United States District Court, W.D. Virginia
K. MOON UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
in each of these three cases move for reconsideration under
Rule 59(e) of the Court's January 23, 2017 opinion
(January Opinion) dismissing the Abdurahman and
Abdul-Mumit cases in whole and the Gentry
case in part. (See dkt. 111 & 112 in
Gentry). The facts and procedural history of this
case are lengthy, well-known to the parties, and discussed
thoroughly in the January Opinion, so they will not be
motions often either reargue points already exhaustively
briefed prior to the January Opinion, or raise new arguments
that should have been presented earlier. Plaintiffs'
arguments that do not fall within those categories are
without merit. For those reasons, the motions for
reconsideration will be denied.
motions are styled as motions to alter or amend a judgment
under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 59(e). That Rule is
inapplicable to Gentry, because the Court did not
enter judgment in that case within the meaning of Rule 54.
Rather, the Court granted in part and denied in part
Defendant HMA's motion to dismiss. As such, the ruling in
Gentry is an interlocutory one under Rule 54(b),
“and the decision to revisit such an order is committed
to the Court's discretion as part of its inherent
authority.” Wootten v. Virginia, 168 F.Supp.3d
890, 893 (W.D. Va. 2016) (compiling cases). Courts have
“distilled the grounds for a Rule 54(b) motion for
reconsideration to (1) an intervening change in the law, (2)
new evidence that was not previously available, or (3)
correction of a clear error of law or to prevent manifest
injustice.” Id. Reconsideration motions are
“disfavored” and “should be granted
sparingly.” Id. As this Court recently
summarized, a motion for reconsideration:
is not meant to re-litigate issues already decided, provide a
party the chance to craft new or improved legal positions,
highlight previously-available facts, or otherwise award a
proverbial “second bite at the apple” to a
dissatisfied litigant. It is inappropriate where it merely
reiterates previous arguments. It is not an occasion to
present a better and more compelling argument that the party
could have presented in the original briefs, or to introduce
evidence that could have been addressed or presented
previously. Aggrieved parties may not put a finer point on
their old arguments and dicker about matters decided
adversely to them.
a party who fails to present his strongest case in the first
instance generally has no right to raise new theories or
arguments in a motion to reconsider. Id. (internal
citations and quotations omitted). As discussed below, the
motion in Gentry does not pass muster under these
to Abdurahman and Abdul-Mumit, the January
Opinion and accompanying order dismissed those cases, making
a Rule 59(e) motion the proper vehicle for review. The
standard of review, however, is virtually the same as
articulated above regarding Rule 54(b) motions for
reconsideration. See Mayfield v. Nat'l Ass'n for
Stock Car Auto Racing, Inc., 674 F.3d 369, 378 (4th Cir.
2012); Pac. Ins. Co. v. Am. Nat. Fire Ins. Co., 148
F.3d 396, 403 (4th Cir. 1998).
The Court Properly Ruled on Those Issues over Which It Had
Gentry's first argument is that that Court exceeded the
scope of the MDL's remand and dismissed claims over which
it lacks jurisdiction. (See dkt. 112 (Pls' Br.)
at 4). The contention fails.
Defendant HMA observes, “the Court never purported to
reach the claims of non-remanded plaintiffs and expressly
cited in its Opinion the scope of the Judicial Panel on
Multidistrict Litigation's remand.” (Dkt. 113
(Defs' Br.) at 2). The Court made quite clear what
classes of claims were before it, and that Mr. Gentry
“is the only remaining named plaintiff in
Gentry.” (January Opinion at 2, 3, 4).
fact of the matter is that there are no pre-November 2 claims
left before the Court in Gentry. That is not a
function of the January Opinion, but of the Complaint itself
and the identity of the named plaintiffs. Mr. Gentry falls
within the putative post-November 2 class because he bought
his car in 2013. (Gentry Complaint ¶ 8). So the
January Opinion addressed whether he stated claims for
himself and as a putative representative of the putative
post- November 2 class.
four other named plaintiffs-Scott, Gilleland, Bowe, and
DeSouto-are all members of the pre-November 2, 2012 class.
(Gentry Complaint ¶¶ 14-17). But as the
Court made clear, those four plaintiffs are satisfied with
the MDL settlement and have not opted out of it. (January
Opinion at 4). Their claims, then, are not before the Court.
upshot is that there are no pre-November 2 claims
plaintiffs before the Court. The only named plaintiffs in
this lawsuit who-given their purchase dates-could represent a
class of pre-November 2 opt-outs are not doing so; thus,
there are simply no pre-November 2 disputes to adjudicate.
See Shelton v. Pargo, Inc., 582 F.2d 1298, 1305 (4th
Cir. 1978) (observing that named plaintiffs in putative class
action “are the representative parties, without whose
presence as plaintiffs the case could not proceed as a class
action”); Feamster v. Compucom Sys., Inc., No.
7:15-CV-00564, 2016 WL 722190, at *5 (W.D. Va. Feb. 19, 2016)
(“If all three named plaintiffs are barred from
bringing a collective action, the case simply may not proceed
in that form.”).Put more succinctly, it is as if the
Complaint in Gentry does not contain any
pre-November 2 claims. That is not because this Court
dismissed them, but rather because claims of a putative
pre-November 2 opt-out class cannot be adjudicated without a
class representative, which is lacking.
The Court Correctly Applied ...