to transport the timber products from Plum
Creek39;s land to the Hodge mill. Id; [Doc. Nos.
14, 2015, Lawrence was delivering a load of timber to
WestRock39;s Hodge mill when his truck struck a pothole in
the road, causing him to bounce up and hit his head on the
ceiling of the cab. [Doc. No. 26-3, 10');">p. 10]. Lawrence had
previously made deliveries to the WestRock mill and was on
his second delivery of the day when he struck the pothole.
[Doc. No. 30, p. 23]. WestRock nurse Shontae Mims responded
to the scene with Emergency Medical Technician Shane
Sullivan. [Doc. No. 26-9]. Emergency services were called and
he was taken to the hospital. Id. At the time of the
incident, Lawrence was wearing his hard hat, but not wearing
his seat belt, and was in the process of putting his scale
ticket in his visor. [Doc. No. 26-3, pp. 11; 20-21].
was injured on the wood yard road, which provides the only
means for drivers to deliver timber to the mill. [Doc. No.
30, 8');">p. 8]. WestRock39;s records show that thirty-five other
drivers delivered timber to the Hodge mill on May 14, 2015,
traveling the same road as Lawrence, before the incident.
Id.; [Doc. No. 26-8, p. 3].
filed this lawsuit against WestRock in Louisiana state court
seeking damages. [Doc. No. 1]. Lawrence39;s employer39;s
worker39;s compensation carrier, QBE, intervened asserting
rights to recover the amount paid to Lawrence pursuant to the
Louisiana Workers39; Compensation Act. [Doc. No. 1-3].
WestRock then removed the matter to this Court. [Doc. No. 1].
April 7, 2017, WestRock filed a Motion for Summary Judgment
[Doc. No. 26], arguing that Lawrence is unable to prove that
an unreasonably dangerous condition existed and that WestRock
had actual or constructive knowledge of the dangerous
condition under Louisiana premises liability law. On May 22,
2017, the Court issued a Ruling and Judgment granted the
Motion for Summary Judgment and dismissed Lawrence39;s
claims. [Doc. Nos. 43 & 44].
14, 2017, Lawrence filed the instant Motion for New Trial, or
in the Alternative, for Reconsideration. [Doc. No. 49]. On
June 15, 2017, QBE filed a Motion for New Trial, or in the
Alternative, for Reconsideration incorporating by reference
Lawrence39;s motion. [Doc. No. 51]. On July 5, 2017,
WestRock filed an opposition [Doc. No. 53], and on July 18,
2017, Lawrence filed a reply. [Doc. No. 54].
LAW AND ANALYSIS
Federal Rules of Civil Procedure do not specifically provide
for motions for reconsideration. Shepherd v. Int39;l
Paper Co., 372 F.3d 326');">372 F.3d 326, 328 n.1 (5th Cir. 2004).
Depending on when it is filed, a motion seeking relief from a
final judgment may be construed under either Rule 59(e) as a
motion to alter or amend a judgment, or under Rule 60(b) as a
motion for relief from a final judgment. Id.;
Williams v. Thaler, 3d 291');">602 F.3d 291, 303 (5th Cir.
2010) (“When a litigant files a motion seeking a change
in judgment, courts typically determine the appropriate
motion based on whether the litigant filed the motion within
Rule 59(e)39;s time limit.”). If a motion for
reconsideration is filed within 28 days of the judgment or
order of which the party complains, it is considered a Rule
59(e) motion; otherwise, it is treated as a Rule 60(b)
motion. See Hamilton Rothschilds v. Williams
Rothschilds, 147 F.3d 367');">147 F.3d 367, 371 n. 19 (5th Cir. 1998).
Because Lawrence39;s motion was filed within 28 days of the
final judgment, the Court construes it as a motion to amend
the judgment under Rule 59(e). See Demahy v. Schwarz
Pharma, Inc., 3d 177');">702 F.3d 177 (5th Cir. 2012) (where the
court considered plaintiff39;s Rule 60(b) motion as a
motion to amend judgment under Rule 59(e) because it was
filed within the applicable 28-day time frame).
or amending a judgment under Rule 59(e) is an
“extraordinary remedy” used infrequently by the
courts and only in specific circumstances. Templet v.
Hydrochem, Inc., 367 F.3d 473');">367 F.3d 473, 479 (5th Cir. 2004).
“A motion to alter or amend the judgment under Rule
59(e) ‘must clearly establish either a manifest error
of law or fact or must present newly discovered evidence39;
and ‘cannot be used to raise arguments which could, and
should, have been made before the judgment
issued.39;” Schiller v. Physicians Res. Grp.
Inc., 34');">342 F.3d 563');">34');">342 F.3d 563, 567 (5th Cir. 2003) (quoting
Rosenzweig v. Azurix Corp., 332 F.3d 854');">332 F.3d 854, 863-64
(5th Cir. 2003) (other citations and quotation marks
omitted). “Relief under Rule 59(e) is also appropriate
when there has been an intervening change in the controlling
law.” Schiller, 34');">342 F.3d at 567-68 (citation
59(e) motion should not provide an opportunity for movants to
rehash evidence, legal theories, or arguments that could have
been raised before judgment. Templet, 367 F.3d at
478-79; see LeClerc v. Webb, 19 F.3d 405');">419 F.3d 405, 412 n. 13
(5th Cir. 2005). In determining whether to grant a Rule 59(e)
request, the Fifth Circuit has indicated that district courts
should balance the need for finality against the need to