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Tate v. Valero Services, Inc.

United States District Court, E.D. Louisiana

November 18, 2019


         SECTION: “KWR”



         Before the Court is Plaintiff's Motion to Vacate (R. Doc. 14) and a Motion for Extension of Time (R. Doc. 15) filed by the Plaintiff, James C. Tate, Sr. (“Tate”), seeking an order from this Court vacating its judgment against Plaintiff dismissing his Title VII claims with prejudice (R. Doc. 13). These motions are opposed. R. Doc. 16. Plaintiff also filed his Motion to Continue (R. Doc. 17), which similarly requests the Court reconsider its initial verdict in light of certain newly proffered evidence. That motion is likewise opposed. R. Doc. 18.

         I. Background

         On February 20, 2019, this Court dismissed Plaintiff Tate's claims for gender discrimination, hostile work environment, and racial discrimination against his former employer Defendant Valero Services, Inc. (“Valero”). R. Doc. 12. Starting on September 10, 2019, more than six (6) months after the Court's final judgment, Plaintiff Tate filed a series of motions to include a Motion to Vacate (R. Doc. 14), Motion for Extension of Time (R. Doc. 15), and a Motion to Continue (R. Doc. 17). All of the motions seek the Court reconsider its judgment in light of a National Labor Relations Board (“NLRB”) investigation instituted at the behest of Tate and against the United Steel Workers local 8363 (“Union”).

         Specifically, Tate contends the Union did not adhere to their bylaws, which he believes would have required the Union to form a Civil Rights Committee to investigate his claims of discrimination against Defendant Valero. Id. Also, to rebuff the Court's finding that he did not file a charge with the EEOC until August 3, 2018, Plaintiff also attaches an EEOC inquiry response email in an attempt to show the alleged discrimination and his contact with the EEOC date back as early September 2017. R. Doc. 15-3, p. 3.

         Ultimately, the Plaintiff seeks an order from the Court vacating its earlier judgment. R. Doc. 14. More specifically, Plaintiff seeks this Court reconsider its earlier judgment in light of this newly submitted evidence. Plaintiff seeks this Court find (1) his hostile work environment discrimination claims are not procedurally barred because the Union's failure to proceed with certain administrative measures renders his administrative remedies exhausted and (2) his racial discrimination claims with the EEOC date back to September 2017.

         Defendant Valero, in opposition, contends that Tate has neither established that he is entitled to relief pursuant to Rule 60(b) nor has he established any other reason to justify overturning the Court's previous judgment. R. Doc. 16, p. 5. Defendant also contends that Tate continues to complain about alleged actions and inactions on the part of the Union, who is not a party to this matter, and who should have no bearing on the dismissal of his suit against Valero. Id. Valero further contends the fact that Tate was in contact with the EEOC before he filed his August 3, 2018 EEOC charge will not have the effect of producing a different result. R. Doc. 16, p. 5. Ultimately, Defendant avers Plaintiff's series of recent filings is an improper vehicle for relief. See R. Doc. 18, p. 1. As such, Defendant maintains dismissal of Tate's time-barred Title VII discrimination claims remains proper. Id.

         The only party to this action is Valero, and not the NLRB or the Union. Now receiving this additional information, the Court will analyze its previous judgment in light of the newly submitted documents and with consideration to these non-parties' actions and/or inactions.

         II. Standard of Review

         Federal Rule of Civil Procedure (“Rule”) 60(b) provides the grounds for relief from a final judgment, order, or proceeding. Specifically, it provides that the court may relieve a party from a final judgment, order, or proceeding for six reasons:

(1) mistake, inadvertence, surprise, or excusable neglect; (2) newly discovered evidence that, with reasonable diligence, could not have been discovered in time to move for a new trial under Rule 59(b); (3) fraud (whether previously called intrinsic or extrinsic), misrepresentation, or misconduct by an opposing party; (4) the judgment is void; (5) the judgment has been satisfied, released, or discharged; it is based on an earlier judgment that has been reversed or vacated; or applying it prospectively is no longer equitable; or (6) any other reason that justifies relief.

Fed. R. Civ. Pro. 60(b)(1)-(6). The purpose of Rule 60(b) is to balance the principle of finality of a court judgment “with the interest of the court in seeing that justice is done in light of all the facts.” Hesling v. CSX Transp., Inc., 396 F.3d 632, 638 (5th Cir. 2005).

         “Reconsideration of a judgment after its entry is an extraordinary remedy that should be used sparingly.” Templet v. HydroChem Inc., 367 F.3d 473, 479 (5th Cir. 2004). Still, the ‚Äúdecision to grant or deny relief under Rule 60(b) lies within the sound discretion ...

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