United States District Court, E.D. Louisiana
KIM N. JONES
WELLS FARGO BANK, N.A.
ORDER AND REASONS
L. C. FELDMAN UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
the Court is the plaintiff's motion to amend judgment.
For the reasons that follow, the motion is DENIED.
Title VII employment discrimination and state law
whistleblower lawsuit arises from a 58-year-old African
American woman's claim that Wells Fargo wrongfully
terminated her employment as a home mortgage consultant after
16 months on the job.
Court assumes familiarity with its September 23, 2019 Order
and Reasons in which it granted the defendant's motion
for summary judgment and dismissed each of the
plaintiff's claims. From August 14, 2015 until her
termination on December 10, 2016, Kim Jones worked for Wells
Fargo as a mortgage loan officer. During her employment, she
failed to meet the minimum production standards Wells Fargo
required of mortgage loan officers. In September 2016, Wells
Fargo placed Jones on a performance improvement plan, which
set forth specific requirements she had to meet to remain
employed. She failed to meet them. In December 2016, her
employment was terminated.
September 6, 2017, Ms. Jones, pro se, sued Wells Fargo,
Stephen Cook, Jamie Klinnert (improperly named as Jaime
Kleinhart), and Maurice Williams, alleging that she was fired
because of her whistleblowing, refusing to participate in
illegal activity, engaging in protected activity, and because
of race, sex, and age discrimination. After retaining counsel, Ms.
Jones amended her complaint alleging that she was
discriminated against based on her age, sex, and race; that
Wells Fargo retaliated against her because she reported and
refused to participate in mortgage fraud; and that Wells
Fargo failed to pay her timely earnings and commissions.
Fargo moved for summary relief. After continuing the hearing
on the motion several times, including to allow the plaintiff
the opportunity to discover certain evidence as ordered by
the magistrate judge, the Court granted the defendant's
motion for summary judgment. On October 16, 2019, judgment
was entered in favor of Wells Fargo and against Ms. Jones.
Ms. Jones, pro se, now seeks reconsideration of the
Court's judgment dismissing her lawsuit with prejudice.
Federal Rules of Civil Procedure do not expressly recognize
motions for reconsideration. Nevertheless, the Court must
consider motions challenging a judgment as either a motion
“to alter or amend” under Rule 59(e) or a motion
for “relief from judgment” under Rule 60(b). A
motion seeking reconsideration or revision of a district
court ruling is analyzed under Rule 59(e), if it seeks to
alter or amend a final judgment, or Rule 54(b), if it seeks
to revise an interlocutory order. See,
e.g., Cabral v. Brennan, 853 F.3d 763, 766
(5th Cir. 2017)(determining that the district court's
erroneous application of the “more exacting” Rule
59(e) standard to a motion granting partial summary judgment
was harmless error given that the appellant was not harmed by
the procedural error).
motion to alter or amend a judgment must be filed no later
than 28 days after the entry of judgment.” Fed.R.Civ.P.
59(e). Rule 59(e) allows a court to alter or amend a judgment
if the movant establishes a manifest error of law or presents
newly discovered evidence. Fed.R.Civ.P. 59(e). It
“serve[s] the narrow purpose of allowing a party to
correct manifest errors of law or fact or to present newly
discovered evidence, ” and it is “an
extraordinary remedy that should be used sparingly.”
Austin v. Kroger Texas, L.P., 864 F.3d 326, 336 (5th
Cir. 2017)(quoting Templet v. HydroChem Inc., 367
F.3d 473, 479 (5th Cir. 2004)). “A Rule 59(e) motion
‘calls into question the correctness of a
judgment.'” Templet, 367 F.3d at 478
(quoting In re Transtexas Gas Corp., 303 F.3d 571,
581 (5th Cir. 2002)). Because of the interest in finality,
Rule 59(e) motions may only be granted if the moving party
shows there was a mistake of law or fact or presents newly
discovered evidence that could not have been discovered
previously. Id. at 478-79. Rule 59 motions should
not be used to relitigate old matters, raise new arguments,
or submit evidence that could have been presented earlier in
the proceedings. See id. at 479; Rosenblatt v.
United Way of Greater Houston, 607 F.3d 413, 419 (5th
Cir. 2010)(“a motion to alter or amend the judgment
under Rule 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'”)(citing Rosenzweig v. Azurix
Corp., 332 F.3d 854, 864 (5th Cir. 2003)(quoting
Simon v. United States, 891 F.2d 1154, 1159 (5th
Cir. 1990)). The Court must balance two important judicial
imperatives in deciding a motion for reconsideration:
“(1) the need to bring the litigation to an end; and
(2) the need to render just decisions on the basis of all the
facts.” Templet, 367 F.3d at 479.
Court granted the defendant's motion for summary
judgment, dismissing the plaintiff's claims with
prejudice. See Order and Reasons dtd. 9/23/19. A
judgment in favor of the defendant was issued on October 16,
2019. That same day, the Court granted the motion to withdraw
filed by plaintiff's counsel. Five days later, Ms. Jones,
pro se, filed this motion requesting that the judgment be
amended “based on substantive errors found in Wells
Fargo's filings and data that were overlooked by the
court and establishes a clear error of fact.” The
plaintiff's Rule 59 motion must be denied.
59(e) applies because Ms. Jones challenges the Court's
adverse judgment within 28 days of its entry. Although the
defendant has failed to submit any opposition papers, the
Court finds that Jones's motion fails to identify
anything that would persuade the Court that it erred in
granting Wells Fargo's motion for summary judgment
dismissing each of her claims. Reading Jones's Rule 59
motion generously, she fails to identify either a manifest
error of law or fact. Nor does she offer any newly discovered
evidence. Her submission is part-rehash of her counsel's
prior submissions and part-diatribe. She offers no citation to
the voluminous summary judgment record considered by the
Court, nor does she invoke binding law calling into question
the correctness of the Court's ruling. The Court