United States District Court, W.D. Louisiana, Shreveport Division
DONNA N. PARKER
BENTELER STEEL, ET AL.
L. HAYES JUDGE
A. DOUGHTY UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
before the Court is Plaintiff Donna N. Parker's
("Parker") Motion for New Trial [Doc. No. 74].
Parker moves the Court to reconsider its Ruling and Judgment
granting Defendant Benteler Steel/Tube Manufacturing
Corp.'s ("Benteler") Motion for Summary
Judgment and dismissing Parker's claims of sexual
harassment, failure to accommodate, and retaliation [Doc.
Nos. 72, 73]. Benteler has filed an opposition [Doc. No. 77].
Parker has filed a reply [Doc. No. 78].
motion for a new trial following a summary judgment is
treated as a motion to reconsider entry of summary judgment
under Fed.R.Civ.P. 59');">59(e). Piazza's Seafood World, LLC
v. Odom, 448 F.3d 744, 748, n. 9 (5th Cir.
2006) (citing Patin v. Allied Signal, Inc., 11 F.3d
782, 785, n. 1 (5th Cir. 1996)). A Rule 59');">59(e)
motion "calls into question the correctness of a
judgment." Templet v. HydroChem Inc., 367 F.3d
473, 478-79 (5th Cir.2004) citing In re
Transtexas Gas Corp., 1');">303 F.3d 571, 581 (5th
Cir.2002). "A motion to alter or amend the judgment
under Rule 59');">59(e) 'must clearly establish either a
manifest error of law or fact or must present newly
discovered evidence' and 'cannot be used to raise
arguments which could, and should, have been made before the
judgment issued.'" Rosenzweigv. Azurix
Corp., 2 F.3d 854');">332 F.3d 854, 863-64 (5th Cir.2003).
Relief may also be appropriate when there has been an
intervening change in the controlling law. Schiller v.
Physicians Res. Group Inc., 2 F.3d 563');">342 F.3d 563, 567
(5th Cir.2003). Altering, amending, or
reconsidering a judgment under Rule 59');">59(e) is an extraordinary
remedy that courts should use sparingly. Templet v.
HydroChem Inc., 367 F.3d at 479. The Rule 59');">59(e) standard
"favors denial of motions to alter or amend a
judgment." S. Constructors Group, Inc. v.
Dynalectric Co., 2 F.3d 606');">2 F.3d 606, 611 (5th
Parker challenges the dismissal of her failure to accommodate
claim by suggesting that she was qualified to perform
Benteler's bar saw operator position. She has offered no
new facts or legal arguments in support of this claim.
Rather, she cites only evidence already in the record. This
is insufficient to support a motion for a new trial. See,
e.g., Williams v. Countrywide Home Loans, Inc., 504
F.Supp.2d 176, 197 (S.D. Tex. 2007), aff'd, 269
Fed.Appx. 523 (5th Cir. 2008) (Motion for new
trial denied because plaintiff presented "no new facts
and allege[d] no intervening change in the law.").
Additionally, it is an uncontradicted fact that Parker could
not operate the bar saw or the overhead crane (essential
functions of the bar saw operator position) because of
dizziness. Both parties stipulated to this fact in the
proposed pre-trial order that was submitted prior to the
ruling on Benteler's motion for summary judgment. [Doc.
No. 59');">59, p. 5]
Parker challenges the dismissal of her failure to accommodate
claim by arguing that she did in fact engage in the
interactive process. This is despite the uncontroverted
evidence in the record detailing: (1) the efforts undertaken
by Benteler to obtain the necessary information to facilitate
her possible return to work and (2) Parker's refusal to
respond to those efforts. The only evidence cited by Parker
in support of her request for a new trial are the medical
records related to her failed fitness-for-duty evaluation.
These records, which were submitted by Benteler in support of
its motion for summary judgment, are not "new
evidence" that would support the granting of a new
trial. Further, the records do not establish anything other
than Parker's refusal to cooperate during her
Parker argues against the dismissal of her retaliation claim
on the grounds that the legitimate, non-retaliatory reasons
offered by Benteler for her termination (her inability to
perform the essential functions of her job and her refusal to
provide documentation regarding her ability to work) are
pretextual. However, the only evidence offered by Parker in
support of this argument is the fact that she "applied
for unemployment compensation." [Doc. No. 74-2, 13');">p. 13]
Parker made this same argument, citing the same evidence, in
her opposition to Benteler's motion for summary judgment.
[Doc. No. 67, p. 9]. Parker's efforts to obtain
unemployment benefits following her termination are not
relevant to the claims presented in her lawsuit. More
importantly, a motion for new trial cannot be supported by
simply restating the same argument made in opposition to a
motion for summary judgment. E.g. Branch Banking &
Trust Co. v. Gedalia, 2012 WL 1231020, *1 (E.D. Tex.
2012) ("Defendant merely reasserts argument already
presented to the Court in Defendant's response to the
motion for summary judgment, and already ruled on by the
Court in its memorandum order and opinion. ...Therefore, the
Court finds there is no basis for a new trial, and
Defendant's motion for new trial is denied.")
Parker argues that Benteler's motion for summary judgment
was merely a partial motion and that her race and sex
discrimination charges and her retaliation charge were not
presented to the Court for summary judgment. She also argues
that she asserted a race discrimination claim in addition to
her claims of sexual harassment, failure to accommodate, and
retaliation. Benteler responds that it moved for summary
judgment of all of Parker's claims, and that the Court
dismissed all of Parker's claims. The Court agrees with
initial Complaint includes allegations that that she was
denied a reasonable accommodation and retaliated against
"after [she] filed with the EEOC." [Doc. No. 1, p.
3]. Her initial Complaint also includes the allegation that
her trainers "was [sic] liking [her]" and
"always say [sic] sexual things to me."
[Id.] Her Amended Complaint provides additional
details regarding her claims of sexual harassment, failure to
accommodate, and retaliation [Doc. No. 31]. Neither document
contains any allegations of race discrimination.
Parker confirmed in her deposition, which Benteler offered in
support of its motion for summary judgment, that the only
three claims included in her lawsuit are a sexual harassment
claim, a claim that she was denied a reasonable
accommodation, and a retaliation claim:
Q. As I read your petition and your amended petition, you
have presented three claims against Benteler; is that
Q. Okay. My understanding is that the first claim is you
contend that you were sexually harassed while you ...