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Aguillard v. Louisiana College

United States District Court, W.D. Louisiana, Alexandria Division

October 24, 2019

JOE W. AGUILLARD
v.
LOUISIANA COLLEGE

          MARK L. HORNSBY MAG. JUDGE

          MEMORANDUM ORDER

          TERRY A. DOUGHTY UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE

         Pending before the Court is Plaintiff Joe W. Aguillard's (“Aguillard”) Motion for Rehearing and/or Reconsideration of Ruling Granting Defendant's Exception of Prescription on Plaintiff's Claims for Intentional Infliction of Emotional Distress and Incorporated Supporting Memorandum [Doc. No. 134]. Aguillard moves the Court to reconsider its September 27, 2019 Ruling and Judgment [Doc. Nos. 130 and 131] granting Defendant Louisiana College's (“LC”) Motion for Partial Summary Judgment [Doc. No. 103] and dismissing Aguillard's intentional infliction of emotional distress (“IIED”) claim on the basis of prescription. LC has filed an opposition [Doc. No. 136].

         The parties are in agreement that the Court's September 27, 2019 Ruling and Judgment [Doc. Nos. 130 and 131] resolved Aguillard's last remaining claim; therefore, it is a final judgment.

         The Federal Rules of Civil Procedure do not recognize a motion for reconsideration. Bass v. U.S. Dep't of Agric., 211 F.3d 959, 962 (5th Cir. 2000). The United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit has held nonetheless that if such a motion is filed within twenty-eight days after entry of the judgment from which relief is being sought, the motion will be treated as motion to alter or amend under Rule 59(e). Hamilton Plaintiffs v. Williams Plaintiffs, 147 F.3d 367, 371 n.10 (5th Cir. 1998); see alsoFed. R. Civ. P. 59(e). Because Aguillard filed the instant motion on October 11, 2019, the motion will be subject to the standards for Rule 59(e).

         A Rule 59(e) motion calls into question the correctness of a judgment. In re Transtexas Gas Corp., 303 F.3d 571, 581 (5th Cir. 2002). Rule 59(e) serves “‘the narrow purpose of allowing a party to correct manifest errors of law or fact or to present newly discovered evidence.'” Basinkeeper v. Bostick, 663 Fed.Appx. 291, 294 (5th Cir. 2016)(quoting Waltman v. Int'l Paper Co., 875 F.2d 468, 473 (5th Cir. 1989)). Amending a judgment is appropriate under Rule 59(e): “‘(1) where there has been an intervening change in the controlling law; (2) where the movant presents newly discovered evidence that was previously unavailable; or (3) to correct a manifest error of law or fact.'” Berezowsky v. Rendon Ojeda, 652 Fed.Appx. 249, 251 (5th Cir. 2016) (quoting Demahy v. Schwarz Pharma, Inc., 702 F.3d 177, 182 (5th Cir. 2012)).

         Because Rule 59(e) has a “narrow purpose, ” the Fifth Circuit has “observed that ‘[r]econsideration of a judgment after its entry is an extraordinary remedy that should be used sparingly.'” Id. (quoting Templet v. HydroChem Inc., 367 F.3d 473, 479 (5th Cir. 2004)). Thus, “a motion for reconsideration ‘is not the proper vehicle for rehashing evidence, legal theories, or arguments that could have been offered or raised before the entry of judgment.'” Id. (quoting Templet, 367 F.3d at 479).

         Aguillard seeks a reconsideration or rehearing on three grounds: (1) the Court erroneously ignored and prejudicially failed to apply Bustamento v. Tucker, 670 So.2d 532 (La. 1992); (2) the Court erroneously failed to recognize that he is pursuing a “retaliatory hostile work environment” claim; and (3) the Court erred in concluding that the relevant period of time for determining whether LC's conduct was “continuous” was from May 3, 2015, to March 31, 2016. The Court will consider each argument in turn.

         Aguillard asserts first that the Court erroneously ignored and prejudicially failed to apply Bustamento and its progeny, which hold that the continuous nature of alleged misconduct has the dual effect of rendering such conduct tortious and of delaying the commencement of prescription. He asserts that LC engaged in a pattern of on-going, repeated harassment here, as in Bustamento, which caused him serious emotional injury.

         The Bustamento Court found:

The rationale underlying our generalization in White, supra, regarding repeated conduct is that conduct which, viewed as an isolated incident, would not be outrageous or would not be likely to cause serious damage, can become such when repeated over a period of time. See Restatement (Second) of Torts § 46, Comment(j) (noting that both the intensity and the duration of the distress are factors to be considered in determining whether a pattern of conduct is actionable). This has been characterized as a sliding scale approach under which even relatively "mild" harassment may become tortious if continued over a substantial time period. [Citation omitted]

670 So.2d. at 538. The Bustamento Court further stated:

Simply put, we find the continuous nature of the alleged conduct has the dual effect of rendering such conduct tortious and of delaying ...

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