United States District Court, E.D. Virginia, Richmond Division
E. Payne, Senior United States District Judge
matter is before the Court on HANKOOK TIRE COMPANY LIMITED
AND HANKOOK TIRE AMERICA CORPORATION' S MOTION TO AMEND
JUDGMENT BASED ON CLEAR ERROR OF LAW (ECF No. 367) .
Defendants' motion was denied by ORDER (ECF No. 391)
dated February 28, 2018. This Memorandum Opinion sets out the
reasoning for that decision.
products liability action, Robert Benedict sues Hankook Tire
Company Limited ("HTCL") and Hankook Tire America
Corporation ("HTAC") for the production and
distribution of an allegedly defective tire. Defendants seek
reconsideration of the Court's previous ORDER (ECF No.
221) and Memorandum Opinion (ECF No. 341) (hereinafter
"Original Opinion") granting Benedict's motion
for summary judgment as to Defendants' contributory
relevant facts are set out in the Original Opinion (ECF No.
341) that Defendants ask the Court to reconsider, and the
Court assumes familiarity with the facts as presented
therein. In short, however, this action involves a
single-vehicle accident that occurred when the front right
tire of a cement truck driven by Benedict suffered a tread
separation and the truck thereafter collided with an
embankment on the side of the road. (ECF No. 341). The
following passage from the Original Opinion is also worth
At the time of the accident, the 2014 Virginia Commercial
Driver's License Manual (the “CDL Manual")/
published by the Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles, was
in effect. It apprises commercial drivers of "important
information that [they] must know to operate [their]
vehicle[s] in a safe and professional manner." It
advises drivers facing a tire failure to:
Hold the steering wheel firmly. If a front
tire fails, it can twist the steering wheel out of your hand.
Keep a firm grip on the steering wheel with both hands at all
Stay off the brakes. Braking when a tire has
failed could cause you to lose control. Unless you are about
to run into something, stay off the brake until the vehicle
has slowed down. Then, brake gently and pull off the road.
Check the tires. Even if the vehicle seems
to be handling normally. Many times you won't know that a
dual tire is flat unless you look at it.
(ECF No. 341) (citations omitted).
initially asserted three claims: (1) products liability
negligence (including manufacturing defect, design defect,
and failure to warn); (2) breach of the implied warranty of
merchantability; and (3) breach of the implied warranty of
fitness for a particular purpose. First Am. Compl. 5-11. As
of the filing date of Defendants' motion for
reconsideration, Benedict is pursuing only a negligent
manufacturing claim against HTCL and an implied warranty of
merchantability claim against HTCL and HTAC. Second Am.
Compl. 4, 6.
October 2017, Benedict moved for partial summary judgment to
bar Defendants' contributory negligence defense. The
Court granted Benedict's motion at a hearing held on
November 20, 2017, Nov. 20, 2017 Hr'g Tr. 152, and it
issued an ORDER (ECF No. 221) on November 27, 2017 and a
Memorandum Opinion (ECF No. 341) on February 6, 2018
formalizing its decision.
December 4, 2017 (before the Court released the Original
Opinion setting forth the reasoning for its decision),
Defendants moved for reconsideration on the ground that the
Court had made a clear error of law. On December 5, 2017, the
Court denied this motion as premature, but it permitted
Defendants to seek reconsideration again after the release of
the Court's Opinion. (ECF No. 226). Accordingly,
Defendants filed the present motion on February 20, 2018.
The Proper Ground For Seeking Reconsideration
move for reconsideration on the authority of Federal Rule of
Civil Procedure 59 (e), which allows a court "to alter
or amend a judgment" based on a motion filed "no
later than 28 days after the entry of the judgment."
See Defs.' Br. 1, 3-4; Fed.R.Civ.P. 59(e);
United States v. Danielczyk, 917 F.Supp.2d 573,
575-76 (E.D. Va. 2013) . They also point to Rule 60 (b),
which allows a court to "relieve a party . . . from a
final judgment, order, or proceeding" on a more extended
timeline. See Defs.' Br. 3-4; Fed.R.Civ.P. 60;
Danielczyk, 917 F.Supp.2d at 575.
of these Rules, however, is the proper vehicle for seeking
reconsideration here. As the District of Maryland has
Orders are only susceptible to reconsideration under Rules
60(b) and 59(e) if they constitute "final
judgments." See Fayetteville Investors v. Commercial
Builders, inc., 936 F.2d 1462, 1469 (4th Cir. 1991)
("Rule 60(b) [is] not available for relief from an
interlocutory order. Rule 59(e) is equally applicable only to
a final judgment"). Judgments are generally only final
where they adjudicate and resolve all claims as to
the parties. See Millville Quarry Inc. v. Liberty Mut.
Fire Ins. Co., 217 F.3d 839, *3 (4th Cir. 2000)
(unpublished). An order dismissing fewer than all claims is
not a final judgment for which a Rule 60(b) or 59(e) motion
is appropriate, but rather an interlocutory motion [sic] that
may be contested under Rule 54(b).
Moore v. Lightstorm Entm't, 11-3644, 2013 WL
4052813, at *3 (D. Md. Aug. 9, 2013) . Defendants' motion
seeks reconsideration of a decision granting partial summary
judgment as to a defense; such a decision certainly does not
"adjudicate and resolve all claims as to the
parties." See id. "The Fourth Circuit has
made clear that where, as here, the entry of partial
summary judgment fails to resolve all claims in a suit, Rule
54(d) [sic]-not Rule 59(e) or 60(b)-governs a motion for
reconsideration." Netscape Commc'ns Corp.
v.ValueClick, Inc., 704 F.Supp.2d 544, 546
(E.D. Va. 2010); see alsoAl Shimari v. CACI
Int'l, Inc., 933 F.Supp.2d 793, 798 (E.D. Va. 2013)