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84 Lumber Co. v. Paschen

United States District Court, E.D. Louisiana

August 8, 2017

84 LUMBER COMPANY
v.
F.H. PASCHEN, S.N. NIELSEN & ASSOCIATES, LLC,

         SECTION “R” (5)

          ORDER AND REASONS

          SARAH S. VANCE UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE

         Plaintiff 84 Lumber Company moves the Court to reconsider its May 16, 2017 Order[1] granting defendants' motion for partial summary judgment.[2]For the following reasons, 84 Lumber's motion is denied.

         I. BACKGROUND

         The Court has already detailed the facts of this case in multiple orders, including the one that 84 Lumber asks the Court to reconsider.[3] For here, it will suffice to recount that this case arises out of two school construction projects in New Orleans, Louisiana. Both projects were subject to the provisions of the Louisiana Public Works Act (LPWA), La. Rev. Stat. § 38:2241, et seq. Defendant Paschen was the general contractor on both projects, and subcontracted a portion of each project to J & A Construction Management Resources Company, Inc. (J & A).[4] J & A then subcontracted a portion of its obligations to 84 Lumber.[5]

         According to 84 Lumber, in April 2011, Paschen and J & A stopped paying 84 Lumber for its work on the projects.[6] On June 8, 2012, 84 Lumber filed two sworn statements of claims, one for each project. 84 Lumber claimed $808, 520.39 for the Osborne Project, and $1, 042, 080.09 for the South Plaquemines Project.[7] 84 Lumber reflected in two June 2012 letters mailed to the Plaquemines Parish School Board, and to the Louisiana Department of Education and the Sureties, respectively, that 84 Lumber had emailed Paschen's attorney Charles F. Seemann copies of the sworn statements.[8]

         On July 5, 2012, 84 Lumber sued Paschen and the projects' Sureties, alleging that 84 Lumber was not paid in full for work performed under its Master Service Agreement with J & A.[9] 84 Lumber sued under the LPWA, seeking payment on its June 2012 Sworn Statements of Claims from both Paschen and the Sureties.[10] The case was stayed for nearly three years while the parties attempted to pursue their claims through arbitration.[11] After the stay was lifted, defendants moved for partial summary judgment on 84 Lumber's LPWA claims.[12] On May 16, 2017, the Court granted defendants' motion because it found that 84 Lumber had failed to comply with the notice requirements of section 2247 of the LPWA.[13] In doing so, the Court rejected 84 Lumber's argument that all that is required under section 2247 is “actual notice.”[14]

         84 Lumber now moves the Court to reconsider its order under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 59(e), arguing both that the Court committed manifest error and that failure to reconsider will result in manifest injustice.[15] Paschen and the Sureties filed a response in opposition, [16] and 84 Lumber replied.[17]

         II. LEGAL STANDARD

         A district court has considerable discretion to grant or deny a motion under Rule 59(e). See Edward H. Bohlin Co. v. Banning Co., 6 F.3d 350, 355 (5th Cir. 1993). 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; see also Compass Tech., Inc. v. Tseng Labs., Inc., 71 F.3d 1125, 1130 (3d Cir. 1995) (“Rule 59 and Rule 60(b)(2) share the same standard for granting relief on the basis of newly discovered evidence.”).

         III. DISCUSSION

         84 Lumber does not base this motion on newly discovered or previously unavailable evidence, nor does it argue that reconsideration is justified by an intervening change in the controlling law. Instead, it argues that the Court “based its ruling” on a manifest error of fact because it found that there was no evidence in the record establishing that Paschen's then-counsel Charles Seemann received 84 Lumber's emailed copies of its sworn statements, or that he brought the statements to Paschen.[18] Additionally, 84 Lumber argues that failure to reconsider will result in manifest injustice. The Court addresses each argument in turn.

         A. The Court Did Not Base its Ruling on a Manifest Error of Fact

         84 Lumber asserts that the Court made a manifest error of fact when it distinguished cases relied on by 84 Lumber because in those cases there was “undisputed evidence that the defendant-contractor had received the notice containing ...


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