United States District Court, W.D. Virginia, Lynchburg Division
ANASTASIA V. WOOTEN, Plaintiff,
COMMONWEALTH OF VIRGINIA, et al, Defendants.
K. MOON UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
case is before the Court on a motion for partial summary
judgment on damages by Defendants Richard Holcomb, Joseph
Hill, and Jeannie Thorpe ("Defendants"). (Dkt.
166). Defendants assert that Plaintiff cannot receive
compensatory damages because she cannot prove an actual
injury resulting from a deprivation of procedural Due
Process. (Id. at 5-8).
January 7th and 21th, 2016, the Court entered memorandum
opinions and an order on several summary judgment motions,
with the result that Plaintiffs First Amendment and Title VII
retaliation claims were dismissed, but judgment was granted
in her favor on the issue of liability for her procedural Due
Process claim. (See generally dkt. 140,
available at 154 F.Supp.3d 322 (W.D. Va. 2016); dkt.
146, available at 2016 WL 264959 (W.D. Va. Jan. 21,
2016); dkt. 147 (Order)). The Court subsequently denied as
both procedurally and substantively lacking Defendants'
motion to reconsider my decision on the Due Process issue, in
part because the motion was "effectively a full-blown,
renewed motion for summary judgment." (See
generally dkt. 161, available at - F.Supp.3d.
-, 2016 WL 922795 (W.D. Va. Mar. 10, 2016)).
Court will deny Defendants' present motion. The motion
represents-either in name or substance-Defendants' sixth
request for summary judgment. The Court will accordingly
exercise its discretion to decline to hear successive summary
judgment motions. Also, the motion is untimely.
understand the Court's decision, a limited recapitulation
of the somewhat arduous history of this case is necessary.
The Court focuses primarily on deadlines related to summary
judgment and the various motions seeking it.
The Summary Judgment Deadline Expires
Rule of Civil Procedure 56(b) instructs that the time to file
a motion for summary judgment is up to 30 days after the
close of discovery, unless ordered otherwise. The original
pretrial order in this case-entered on July 15, 2014-changed
that deadline to 75 days before trial. (Dkt. 19 at
1). Trial was scheduled for July 14, 2015 (dkt. 24), thus
setting the original summary judgment deadline for April 30,
2015. Magistrate Judge Ballou subsequently amended the
deadline to 60 days before trial (dkt. 44), making such
motions due on May 14, 2015. Defendants met this deadline
when they sought summary judgment against the Due Process and
Title VII claims on May 13, 2015. (Dkt. 86).
2015, however, the Court allowed Plaintiff to amend her
complaint to add a First Amendment claim in light of an
intervening Fourth Circuit decision. (Dkt. 105). This
necessitated supplemental discovery and a new trial date.
(Id.; dkt. 106). On July 7, 2015, Plaintiff filed
her amended complaint with the First Amendment claim. (Dkt.
109). Merely three days later, Defendants filed a
"renewed" summary judgment motion in order to
address the First Amendment count. (Dkts. 110 & 111). The
Court found such timing to be "unusual" (dkt. 111
at 2), and denied, without prejudice, the motion as premature
because discovery on the claim was needed. (Dkt. 124, 125).
The Second Summary Judgment Deadline Expires
a superseding pretrial order was entered on July 21, 2015,
with new case deadlines and a March 1, 2016 trial date.
(Dkts. 113 & 114). This order established December 17,
2015 as the new summary judgment deadline. Like the prior
summary judgment date, this deadline expired, with
Defendants' timely filing on December 15, 2015 a
"second renewed" motion for summary judgment.
(Dkts. 130 & 131). This motion focused on the new First
Amendment claim and cross-referenced Defendants'
still-pending motion against the Due Process and Title VII
claims. (Dkt. 141 at 14-15, 24-25).
The Court Rules on the Summary Judgment Motions
January 2016, the Court fully adjudicated all pending summary
judgment motions, dismissing the First Amendment and Title
VII claims but granting Plaintiff judgment on liability for a
violation of procedural Due Process. (Dkts. 140, 146, 147).
The Court instructed the parties to prepare for the March 1st
trial. (See dkt. 148).
Defendants' Motion for Reconsideration and the
Continuation of Trial
February 11, 2016, Defendants sought reconsideration of the
Court's adverse ruling on the Due Process claim,
including the denial of qualified immunity, which may have
been immediately appealable. (See dkts. 152 &
153). After ...