United States District Court, E.D. Louisiana
ORDER AND REASONS
TRICHE MILAZZO UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
the Court is Plaintiffs' Appeal of the Magistrate
Judge's Order on Motion for Reconsideration (Doc. 150).
For the following reasons, the Magistrate Judge's denial
of Plaintiffs' Motion for Reconsideration is AFFIRMED.
Stanley Cook, Kerionna Bradley, Kennedy Prader, Darion
Winters, Terrance Bruster, Donald Johnson, Christian Flores,
Damon Perriloux, II, Lanisha Bruster, Rashard Johnson, Pablo
Holdine, Darioen Buchanan, Janay Williams, Kristoffer
Wilbanks, Cardell Andry, Johnny Brasley, and Raven Barre are
employees or former employees of Defendant Flight Services
and Systems, Inc. They allege that Defendant has violated the
Fair Labor Standards Act (“FLSA”) by failing to
pay them mandated minimum and overtime wages.
issues have arisen from the extensive discovery conducted in
this matter. First, the parties dispute the confidential
designations made pursuant to a protective order of a number
of documents produced by Defendant in discovery, including
personnel files and proprietary information. Second,
Plaintiffs argues that many of the interrogatories propounded
on Plaintiffs by Defendant are burdensome, harassing, and
overbroad. Motions on both of these issues were addressed by
the Magistrate Judge and decided in Defendant's favor,
preserving Defendant's confidentiality designations and
compelling Plaintiffs' discovery responses. Plaintiffs then
filed a Motion for Reconsideration of these
decisions. The Magistrate Judge denied
Plaintiffs' Motion, holding that Plaintiffs'
arguments therein had already been considered in the
underlying discovery orders. Plaintiffs now appeal the
Magistrate Judge's denial of their Motion for
Reconsideration to this Court.
the consent of the presiding district judge, a magistrate
judge may adjudicate non-dispositive pre-trial
motions. A magistrate judge is afforded broad
discretion in resolving non-dispositive pre-trial
matters. A party aggrieved by the magistrate
judge's ruling may appeal to the district judge within
fourteen days after service of the ruling. The district
judge may reverse only upon a finding that the ruling is
“clearly erroneous or contrary to
law.” In order to meet this high standard, the
district judge must be “left with a definite and firm
conviction that a mistake has been
denying Plaintiffs' Motion for Reconsideration of his
interlocutory discovery orders, the Magistrate Judge applied
the Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 59(e) standard. Rule
59(e) governs motions to alter or amend a final judgment. The
Fifth Circuit has recently made clear that it is an abuse of
discretion to apply the Rule 59(e) standard to the
reconsideration of an interlocutory order. The Fifth Circuit
has advised that a Rule 54(b) standard should be applied to
motions seeking reconsideration of interlocutory
54(b) states that: “[A]ny order or other decision,
however designated, that adjudicates fewer than all the
claims or the rights and liabilities of fewer than all the
parties does not end the action as to any of the claims or
parties and may be revised at any time before the entry of a
judgment adjudicating all the claims and all the parties'
rights and liabilities.” “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.'” “‘[T]he power to reconsider
or modify interlocutory rulings is committed to the
discretion of the district court, and that discretion is not
cabined by the heightened standards for reconsideration'
governing final orders.'” Accordingly, this Court
finds that the Magistrate Judge erred in applying the wrong
standard to Plaintiffs' Motion for Reconsideration.
so, however, this Court also finds that such error was
harmless. As the Magistrate Judge noted and this Court
confirmed, Plaintiffs' Motion for Reconsideration raised
few arguments not already addressed or considered by the
Magistrate Judge in ruling on the underlying discovery
disputes. Even under a Rule 54(b) standard, a
court need not rehash arguments it has already considered.
Indeed, it cannot be said that the Magistrate Judge committed
error in finding that the arguments that he had already
considered did not compel him to reverse his prior orders.
Accordingly, this Court finds that Plaintiffs have failed to
carry their burden to show that the Magistrate Judge's
denial of their Motion for Reconsideration was clear error or
contrary to law, and reversal is therefore inappropriate.
fact, Plaintiffs spend their entire motion arguing for
reversal of the Magistrate Judge's underlying discovery
orders. An appeal of those orders is not, however, properly
before this Court and indeed would have been untimely. Even
so, this Court has considered the underlying discovery orders
issued by the Magistrate Judge and finds no grounds for
reversal. The Magistrate Judge appropriately addressed each
of Plaintiffs' concerns now before this Court. This Court
agrees that Defendant has properly marked the documents at
issue as confidential as outlined by the Magistrate Judge.
This Court reiterates that Plaintiffs are permitted to
discuss individual employment records with those employees.
As to the breadth of Defendants' interrogatories, this
Court agrees that these are “legitimate, relevant and
proportional discovery requests for a potential nationwide
class under the FLSA.” Accordingly, no reversal is
forgoing reasons, the Magistrate Judge's denial of