United States District Court, W.D. Louisiana, Shreveport Division
HOUSTON SPECIALTY INSURANCE CO.
ASCENSION INSULATION & SUPPLY, INC., ET AL.
L. HORNSBY MAG. JUDGE.
A. DOUGHTY UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
before the Court is a Rule 59(e) Motion to Reconsider and
Amend Judgment on Behalf of Plaintiff Houston Specialty
Insurance Co. (“Houston Specialty”) [Doc. No.
58]. Defendants Adam Whatley and Carly Whatley and Ascension
Insulation & Supply, Inc. (“Ascension”) filed
memoranda in opposition to the motion. [Doc. Nos. 64 &
65]. Houston Specialty filed a reply memorandum. [Doc. No.
66]. For the following reasons, the motion is GRANTED IN PART
and DENIED IN PART.
Specialty previously filed a Motion for Summary Judgment
[Doc. No. 22], and Ascension filed a related Motion to Strike
[Doc. No. 43]. On July 25, 2018, Magistrate Judge Hornsby
issued a Report and Recommendation [Doc. No. 53] in which he
recommended that the Court deny both motions. Magistrate
Judge Hornsby further recommended that the Court exercise its
discretion and dismiss the Complaint without prejudice given
the effect factual development and/or trial in the related
state court matter could have on this lawsuit.
conducting a de novo review of the entire record,
including Houston Specialty's objections, the Court
issued a Ruling adopting Magistrate Judge Hornsby's
Report and Recommendation, denying the motions, and
dismissing the action. [Doc. Nos. 56 & 57].
on September 19, 2018, Houston Specialty filed the instant
motion moving the Court to reconsider its Ruling and
Judgment. The motion is fully briefed, and the Court is
prepared to rule.
Law and Analysis
Federal Rules of Civil Procedure do not recognize a motion
for reconsideration per se. Instead, a timely filed motion
challenging a final judgment is considered under Rule 59(e)
as a motion to alter or amend judgment.
59(e) motion “calls into question the correctness of a
judgment.” Templet v. HydroChem Inc., 367 F.3d
473, 479 (5th Cir. 2004) (quoting In re Transtexas Gas
Corp., 303 F.3d 571, 581 (5th Cir. 2002)). The Fifth
Circuit has held that this type of motion is not to be used
to rehash “evidence, legal theories, or arguments that
could have been offered or raised before the entry of
judgment.” Id. The purpose of a Rule 59(e)
motion is to allow a party “to correct manifest errors
of law or fact or to present newly discovered
evidence.” Id. (citation and internal
quotation marks omitted). If a Rule 59(e) motion is based on
newly discovered evidence, then a court should grant the
motion only if “(1) the facts discovered are of such a
nature that they would probably change the outcome; (2) the
facts alleged are actually newly discovered and could not
have been discovered earlier by proper diligence; and (3) the
facts are not merely cumulative or impeaching.”
Infusion Res., Inc. v. Minimed, Inc., 351 F.3d 688,
696-97 (5th Cir. 2003) (citation omitted).
regard to the denial of Houston Specialty's Motion for
Summary Judgment, the Court finds no manifest error of law or
fact and declines to reconsider its ruling and judgment.
regard to the dismissal of this action, however, the Court
finds that Houston Specialty has stated a basis for
alteration of the ruling and judgment. Houston Specialty
brought this action under the Declaratory Judgment Act, and
after further review of the relevant case law, the Court
finds that it should exercise its discretion to retain
jurisdiction over this matter.
The Declaratory Judgment Act, 28 U.S.C. § 2201(a),
“is an enabling act, which confers discretion on the
courts rather than an absolute right on a litigant.”
Wilton v. Seven Falls Co., 515 U.S. 277, 287, 115
S.Ct. 2137, 2143, 132 L.Ed.2d 214 (1995) (quoting Public
Serv. Comm'n of Utah v. Wycoff Co., 344 U.S. 237,
241, 73 S.Ct. 236, 239, 97 L.Ed. 291 (1952)). “The
Declaratory Judgment Act has been understood to confer on
federal courts unique and substantial discretion in deciding
whether to declare the rights of litigants.”
Wilton, 515 U.S. at 286, 115 S.Ct. at 2142.
“In the declaratory judgment context, the normal
principle that federal courts should adjudicate claims within
their jurisdiction yields to considerations of practicality
and wise judicial administration.” Wilton, 515
U.S. at 289, 115 S.Ct. at 2143.
Sherwin-Williams Co. v. Holmes Cty.,
343 F.3d 383,
389 (5th Cir. 2003). “The Fifth Circuit uses the
Trejo factors to guide a district court's
exercise of discretion to accept or decline jurisdiction over
a declaratory judgment suit.” Id. at 390;
see St. Paul Ins. Co. v. Trejo,39 F.3d ...