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Berry v. Loancity

United States District Court, M.D. Louisiana

November 6, 2019




         This matter comes before the Court on the Final Ruling and Oder (sic) for Civil Action No. 18-888-JWD-RLB Motion to Reconsider (Doc. 44) (the “MTR I”) filed by Plaintiffs Darrell Berry and Constance Lafayette (“Plaintiffs”). In the MTR I, Plaintiffs move for the Court to reconsider its Ruling and Order (Doc. 39) on Wells Fargo Bank, N.A.'s Motion to Dismiss (Doc. 4), which dismissed all of Plaintiffs' claims with prejudice and denied Plaintiffs leave to amend. Wells Fargo opposes the instant motion. (Doc. 46.) Plaintiffs have filed a reply (Doc. 47), Wells Fargo has filed a surreply (Doc. 52), and Plaintiffs seek leave to file a sur-surreply (Doc. 53), which is hereby granted. Oral argument is not necessary. The Court has carefully considered the law, the facts in the record, and the arguments and submissions of the parties and is prepared to rule. For the following reasons, MTR I is granted in part and denied in part.

         I. Standard of Review

         While the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure do not formally recognize the existence of motions for reconsideration (e.g., Van Skiver v. United States, 952 F.2d 1241, 1243 (10th Cir. 1991)), courts customarily consider such motions under Rule 60(b) or Rule 59(e). Fuller v. M.G. Jewelry, 950 F.2d 1437, 1442 (9th Cir. 1991). However, because Plaintiffs move to reconsider an interlocutory order, the motion is controlled by Rule 54(b) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure. Under this provision, any order or decision that adjudicates fewer than all the claims 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. Proc. 54(b).

         While the court has broad discretion to decide a Rule 54(b) motion to reconsider and the standard imposed is less exacting, courts consider factors that inform the Rule 59 and Rule 60 analysis. McClung v. Gautreaux, No. 11-263, 2011 WL 4062387, at *1 (M.D. La. Sept. 13, 2011) (Hicks, J.). Specifically, these factors include whether 1) the judgment is based upon a manifest error of fact or law; 2) newly discovered or previously unavailable evidence exists; 3) the initial decision was manifestly unjust; 4) counsel engaged in serious misconduct; and 5) an intervening change in law alters the appropriate outcome. Livingston Downs Racing Ass'n, Inc v. Jefferson Downs Corp., 259 F.Supp.2d 471, 475-76 (M.D. La. 2002).

         “ ‘Although courts are concerned with principles of finality and judicial economy, “the ultimate responsibility of the federal courts, at all levels, is to reach the correct judgment under law.”' ” Broyles v. Cantor Fitzgerald & Co, No. 10-854, 2015 WL 500876, at *1 (M.D. La. Feb. 5, 2015) (Brady, J.) (quoting Keys v. Dean Morris, LLP, 2013 WL 2387768, at *1 (M.D. La. May 30, 2013) (quoting Georgia Pacific, LLC v. Heavy Machines, Inc., 2010 WL 2026670, at *2 (M.D. La. May 20, 2010))). “Nevertheless, ‘rulings should only be reconsidered where the moving party has presented substantial reasons for reconsideration.' ” Id. (quoting Louisiana v. Sprint Communications Co., 899 F.Supp. 282, 284 (M.D. La. 1995)) .

         Ultimately, a motion for reconsideration is an extraordinary remedy and should be used sparingly in the interest of finality and conservation of judicial resources. Carroll v. Nakatani, 342 F.3d 943, 945 (9th Cir. 2003). The court should deny a motion for reconsideration when the movant rehashes legal theories and arguments that were raised or could have been raised before the entry of the judgment. See Templet v. HydroChem Inc., 367 F.3d 473, 478-79 (5th Cir. 2004). A motion for reconsideration does not support old arguments that are reconfigured. Resolution Trust Corp. v. Holmes, 846 F.Supp. 1310, 1316, n.18 (S.D. Tex. 1994).

         II. Discussion

         A. Parties' Arguments

         Throughout their extensive briefing, Plaintiffs essentially make three main arguments. First, Wells Fargo misrepresented to the Court that it took no foreclosure action against Plaintiffs, as Wells Fargo had, in fact, initiated foreclosure in state court at one time. Second, the underlying promissory note and mortgage have been canceled, and Wells Fargo fraudulently induced Plaintiffs to sign a refinance agreement, despite the fact that the mortgage and note were no longer valid. And third, there are questions of material fact that justify the case proceeding.

         Wells Fargo responds that (1) Plaintiffs are regurgitating old arguments; (2) Plaintiffs are focusing on the merits and not the appropriate Rule 12(b)(6) standard; (3) Plaintiffs are “invent[ing] new facts and causes of action after their claims against Wells Fargo were dismissed[, ]” as there are new allegations of a different lender and that the Note was canceled “in direct contradiction to the allegations in the Complaint[, ]” (Doc. 52 at 2); and (4) there is no “newly discovered evidence, ” as the documents submitted by Plaintiffs are several years old.

         B. Analysis

         Having carefully considered the matter, the Court will grant the motion in part and deny it in part. As to the latter, the Court agrees with Wells Fargo that Plaintiffs have shown no error in the analysis of the Ruling and Order at issue. As the Court recognized in its prior order, Plaintiffs lacked standing and failed to state viable claims against Wells Fargo. Plaintiffs have done nothing to show that any of the Court's prior rulings on these issues were incorrect, much less substantially so. Because Plaintiffs have shown no manifest error of law or fact making any of these dismissed claims viable, the Court will affirm dismissal of these prior claims. See Williams v. E.I. du Pont de Nemours & Co., No. CV 14-382-JWD-EWD, 2016 WL 9384349, at *4 (M.D. La. Mar. 31, 2016) (“Thus, the Court's decision is neither manifestly unjust nor based upon manifest error of fact or law. The Court refuses to reconsider Plaintiff's reurged arguments of the cumulative effect of the alleged actions.”); Broyles, 2015 WL 500876, at *1 (“In its Motion to Reconsider, the Funds repeat the same facts it previously asserted in the Second Amended Complaint and oppositions to motions to dismiss. The Funds fail to point this Court's attention to any newly discovered evidence that may satisfy the high burden for reconsideration.”)

         However, the Court also agrees with Wells Fargo that Plaintiffs have raised new issues and potential claims not previously addressed in the Court's prior Ruling and Order. These specifically include the allegations that (1) the promissory note and mortgage and note were cancelled and that Wells Fargo fraudulently induced Plaintiffs to sign a re-finance agreement, and (2) Wells Fargo did in fact foreclose against Plaintiffs in state court, and this state court suit is still pending. The Court recognizes that Plaintiffs could have raised these claims on their original motion to dismiss but failed to do so. Nevertheless, the Court must emphasize again that “[a]lthough courts are concerned with principles of finality and judicial economy, the ultimate responsibility of the federal courts, at all ...

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