United States District Court, E.D. Louisiana
ORDER AND REASONS ON MOTION
C. WILKINSON, JR. UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE
the court might consider the issue raised in the BP
defendants' (collectively “BP”) motion for
reconsideration, Record Doc. No. 22, so trivial as to merit a
single word order: “Denied.” In this instance, I
cannot do so. For the following reasons, the motion of
defendants for reconsideration of this court's ruling on
BP's motion to compel discovery responses, Record Doc.
No. 22, is DENIED.
a garden variety single plaintiff personal injury case.
BP's written discovery includes 25 complexly worded
interrogatories, which probably deserve scrutiny as to
whether their sub-parts are sufficiently
“discrete” to survive the numerical limit imposed
by Fed.R.Civ.P. 33(a)(1); and 39 broad-ranging requests for
production. Record Doc. No. 19-2. In addition, BP has
obtained 55 items (not including sub-parts) of disclosure
information and materials received from plaintiff, Record
Doc. No. 22-5, all as specifically agreed upon by the parties
and authorized by the court. Record Doc. No. 3 at pp. 4-5.
BP's current motion is narrow, focusing exclusively on my
refusal on its previous motion to compel to order plaintiff
to respond more fully to its Interrogatory No. 16, which
Please identify any claims or lawsuits filed by you
or on your behalf, any personal injury or illness claims
asserted by you or on your behalf (including, but not
limited to, any insurance or worker's compensation
policy or for Social Security or SSI benefits), any
bankruptcy claims or filings, any bankruptcy trust
claims or submissions (e.g. asbestos or silica), personal
injury trust claims or submissions, and/or any settlement of
any claims (whether at issue in this lawsuit or
otherwise) asserted by you or on your behalf including
describing the nature and outcome of the claims or lawsuits;
the parties involved; the date asserted; the title, court,
and cause number (if any); the sums received to date as a
result of any such lawsuits or claims; and the
attorney(s) who represented you in connection with same.
Record Doc. No. 19-2 at p. 10 (emphasis added).
cursory examination of the face of this interrogatory,
without the emphasis I have added, reveals its vast breadth
and overreaching scope, extending to plaintiff's entire
litigation history as a claimant, without limitation. More
depressing, however, is close examination of BP's
arguments, the outdated discovery scope standards principally
relied upon and its mis-statement of the only ruling BP cites
in its papers that was correctly decided by one of my local
colleagues, who applied the proper current legal standard and
permitted the defendant in her case to obtain much less than
BP seeks here.
Federal Rules of Civil Procedure do not provide specifically
for motions for reconsideration. Cressionnie v.
Hample, 184 Fed. App'x 366, 369 (5th Cir. 2006);
Shepherd v. Int'l Paper Co., 372 F.3d 326, 328
(5th Cir. 2004). The standard of review is not so clear in
the Fifth Circuit for deciding whether to grant
reconsideration of a discovery order. District courts in the
Fifth Circuit have typically applied Rule 59(e) standards
when reviewing motions to reconsider interlocutory orders,
especially as to orders that ruled on dispositive motions, in
cases in which a final judgment has not yet been entered.
However, some courts in the Fifth Circuit have analyzed
motions to reconsider interlocutory orders under Rule 54(b),
which provides that “any order or other decision,
however designated, that adjudicates fewer than all the
claims or the rights and liabilities of fewer than all the
parties . . . may be revised at any time before the entry of
a judgment adjudicating all the claims and all the
parties' rights and liabilities.” Fed.R.Civ.P.
54(b). These courts have held that
[m]otions to reconsider that challenge a prior judgment on
the merits are treated as arising under either Rule 59(e) or
Rule 60(b), depending on the timing. A motion to reconsider
an interlocutory order is considered under Rule 54(b), which
provides courts “the inherent procedural power to
reconsider, rescind, or modify an interlocutory order for
cause seen by it to be sufficient.”
Martikean v. United States, No. 3:11-CV-1774-M-BH,
2014 WL 4631620, at *2 (N.D. Tex. Sept. 16, 2014) (quoting
Iturralde v. Shaw Group, Inc., 512 Fed.Appx. 430,
432 (5th Cir. 2013)) (citing Cressionnie v. Hample,
184 Fed.Appx. 366, 369 (5th Cir. 2006); Swope v.
Columbian Chems. Co., 281 F.3d 185, 193 (5th Cir. 2002);
Melancon v. Texaco, Inc., 659 F.2d 551, 553 (5th
Cir. Unit A 1981)); accord Lexington Ins. Co. v. ACE Am.
Ins. Co., No. 4:12-CV-531, 2016 WL 3251748, at *1 (S.D.
Tex. June 14, 2016); Fairley v. Wal-Mart Stores,
Inc., No. 15-0462, 2016 WL 2992534, at *1-2 (E.D. La.
May 24, 2016) (citing Lavespere v. Niagara Mach. &
Tool Works, Inc., 910 F.2d 167, 173 (5th Cir. 1990));
Scogin v. Tex. Eagle Ford Shale Magazine, No.
2:14-CV-478, 2016 WL 632031, at *1 (S.D. Tex. Feb. 16, 2016)
(citing Stoffels ex rel. SBC Tel. Concession Plan v.
SBC Commc'ns, Inc., 677 F.3d 720, 727-28
(5th Cir. 2012)).
“[d]istrict courts have considerable discretion in
deciding whether to grant a motion to reconsider an
interlocutory order. The exact standard applicable to the
granting of a motion under Rule 54(b) is not clear, though it
is typically held to be less exacting than would be a motion
under Rule 59(e), which is in turn less exacting than the
standards enunciated in Rule 60(b).” Livingston
Downs Racing Ass'n, Inc. v. Jefferson Downs Corp.,
259 F.Supp.2d 471');">259 F.Supp.2d 471, 475 (M.D. La. 2002). Under this standard,
“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.” Estate of
Henson v. Wichita Cty., 988 F.Supp.2d 726, 730 (N.D.
Tex. 2013) (quoting Lavespere v. Niagara Mach. & Tool
Works, Inc., 910 F.2d 167, 185 (5th Cir. 1990)). Rule
54(b), however, “does not mean that the Court has carte
blanche to reconsider newly presented theories of liability
or the lack thereof.” Livingston, 
F.Supp.2d at 480; see also id. at 481 (“Any
position is supportable by boundless arguments, and lawyers
are trained and paid to find those arguments. Judicial
economy counsels against reconsidering an issue each time
someone presents a new argument.”).
Scogin, 2016 WL 632031, at *1; accord
Martikean, 2014 WL 4631620, at *2 (citing Baisden v.
I'm Ready Prods., Inc., 693 F.3d 491, 506 (5th Cir.
2012); Zarnow v. City ofWichita Falls, ...