United States District Court, W.D. Louisiana, Monroe Division
L. HAYES MAG. JUDGE.
G. JAMES UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
before the Court is a “Motion for New Trial and/or to
Alter or Amend Judgment and/or in the Alternative, for Relief
under Rule 60 and/or for Clarification of Ruling and
Judgment” (“Rule 54(b) Motion”) [Doc. No.
348] filed by Defendants Daniel Shackleford, College City
Leasing, LLC, Taylor Truck Lines, Inc., Taylor Logistics,
Inc., and Taylor Consolidated, Inc. (collectively, “the
Taylor Entities”). The Taylor Entities move the Court
to reconsider its July 13, 2017 Ruling and Judgment [Doc.
Nos. 343 & 344] granting Plaintiff Union Pacific Railroad
Company's (“Union Pacific”) Motion for
Partial Summary Judgment on the Issue of Preemption of
Liability for Additional Signs or Signalization at the
Crossing [Doc. No. 190]. The Court held that federal
preemption bars any claims or defenses that Union Pacific was
negligent by failing to provide additional signs or signals
at the Crossing to warn of low ground clearance.
Taylor Entities argue that the Court committed manifest error
of law because a low ground clearance sign does not fall
within the definitions of active or passive warning signs
under the Federal Railway Safety Act, and there is no federal
law or regulation on the use or placement of low ground
clearance signs. Accordingly, the Taylor Entities argue that
state law controls, and they can assert a defense of
negligence against Union Pacific.
the Taylor Entities seek clarification of the scope of the
Court's ruling. Specifically, they ask the Court to
address whether their expert, Alan Blackwell
(“Blackwell”), can offer testimony at trial
regarding the need for the Union Pacific trains to reduce
speed or to remove the track from service until a low ground
clearance sign was posted.
response, Union Pacific argues that the Taylor Entities have
not presented a mistake of fact or law, new evidence,
injustice, or change in the controlling law that would
support the Court's reconsideration of its judgment.
Union Pacific further contends that a motion to clarify is
not provided for in the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, and
the remedy sought extends beyond the Court's ruling on
the Motion for Partial Summary Judgment.
reply memorandum was filed.
Federal Rules of Civil Procedure do not recognize a motion
for reconsideration per se. Instead, a motion
challenging a judgment or order may be filed under Rules 54,
59, or 60. Rules 59 and 60 apply only to final judgments.
Rule 54(b) provides that any order “that adjudicates
fewer than all the claims... [among] all the parties... may
be revised at any time before the entry of a [final]
judgment.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 54(b). “Under Rule
54[(b)], a district court has the inherent procedural power
to reconsider, rescind, or modify an interlocutory order for
cause seen by it to be sufficient.” Iturralde v.
Shaw Grp., Inc., 512 F. App'x 430, 432 (5th Cir.
2013) (quoting Melancon v. Texaco, Inc.,
659 F.2d 551, 553 (5th Cir. 1981)) (citations omitted);
see generally Moses H. Cone Mem'l Hosp. v. Mercury
Const. Corp., 460 U.S. 1, 12 n. 14 (1983) (holding that
“virtually all interlocutory orders may be altered or
amended before final judgment if sufficient cause is
shown”). An “order granting partial summary
judgment [is] interlocutory, ” and, therefore, the
Court must “analyze the motion for reconsideration
under Rule 54(b) . . . instead of Rule 59(e), which applies
to final judgments.” Cabral v. Brennan, 853
F.3d 763, 766 (5th Cir. 2017). Courts evaluate motions to
reconsider interlocutory orders under a “less
exacting” standard than Rule 59(e), but, nevertheless,
look to similar considerations for guidance. See HBM
Interests, LLC v. Chesapeake Louisiana, LP, No. 12-1048,
2013 WL 3893989 (W.D. La. July 26, 2013) (quoting
Livingston Downs Racing Ass'n, Inc. v. Jefferson
Downs Corp., 259 F.Supp.2d 471, 475 (M.D. La. 2002));
Sw. Louisiana Hosp. Ass'n v. BASF Const.
Chemicals, LLC, No. 2:10-CV-902, 2013 WL 1858610 (W.D.
La. Apr. 29, 2013) (quoting Livingston Downs, 259
F.Supp.2d at 475). Therefore, in determining whether to grant
the motion, the Court evaluates whether there are
“manifest errors of law or fact upon which judgment is
based[, ]” whether “new evidence” is
available, whether there is a need “to prevent manifest
injustice, ” or whether there has been “an
intervening change in controlling law.” HBM
Interests, 2013 WL 3893989, at *1 (internal quotation
marks and citations omitted).
case, the Court finds no basis to reconsider or rescind its
previous Ruling and Judgment. The Court has already
considered all arguments raised by the Taylor Entities before
ruling that their claim regarding the low clearance warning
sign was preempted. The Taylor Entities do not point to any
change in the controlling or new evidence to support their
motion, but merely rehash their previous arguments.
Therefore, the Court finds no reason to reconsider its Ruling
the Court finds no need to offer “clarification”
because the Ruling and Judgment are clear that the Taylor
Entities cannot rely on the defense that Union Pacific was
negligent in failing to post a low clearance warning
ORDERED that the motion is DENIED.
To the extent that the Taylor Entities
contend that the combination of conditions required the Union
Pacific crew to reduce speed, the Court has issued a separate
Ruling and Judgment on Union Pacific's Motion for ...