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Marquez v. Glendale Union High School District

United States District Court, D. Arizona

December 6, 2018

Louise Marquez, Plaintiff,
v.
Glendale Union High School District, Defendant.

          ORDER

          JAMES A. TEILBORG SENIOR UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.

         Pending before the Court is Plaintiff's Motion for Order Reinstating Counts Four and Six (Doc. 90). For the reasons set forth below, the Court denies Plaintiff's Motion.

         I. BACKGROUND

         In an Order dated October 9, 2018, the Court ruled on Defendant's Motion for Summary Judgment (Doc. 67) and Plaintiff's Motion for Partial Summary Judgment (Doc. 70). (Doc. 86 at 53).[1] As relevant here, the Court's Order granted Defendant's Motion for Summary Judgment, in part, as to Plaintiff's Fourth Cause of Action alleging disability discrimination under the Americans with Disabilities Act (“ADA”), and as to Plaintiff's Sixth Cause of Action alleging disability discrimination under the Rehabilitation Act. (Id.). On November 6, 2018, Plaintiff filed a Motion for Order Reinstating Counts Four and Six (Doc. 90) (hereinafter “Motion”) asking the Court to modify its prior Order (Doc. 86) pursuant to Federal Rules of Civil Procedure 54(b) and 60(b)(1) by reinstating Plaintiff's disability discrimination claims under the ADA and the Rehabilitation Act. (Doc. 90 at 1). Particularly, Plaintiff seeks relief from the Court's Order (Doc. 86) because it “overlooked or ignored crucial evidence presented by [Plaintiff] that would have supported a finding that [Defendant] had notice of her disability under circumstances that created a duty to engage in the interactive process[.]” (Doc. 90 at 2).

         Although the Court did not order Defendant to do so, Defendant filed a Response to Plaintiff's Motion for Order Reinstating Counts Four and Six (Doc. 92) (hereinafter “Response”) on November 19, 2018. Defendant asks the Court to award its attorneys' fees incurred in preparing its Response (Doc. 92) “based on the lack of merit to Plaintiff's position and her end run around LR[Civ] 7.2.” (Doc. 92 at 8). On November 26, 2018, Plaintiff filed a Reply in Support of Motion for Order Reinstating Counts Four and Six (Doc. 93) (hereinafter “Reply”). The Court also did not order Plaintiff to file a Reply.[2]

         II. ANALYSIS

         As a preliminary matter, the Court notes that Plaintiff titled the motion at issue, (Doc. 90), as “Motion for Order Reinstating Counts Four and Six.” However, neither the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure nor the District of Arizona's Local Rules provide for the filing of “motions to reinstate.” Although improperly titled, the Court construes Plaintiff's Motion for Order Reinstating Counts Four and Six as a motion for reconsideration under District of Arizona Local Rule LRCiv 7.2(g) (“LRCiv 7.2(g)”).

         Plaintiff cites Federal Rules of Civil Procedure 54(b) and 60(b)(1) as purported authority for her Motion. (Doc. 90 at 2-5). Plaintiff errs in seeking relief under Fed.R.Civ.P. 60(b)(1), which provides that “the court may relieve a party or its legal representative from a final judgment, order, or proceeding” upon a showing of “mistake, surprise, or excusable neglect.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 60(b)(1). Importantly, however, that Rule only provides relief “from a final judgment, order, or proceeding.” Id. (emphasis added). As the Court's Order of October 9, 2018 did not “end[ ] the litigation on the merits and leave[ ] nothing for the court to do but execute the judgment, ” it was not a final judgment or appealable order. In re Frontier Properties, Inc., 979 F.2d 1358, 1362 (9th Cir. 1992) (citing Catlin v. United States, 324 U.S. 229, 233 (1945)). Rather, “[i]t is axiomatic that orders granting partial summary judgment, because they do not dispose of all claims, are not final appealable orders[.]” Cheng v. Comm'r, 878 F.2d 306, 309 (9th Cir. 1989) (citations omitted). Therefore, it is clear that Rule 60(b) does not apply here. Accordingly, to the extent that Plaintiff's Motion seeks relief from the Court's October 9, 2018 Order under Rule 60(b)(1), her Motion is denied.

         Plaintiff also cites Fed.R.Civ.P. 54(b) as authority for her Motion, (Doc. 90 at 2), which states, in part:

[A]ny order or other decision, however designated, that adjudicates fewer than all the claims or the rights and liabilities of fewer than all the parties does not end the action as to any of the claims or parties and may be revised at any time before the entry of a judgment adjudicating all the claims and all the parties' rights and liabilities.

Fed. R. Civ. P. 54(b). It is true that courts “have inherent power to modify their interlocutory orders before entering a final judgment.” Balla v. Idaho State Bd. of Corr., 869 F.2d 461, 465 (9th Cir. 1989) (citing Marconi Wireless Telegraph Co. v. United States, 320 U.S. 1, 47-48 (1943); John Simmons Co. v. Grier Brothers Co., 258 U.S. 82, 88 (1922)); see also Dietz v. Bouldin, 136 S.Ct. 1885, 1892 (2016) (“[A] district court ordinarily has the power to modify or rescind its orders at any point prior to final judgment in a civil case.”) (citations omitted). However, as recognized in various cases cited by Plaintiff, [3] Rule 54(b) relates to motions for reconsideration[4]-for which the Court has its own legal standard. Specifically, as noted in the Rule 16 Scheduling Order (Doc. 16), “should a party choose to file a motion for reconsideration of an interlocutory order, such party shall file such motion under the standard set forth in Motorola, Inc. v. J.B. Rogers Mechanical Contractors, Inc., 215 F.R.D. 581, 586 (D. Ariz. 2003).” (Doc. 16 n. 4). Despite the Court's admonition, Plaintiff failed to use this correct legal standard in her Motion. This failure is one of multiple reasons why the Court declines to grant Plaintiff's Motion.

         A. The Court's Standard for Motions for Reconsideration

         The Court has the authority to reconsider a prior order. Motorola, Inc., 215 F.R.D. at 582 (citing Barber v. Hawaii, 42 F.3d 1185, 1198 (9th Cir. 1994); United States v. Nutri-cology, Inc., 982 F.2d 394, 396 (9th Cir. 1992)). Motions for reconsideration, however, are disfavored and are not the proper means for parties to raise new arguments not stated in their past briefs. Id. (citing Northwest Acceptance Corp. v. Lynnwood Equip., Inc., 841 F.2d 918, 925-26 (9th Cir. 1988)). Reconsideration is also not an appropriate means to ask the Court to merely rethink a question it has already decided without an acceptable reason to do so. Id. (citing United States v. Rezzonico, 32 F.Supp.2d 1112, 1116 (D.Ariz. 1998)). Furthermore, “dissatisfaction or disagreement is not a proper basis for reconsideration[.]” Ellsworth v. Prison Health Services Inc., 2013 WL 1149937, at *2 (D.Ariz. March 20, 2013) (internal quotation marks and citations omitted).

         LRCiv 7.2(g) provides, in part, that “[t]he Court will ordinarily deny a motion for reconsideration of an Order absent a showing of manifest error or a showing of new facts or legal authority that could not have been brought to its attention earlier with reasonable diligence.” A motion for reconsideration “shall point out with specificity the matters that the movant believes were overlooked or misapprehended by the Court, any new matters being brought to the Court's attention for the first time and the reasons they were not presented earlier, and any specific modifications being sought in the Court's Order.” LRCiv 7.2(g)(1).

         The Court has adopted the following standards upon which a motion for reconsideration of an interlocutory order will be granted:

(1) There are material differences in fact or law from that presented to the Court and, at the time of the Court's decision, the party moving for reconsideration could not have known of the factual or legal differences through reasonable diligence;
(2) There are new material facts that happened after the Court's decision;
(3) There has been a change in the law that was decided or enacted after the Court's decision; or
(4) The movant makes a convincing showing that the Court failed to consider material facts that were presented to the Court before the Court's decision.

Motorola, Inc., 215 F.R.D. at 586. Although Plaintiff contends that the “choice of which Rule(s) to proceed under was for Marquez and her counsel, not GUHSD[, ]” (Doc. 93 at 2), Plaintiff's failure to abide by the Court's Local Rules or follow the Court's Rule 16 Scheduling Order (Doc. 16) setting forth the Motorola, Inc. standard is to her own detriment.[5]

         B. Plaintiff's ...


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