United States District Court, E.D. Louisiana
TANYA LEONE Individually and on behalf of her minor child, Nikko Leone
GENERAL MOTORS, LLC, ET AL.
ORDER AND REASONS
the Court is Defendants' “Joint Motion Pursuant to
FRCP Rule 60(a) and/or Alternatively Rule 59(e) to Correct
and/or Alter or Amend the Final Judgment Issued on September
5, 2017.” Rec. Doc. 67. Plaintiffs did not file an
opposition. For the reasons discussed below, IT IS
ORDERED that the motion is GRANTED.
BACKGROUND AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY
were injured in a car accident while driving a rental car.
Rec. Doc. 1-1 at 2-5. Plaintiff Tanya Leone, on behalf of
herself and her minor child, brought various products
liability claims against the car manufacturer and rental car
company. Id.; Rec. Doc. 13. Defendants filed motions
for summary judgment (Rec. Docs. 60, 62), but Plaintiffs did
not file opposition memoranda. In an Order and Reasons, the
Court granted Defendants' motions for summary judgment as
unopposed and, after analyzing Defendants' arguments and
the law, also concluded that Defendants' motions had
merit. Rec. Doc. 65 at 1, 4-14.
Court ordered that Plaintiffs' claims were dismissed
without prejudice and gave Plaintiffs 10 days to file a
motion for reconsideration and opposition memoranda to
Defendants' motions for summary judgment. Id. at
14. Plaintiffs filed neither and the Court issued a judgment
on September 5, 2017. Rec. Doc. 66. The judgment
“ORDERED, ADJUDGED, AND DECREED that
all claims in the above-captioned matter by Plaintiff, Tanya
Leone, are DISMISSED WITHOUT
PREJUDICE.” Id. Defendants filed the
instant motion on September 18, 2017, and noticed it for
submission on October 4, 2017. Rec. Doc. 67, 67-2. Plaintiffs
have not filed an opposition.
Rule of Civil Procedure 60(a) allows a court to
“correct a clerical mistake or a mistake arising from
oversight or omission whenever one is found in a judgment,
order, or other part of the record.” “Because the
court can exercise its authority under Rule 60(a) at any
time, it may do so only to provide a specific and very
limited type of relief” to address a situation where
“the judgment simply has not accurately reflected the
way in which the rights and obligations of the parties have
in fact been adjudicated.” Rivera v. PNS Stores,
Inc., 647 F.3d 188, 193 (5th Cir. 2011) (internal
citations and quotation marks omitted).
criteria . . . determine whether a mistake can be corrected
under Rule 60(a): (1) the nature of the mistake; (2) the
district court's intent in entering the original
judgment; and (3) the effect of the correction on the
parties' substantial rights.” Id. All
three criteria weigh in favor of granting Defendants'
motion under Rule 60(a). See Id. at 194-201. The
Court turns first to Defendants' request that the
judgment be corrected to reflect the fact that
Plaintiffs' claims were dismissed with prejudice.
dismissing a party's claim without prejudice instead of
with prejudice is the type of “clerical mistake”
encompassed by Rule 60(a). See Id. at 194.
“Rule 60(a) authorizes a district court to modify a
judgment so that the judgment reflects the necessary
implications of the court's decision, and a motion for
summary judgment is necessarily granted with
prejudice.” Id. at 194-95.
Defendants seek “corrections that are consistent with
the court's intent at the time it entered the
judgment” Id. at 195. This intent is
determined by examining “relevant documents that were
produced contemporaneously with the judgment, such as a
memorandum opinion or order . . . .” Id. at
196. In its Order and Reasons, the Court set out the summary
judgment standard and then discussed Plaintiffs'
inability to demonstrate a genuine issue of material fact.
See Rec. Doc. 65 at 4-14. The Court concluded that
Plaintiffs “failed to present a genuine issue of
material fact warranting trial” as to one Defendant and
that “there [wa]s no genuine issue of material fact
warranting trial” as to the two other Defendants. Rec.
Doc. 65 at 10, 14. Therefore, the Court intended to dismiss
Plaintiffs' claims with prejudice. See Rivera,
647 F.3d at 197-98 (holding that a district court intended to
dismiss a plaintiff's claims with prejudice because the
district court “discuss[ed] and appl[ied] the
summary-judgment standard, and address[ed] the essential
evidentiary shortcoming that defeat[ed] [the plaintiff's]
correcting the judgment to reflect that Plaintiffs'
claims were dismissed with prejudice does not “require
the [Court] either to adjudicate an issue it has not
previously reached or to make a substantive modification to a
prior adjudication.” Id. at 199.
“Summary judgment is an adjudication on the merits, and
a dismissal following an adjudication on the merits is, by
definition, a dismissal with prejudice.” Id.
same analysis holds true with respect to Defendants'
request that the judgment be corrected to reflect the fact
that both Tanya Leone's and Nikko Leone's claims were
dismissed with prejudice. The failure to include Nikko
Leone's name in the judgment is an oversight similar to
the “[c]lerical mistakes, inaccuracies of
transcription, inadvertent omissions, and errors in
mathematical calculation [that] are within Rule 60(a)'s
scope.” Id. at 193-94; see also Braun v.
Ultimate Jetcharters, LLC, 828 F.3d 501, 515-17 (6th
Cir. 2016); Fluoro Elec. Corp. v. Branford Assocs.,
489 F.2d 320, 323-26 (2d Cir. 1973).
with Defendants' motions for summary judgment (Rec. Docs.
60, 62), the Court intended to dismiss both Tanya's and
Nikko's claims. Even a correction that “unsettle[s]
expectations and ha[s] significant effects” on the
parties is permissible under Rule 60(a) as long as “the
record makes it clear that an issue was actually litigated
and decided, but was incorrectly recorded in or inadvertently
omitted from the judgment.” Rivera, 647 F.3d
at 199 (internal citations and quotation marks omitted).
Tanya Leone was the only Plaintiff actually litigating the
case; Nikko's rights were asserted by his mother on his
behalf. See Rec. Doc. 13 at 1; Fed.R.Civ.P. 17. The
Court's grounds for granting summary judgment-that
Plaintiffs' failure to develop evidence of a defect in
the rental car precluded them from satisfying their burden of
proof as a matter of law- apply to both Tanya's and
Nikko's claims. Rec. Doc. 65 at 6-14. Because the Court
decided all “issue[s] of substantive law” with
respect to all Plaintiffs in its Order and Reasons, the Court
can correct the judgment to reflect that reality under Rule
60(a). See Rivera, 647 F.3d at 199-200.
motion for reconsideration of this Order, based on the
appropriate Federal Rule of Civil Procedure, if any, must be
filed within ten (10) days of this Order. The motion
must be accompanied by an opposition memorandum to the
original motion. Because such a motion would not have been
necessary had timely opposition memoranda been filed, the
costs incurred in connection with the motion, including
attorney's fees, may be assessed against the party moving
for reconsideration. See Fed.R.Civ.P. 16, 83. A statement of
costs and fees conforming to Local Rules 54.2 and 54.3 shall
be submitted by ...