United States District Court, E.D. Louisiana
ORDER AND REASONS
S. VANCE UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
the Court is plaintiff KFC Corporation's motion for
reconsideration of the Court's order denying
plaintiff's motion for summary judgment (the May 8
Order). The May 8 Order was issued by Judge Kurt
Engelhardt, who presided over this case before it was
reassigned to this Section on May 18, 2018. Defendants Iron
Horse of Metarie Road, LLC and Iron Rooster, LLC oppose the
motion. For the following reasons, the Court denies
Rule of Civil Procedure 54(b) provides that an 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. As Rule 54 recognizes, 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. 1981). Under Rule
54(b), “the trial court is free to reconsider and
reverse its decision for any reason it deems sufficient, even
in the absence of new evidence or an intervening change in or
clarification of the substantive law.” Austin v.
Kroger Tex., L.P., 864 F.3d 326, 336 (5th Cir. 2017).
asserts that reconsideration is proper for two
reasons. First, plaintiff argues that the same
judge should decide all of the motions in this case in order
to “ensure consistency and
fairness.” Plaintiff suggests that proceeding
otherwise would lead to “manifest
injustice.” Second, plaintiff argues that
reconsideration is justified because the Court's recent
order (the May 30 Order) granting plaintiff's motion for
summary judgment on defendants' counterclaim for
detrimental reliance “cast[s] doubt on the
propriety” of the May 8 Order. Plaintiff suggests that the
May 30 Order is akin to a “clarification in the
applicable law from a higher court, ” justifying
plaintiff's arguments suffer the same flaw-a mistaken
belief that the May 8 and May 30 Orders are inconsistent.
Judge Engelhardt ruled that for the parties' breach of
contract claims, there existed a genuine factual dispute as
to whether plaintiff or its consultant made material
misrepresentations regarding the status of the environmental
remediation.In the May 30 Order, the Court held that
defendants' detrimental reliance claim was prescribed
because defendants had constructive knowledge of the facts
underlying their claim more than one year before they filed
their counterclaim. See Campo v. Correa, 828 So.2d
502, 510 (La. 2002).
wrongly asserts that in its May 30 Order, the Court ruled
that plaintiff did not make any misrepresentations to
defendants. The Court in fact ruled that the
allegations in defendants' counterclaim for detrimental
reliance sounded in tort rather than contract, and were thus
subject to Louisiana's one-year prescriptive period for
delictual actions. In doing so, the Court found that
defendants' counterclaim alleged a breach of a general
duty to disclose, rather than a breach of specific
contractual representations. This holding addressed only
the nature of the specific allegations in defendants'
counterclaim and when defendants were on inquiry notice of
those claims. It is thus entirely consistent with the May 8
Order, which held that in the context of defendants'
defenses to plaintiff's complaint, there was a genuine
dispute as to whether plaintiff should be estopped from
enforcing the relevant contracts because of plaintiff's
alleged misrepresentations about the status of the
has failed to convince the Court that reconsideration of the
May 8 order is proper. First, plaintiff does not explain how
two orders decided by different judges necessarily cause
fundamental unfairness. It is not infrequent that a case must
be reassigned to a different judge before it is concluded. By
plaintiff's logic, each reassignment could require the
new judge to reconsider every decision made by the prior
judge. The Court fails to see how this would increase
“judicial economy, ” as plaintiff
suggests.Second, the May 30 Order is not a
“clarification in the applicable law from a higher
court” justifying reconsideration. The May 30
Order is wholly consistent with the May 8 Order and, in any
event, the May 30 Order is not a clarification of controlling
law from a higher court, but a decision on a different issue
by the same court in the same case. Cf. Clark v. Am.
's Favorite Chicken Co., 190 B.R. 260, 263 (E.D. La.
1995) (in a motion for reconsideration under Rule 54(b),
district court granting motion when a recent Fifth Circuit
decision changed and/or clarified existing law).
foregoing reasons, the Court DENIES plaintiffs motion for
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 R. Doc. 13.
 R. Doc. 94.