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Joseph v. Edwards

United States District Court, E.D. Louisiana

October 11, 2017

JERRY JOSEPH AND MERLINE JOSEPH
v.
LOUISIANA DEPARTMENT OF CORRECTIONS SHERIFF DANIEL EDWARDS, OFFICER BROCK, COLUMBIA CASUALTY COMPANY, AND ALLISON L. THORNHILL, N.P.

         SECTION: “S” (4)

          ORDER

          KAREN WELLS ROBY CHIEF UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE.

         Before the Court is a Motion for Rehearing/New Trial (R. Doc. 83) filed by Plaintiffs, Jerry Joseph and Merline Joseph, requesting that this Court reconsider its Order on Plaintiffs' Motion for Leave to File Third Supplemental and Amending Complaint (R. Doc. 80). The motion is opposed. R. Doc. 86. The motion was submitted on September 13, 2017, and was heard on the briefs. For the following reasons, the motion is DENIED.

         I. Background

         This action was filed in the District Court on March 9, 2015. R. Doc. 1. The Plaintiffs allege that their son Keith Joseph (“Deceased”) was booked as an inmate at the Tangipahoa Parish Prison in Tangipahoa, Louisiana, on or about February 19, 2014. Id. at p. 4. They assert that the Deceased suffered from various health conditions, including blood clots surrounding his lungs and a severe heart condition, which, left untreated, caused him to suffer intolerable chest pain. Id. at p. 5. According to the Plaintiffs, prison officials failed to provide adequate medical care, which subsequently resulted in the death of the Deceased on March 11, 2014. Id. at pp. 6-7. As such, the Plaintiffs have filed this action against the Louisiana Department of Corrections and a number of other individuals associated with the prison, seeking damages for mental pain, anguish, distress, burial expenses, loss of love and affection, and all other damages. Id. at p. 8.

         On July 28, 2017, Plaintiffs filed a Motion for Leave to File Third Supplemental and Amending Complaint (R. Doc. 73), seeking to add Murinda Perez (“Perez”), the mother of Keith Joseph's minor child, as Plaintiff in this action. The Court denied the motion, finding that Perez's claim was prescribed and would not relate back because there was no showing that the Defendants knew or should have known of the existence and involvement of the new plaintiff. Furthermore, there was no evidence that the doctrine of contra non valentem should have been applied. R. Doc. 80.

         At this time, the Plaintiffs have filed a motion for rehearing/new trial. R. Doc. 83. The Plaintiffs argue that they have obtained the Affidavit of Murinda Perez, which asserts that Perez did not learn of the Deceased's death until late 2016, and thus, contra non valentem should apply and the Court's August 10, 2017, Order should be overturned. R. Doc. 83.

         The Defendants oppose the motion, arguing that (1) the Plaintiffs could have presented Perez's Affidavit at the time of the original hearing, and thus, are not entitled to a new trial/new hearing and (2) the “new evidence” is insufficient to support the application of contra non valentem. R. Doc. 86.

         II. Standard of Review

         Federal Rule of Civil Procedure (“Rule”) 54(b) provides that an order adjudicating fewer than all the claims among all the parties “may be revised at any time” before the entry of a final judgment adjudicating all the claims and all the parties' rights and liabilities. Under Rule 54, a district court “possesses the inherent procedural power to reconsider, rescind, or modify an interlocutory order for cause seen by it to be sufficient.” Melancon v. Texaco, Inc., 659 F.2d 551, 553 (5th Cir. Unit A 1981). Although the district court's discretion, in this regard, is broad, it is exercised sparingly in order to forestall the perpetual reexamination of orders and the resulting burdens and delays. Castrillo v. Am. Home Mortg. Servicing, Inc., Civil Action No. 09-4369, 2010 WL 1424398, at *3 (E.D. La. Apr. 5, 2010).

         It has been the general practice of this Court to evaluate motions to reconsider interlocutory orders under the same standards that govern Rule 59(e) motions to alter or amend a judgment. See S. Snow Mfg. Co. v. SnowWizard Holdings, Inc., 921 F.Supp.2d 548, 565 (E.D. La. 2013) (citing Castrillo, 2010 WL 1424398, at *3; Rosemond v. AIG Ins., No. 08-1145, 2009 WL 1211020, at *2 (E.D. La. May 4, 2009); In re Katrina Canal Breaches, No. 05-4182, 2009 WL 1046016, at *1 (E.D. La. Apr. 16, 2009)). The proper inquiry is whether the moving party has “clearly established either a manifest error of law or fact or . . . present[ed] newly discovered evidence. Ross v. Marshall, 426 F.3d 745, 763 (5th Cir. 2005). A motion to reconsider is “not the proper vehicle for rehashing evidence, legal theories, or arguments that could have been offered or raised before the entry of [the order].” Templet v. HydroChem Inc., 367 F.3d 473, 478-79 (5th Cir. 2010). The Court must “strike the proper balance between two competing imperatives: (1) finality and (2) the need to render just decisions on the basis of all the facts.” Edward H. Bohlin Co. v. Banning Co., 6 F.3d 350, 355 (5th Cir. 1993).

         In deciding motions under Rule 59(e), this Court has considered the following factors: (1) whether the movant demonstrates the motion is necessary to correct manifest errors of law or fact upon which the judgment is based; (2) whether the movant presents new evidence; (3) whether the motion is necessary in order to prevent manifest injustice; and (4) whether the motion is justified by an intervening change in the controlling law. See, e.g., Castrillo, 2010 WL 1424398, at *4. Where there exists no independent reason for reconsideration other than mere disagreement with a prior order, reconsideration is a waste of judicial time and resources and should be denied. See FDIC v. Cage, 810 F.Supp. 745, 747 (S.D.Miss. 1993) (refusing consideration where the motion merely disagreed with the court and did not demonstrate clear error of law or manifest injustice).

         III. Analysis

         The Court earlier denied Plaintiffs' Motion for Leave to File Third Amending and Supplemental Petition for Damages (R. Doc. 73) because the addition of Perez was prescribed and Plaintiffs failed to demonstrate that the addition of Perez related back, nor did they demonstrate that contra non valentem applied. R. Doc. 80. Plaintiffs now submit Perez's affidavit, which asserts that she did not learn of her ...


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