United States District Court, N.D. Alabama, Southern Division
N. JOHNSON JR., UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE.
action proceeds before the court on plaintiff's Motion to
Set Aside the Order Striking the Motion for Summary Judgment
and to Allow the Motion for Summary Judgment and, in the
Alternative, to Treat the Motion as a Rule 59 Motion to
Vacate the Partial Dismissal Order. (Doc. 40). Defendant
filed a response taking no position on the matter (Doc. 43),
but plaintiff filed no reply despite an order allowing her to
Rule 16 Scheduling Order entered February 29, 2016, set a
dispositive motion deadline of November 1, 2016. (Doc. 25 at
1). Defendant AT&T Umbrella Benefit Plan No. 3 timely
filed a Motion for Summary Judgment on November 1, 2016.
(Doc. 29). On November 10, 2016, the court dismissed
AT&T, Inc., as a defendant pursuant to a December 3,
2015, Motion to Dismiss. (Docs. 33 & 34).
November 21, 2016, plaintiff filed a “Motion for
Judgment.” (Doc. 35). The motion sought a variety of
relief, including “a judgment reversing the decision to
deny benefits under the Short Term Disability Plan and
ordering AT&T to pay the benefits through its payroll,
” and an order vacating the dismissal of AT&T, Inc.
Because plaintiff filed her motion after the dispositive
motion deadline of November 1, 2016, the court struck the
summary judgment motion as untimely; however, the court
advised plaintiff it would consider plaintiff's response
to defendant's Motion for Summary Judgment as timely
filed. (Doc. 39). Thereafter, plaintiff filed the motion at
motion, plaintiff's counsel states he erroneously
believed the court extended the deadline for dispositive
motions to November 21, 2016. Plaintiff had previously filed
a motion to compel (Doc. 27), and with their opposition
thereto defendants attached as an exhibit an order in another
case, Lee v. AT&T Operations, Inc., et al., Case
No. 2:10-cv-00289-RRA, entered October 21, 2011.
(See Doc. 40 at 6-11). The order in the Lee
case concluded with extension of the dispositive motion
deadline in that case to November 21, 2011. (Id. at
11). Plaintiff's counsel misread the Lee order,
believing that the deadline extension appertained to this
extent plaintiff asks the court to reconsider its order
dismissing AT&T, Inc., as a defendant, the court denies
plaintiff's request. The court may not alter or amend a
judgment until the court has entered final judgment, and the
court had not entered final judgment, or even partial
judgment, as either consideration involves either the filing
of a separate document pursuant to Rule 58, Federal Rules of
Civil Procedure (for the former action), or an order pursuant
to Rule 54(b), Federal Rules of Civil Procedure (for the
latter action). Although the court had dismissed defendant
AT&T, Inc., it had not entered final or partial judgment
on the dismissal, and thus the court deems plaintiff's
the plaintiff did not present any appropriate basis for a
Rule 59(e) motion. The text of Rule 59(e) does not set forth
specific grounds for relief, and the rule commits the
decision to alter or amend judgment to the sound discretion
of the court. American Home Assurance Co. v. Glenn Estess
& Assocs., Inc., 763 F.2d 1237, 1238-39
(11th Cir. 1985). Pursuant to circuit precedent, a
court may grant a Rule 59(e) motion due to
“newly-discovered evidence or manifest errors of law or
fact.” United States v. Marion, 562 F.3d 1330,
1335 (11th Cir. 2009) (quoting Arthur v.
King, 500 F.3d 1335, 1343 (11th Cir. 2007)
(per curiam), cert. denied, 552 U.S. 1040
(2007)). In contrast, a court may not rely upon Rule 59(e) to
“‛relitigate old matters or to present arguments
or evidence that could have been raised prior to
judgment.'” Wilchombe v. TeeVee Toons,
Inc., 555 F.3d 949, 957 (11th Cir. 2009)
(quoting Michael Linet, Inc. v. Village of Wellington,
Fla., 408 F.3d 757, 763 (11th Cir. 2005)).
Furthermore, the court will not amend or alter a judgment if
doing so serves no useful purpose. 11 Wright, Miller &
Kane, Federal Practice and Procedure ' 2810.1
(2d Ed. 1995). A Rule 59(e) motion “is not a vehicle
for rehashing arguments already rejected by the court or for
refuting the court's prior decision.”
Wendy's Int'l, Inc. v. Nu-Cape Constr.,
Inc., 169 F.R.D. 680, 686 (M.D. Fla. 1996).
has neither pointed to any change in controlling law nor
provided any new evidence. The court also finds no clear
error or manifest injustice in its prior order. Therefore,
the court DENIES the Rule 59(e) motion to set aside the
court's order dismissing AT&T, Inc., as a defendant.
Plaintiff's Summary Judgment Motion
to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 16(b), the district court
issues a scheduling order that limits the time to file
dispositive motions. Fed.R.Civ.P. 16(b)(3)(A). The court may
modify its schedule only for good cause and with the
court's consent. Fed. R .Civ. P. 16(b)(4). To establish
good cause, the party seeking the extension must establish
that the schedule could not be met despite the party's
diligence. Oravec v. Sunny Isles Luxury Ventures,
L.C., 527 F.3d 1218, 1232 (11th Cir. 2008).
The Eleventh Circuit has held that a district court does not
abuse its discretion by holding the litigants to the clear
terms of its scheduling order. See, e.g., Josendis v.
Wall to Wall Residence Repairs, Inc., 662 F.3d 1292,
1307 (11th Cir. 2011).
party files a motion to extend an already-expired deadline
set in an order, Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 16(b)
provides the proper guide for determining whether to modify
the scheduling order. Southern Grouts & Mortars, Inc.
v. 3M Co., 575 F.3d 1235, 1241 (11th Cir.
2009). In such cases, the moving party is required to show
good cause. Id. (quoting Fed.R.Civ.P. 16(b)(4)). The
good cause standard required to modify a scheduling order
precludes modification unless the schedule “cannot be
met despite the diligence of the party seeking the
extension.” Sosa v. Airprint Sys., 133 F.3d
1417, 1418 (11th Cir. 1998) (citing Fed.R.Civ.P.
16 advisory committee's notes); see also Johnson v.
Mammoth Recreations, Inc., 975 F.2d 604, 609
(9th Cir. 1992) (“If [a] party was not
diligent, the [good cause] inquiry should end.”). In
short, diligence is the key to satisfying the good cause
requirement. Sosa, 133 F.3d at 1419.
addition, Rule 6(b) provides that the court may extend a
deadline for good cause when an act must be done within a
specified time. Fed.R.Civ.P. 6(b)(1)(A). However, when a
party moves to extend a deadline after that deadline has
expired, Rule 6(b) provides that good cause manifests only
“if the party failed to act because of excusable
neglect.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 6(b) (emphasis added).
Pioneer Inv. Servs. Co. v. Brunswick Assocs. Ltd.
P'ship, 507 U.S. 380 (1993), the Supreme Court
established the following factors for its consideration of
excusable neglect: “the danger of prejudice to the
debtor, the length of the delay and its potential impact on
judicial proceedings, the reason for the delay, including
whether it was within the reasonable control of the movant,
and whether the movant acted in good faith.”
Id. at 395; see Ashmore v. Sec'y, DOT,
2013 WL 28433, *4 (11th Cir. Jan. 3, 2013)
(applying Pioneer factors to analysis of excusable
neglect under Rule 6(b) and stating, “We have noted
that, in Pioneer, the Supreme Court accorded primary
importance to the absence of prejudice to the nonmoving party
and to the interest of efficient judicial administration,
” citing Cheney v. Anchor Glass Container
Corp., 71 F.3d 848, 850 (11th Cir. ...