United States District Court, E.D. Louisiana
M.C. MOORE, ET AL.
TANGIPAHOA PARISH SCHOOL BOARD, ET AL.
ORDER AND REASONS
the Court is the Tangipahoa Parish School Board's
“Motion for Reconsideration of Staff Order.” Rec.
Doc. 1476. Plaintiffs filed an opposition. Rec. Doc. 1489.
For the reasons discussed below, IT IS
ORDERED that the motion (Rec. Doc. 1476) is
IS FURTHER ORDERED that the Court Compliance Officer
(CCO) file into the record his updated findings and
recommendations on the use of interim hiring by March
BACKGROUND AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY
motion to reconsider is part of a long-running school
desegregation case, the facts of which have been discussed at
length in the underlying Opinion. See Rec. Doc.
1471. To recap the most relevant history, the Board is under
a desegregation consent decree with respect to, inter
alia, staff assignment. See Rec. Docs. 866; 876
at 19. In 2015, the Court provisionally granted unitary
status in the area of staff assignment, subject to a yearlong
compliance review period. See Rec. Doc. 1278. The
Board's motion (Rec. Doc. 1410) for full unitary status
in the area of staff assignment was dismissed without
prejudice for lack of a sufficient record on which to assess
the Board's compliance. See Rec. Docs. 1419;
Board subsequently reurged its motion for full unitary status
in the area of staff assignment. See Rec. Doc. 1450.
Though Plaintiffs did not file an opposition, they did file
related objections to a recommendation by the CCO (Rec. Doc.
1463) and the Board's use of interim hiring (Rec. Doc.
1464). The Board opposed both. Rec. Docs. 1465; 1466. In July
2017, the Court dismissed without prejudice the Board's
motion for unitary status in the area of staff assignment to
allow time for development of a record about the Board's
ongoing use of interim hiring. See Rec. Doc. 1471.
In response, the Board filed the instant motion for
reconsideration. Rec. Doc. 1476. The CCO then filed his
annual report for the 2016-2017 school year, which documented
his preliminary findings on the Board's use of interim
hiring. Rec. Doc. 1484.
Board seeks reconsideration under Federal Rule of Civil
Procedure 59(e). See Rec. Doc. 1476-1 at 6-7.
“Rule 59(e) serves the narrow purpose of allowing a
party to correct manifest errors of law or fact or to present
newly discovered evidence.” Templet v. HydroChem,
Inc., 367 F.3d 473, 479 (5th Cir. 2004). “A Rule
59(e) motion . . . is not the proper vehicle for rehashing
evidence, legal theories, or arguments that could have been
offered or raised before” the order was
issued. Id. at 478-79. As a result, the
“extraordinary remedy” available under Rule 59(e)
“should be used sparingly.” Id. at 479.
the Board argues that the C.S. grievance was not a major
compliance issue because the Board did not know C.S. was
qualified for the position, especially given that the
Louisiana Department of Education's (LDOE) review of the
certification was not ministerial. See Rec. Doc.
1476-1 at 8-13. While the Board reiterates its argument that
it was unaware that C.S. was eligible for the requisite
certification, the Board does not address the concern that
others held school leadership and administrative positions
without similar qualifications. See Rec. Doc. 1471
at 10. Furthermore, the Board's argument that the
LDOE's review was not ministerial is unpersuasive. The
Board does not establish that the LDOE examination was
discretionary, only that the LDOE requested verification of
C.S. having completed the required trainings. Checking
requirements off a list of prerequisites is not a
discretionary task; as the LDOE ultimately concluded, C.S.
was entitled to the certification because she had completed
all of the required prerequisites. Ultimately, the
Board's arguments with respect to the C.S. grievance
largely rehash issues raised and addressed when the motion
was originally decided, which does not warrant granting
the Board argues that complaints about the use of interim
hiring did not arise during the relevant review period.
See Rec. Doc. 1476-1 at 13-14. But that argument was
already raised and addressed. See Rec. Doc. 1471 at
4 n.3. As explained previously, Plaintiffs' untimely
filings were considered given their effect on the motion for
unitary status, taking into account a district court's
continuing obligation during the final phases of a
desegregation case to thoroughly evaluate compliance with the
desegregation order. See Id. (citing Freeman v.
Pitts, 503 U.S. 467, 492 (1992)). And while the Opinion
requested additional information about interim hiring at
Hammond High School, it was more focused on the Board's
broader use of interim hiring throughout the district.
See Rec. Doc. 1471 at 24-25.
the CCO's annual report for the 2016-2017 school year
confirms that this broader use of interim hiring should be
addressed before again examining the question of unitary
status in the area of staff hiring. See Rec. Doc.
1484 at 22-34. Based on filings submitted by the parties and
his own investigation, the CCO reports that the Board
“appears to have adopted a broad and free ranging view
of when it may use [interim hiring] that is not contemplated
or sanctioned by” the order governing staff hiring.
Rec. Doc. 1484 at 23 (referring to Rec. Doc. 866). The CCO
further notes that the Board “seems ambivalent, if not
disinclined, to offer any before the fact notice or
indication of its intention not to follow [the staff hiring
order] . . ., much less define any compelling need why
circumventing [the staff hiring order] provisions would be
appropriate.” Id. at 23-24 (referring to Rec.
Doc. 866). The CCO is “actively engaged in
investigating these issues further” and has committed
to “report[ing] any additional findings . . ., as
appropriate.” Id. at 31.
 The Board's motion is properly
analyzed under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 59(e) because
it was filed within twenty-eight days after the motion for
unitary status in the area of staff assignment was dismissed
without prejudice. See Tex. A&M Research Found. v.