United States District Court, W.D. Texas, Austin Division
LAWSON P. ROBERTS, Plaintiff,
STEVEN MNUCHIN, Secretary of Treasury, Defendant.
SPARKS UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
REMEMBERED on this day the Court reviewed the file in the
above-styled cause, and specifically Defendant Steven Mnuchin
(Defendant)'s Motion for Reconsideration, or, in the
alternative, Motion for Summary Judgment [#16], Plaintiff
Lawson P. Roberts (Plaintiff)'s Response [#17] in
opposition, and Defendant's Reply [#18] in support.
Having reviewed the documents, the governing law, and the
file as a whole, the Court now enters the following opinion
and order DENYING the motion for reconsideration.
motion for reconsideration, Defendant asks this Court to
reconsider its order denying Defendant's amended motion
to dismiss for lack of subject matter jurisdiction, or, in
the alternative, motion for summary judgment. Mot. Recons.
[#16] at 1.
an employee of the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) and thus an
employee of the Department of the Treasury (the Treasury),
filed this suit on December 5, 2016. Compl. [#1]. Plaintiff
contends the Treasury, through the actions of the IRS,
unlawfully retaliated against him for filing complaints and
participating in Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO) conflict
resolution processes in violation of Title VII's
anti-retaliation provision, 42 U.S.C. § 2000e-3(a).
Id. ¶¶ 8-10. As part of that alleged
retaliation, Plaintiff claims the Treasury's efforts to
settle his complaints, via the Settlement Agreement, were
conducted in bad faith. Id. ¶ 10.
September 26, 2017, the Court entered an order denying
Defendant's motion to dismiss because "Plaintiff
carried his burden to establish this Court's subject
matter jurisdiction" Order of Sept. 26, 2017 [#10] at 7.
Now, Defendant asks the Court to reconsider that order.
Court construes Defendant's motion for reconsideration as
a Rule 54(b) motion because it asks the Court to reconsider
its refusal to dismiss Plaintiffs claims for lack of subject
matter jurisdiction. See Fed. R. Civ. P. 54(b)
(giving a district court discretion to "revise at
anytime before the entry of a judgment" "any order
or other decision, however designated, that adjudicates fewer
than all the claims or the rights and liabilities of fewer
than all the parties"). While a district court's
discretion to reconsider its orders is broad, "it is
exercised rarely to avoid the perpetual reexamination of
orders and the resulting burdens and delays."
Iturralde v. Shaw Grp., Inc., No. CTV.A 05-330, 2012
WL 1565356, at *3 (M.D. La. May 1, 2012) (citations omitted),
aff'd, 512 Fed.Appx. 430 (5th Cir. 2013).
the precise standard for evaluating a motion to reconsider
under Rule 54(b) is unclear, whether to grant such a motion
rests within the discretion of the court... [a]nd the
standard would appear to be less exacting than that imposed
by Rules 59 and 60." Cantwell Family Tr. (1998)
& Cantwell Holdings, Ltd. v. Hyten, No.
A-15-CA-414-SS, 2016 WL 1610610 at *2 (W.D. Tex. Apr. 20,
2016) (citing Dos Santos v. Bell Helicopter Textron, Inc.
Dist, 651 F.Supp.2d 550, 553 (N.D. Tex. 2009)). In
examining a Rule 54(b) motion to reconsider, however,
"considerations similar to those under Rules 59 and 60
inform the Court's analysis." Id. In
particular, a Court considers "whether the movant is
attempting to rehash its previously made arguments or is
attempting to raise an argument for the first time without
justification . . . ." Dos Santos, 651
F.Supp.2d at 553 (citations omitted).
complaint to survive a motion to dismiss made under Federal
Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(1), the party seeking access to
the federal forum must establish federal subject matter
jurisdiction exists. Howery v. Allstate Ins. Co.,
243 F.3d 912, 916 (5th Cir. 2001) (citing Kokkonen v.
Guardian Life Ins. Co. of Am., 511 U.S. 375, 377
(1994)). Where sovereign immunity applies, claims asserted
against the immune party "can be dismissed only under
Rule 12(b)(1) and not with prejudice." Warnock v.
Pecos Cty., 88 F.3d 341, 343 (5th Cir. 1996).
September 26, 2017 Order, this Court determined it had
subject matter jurisdiction over Plaintiffs claims. Notably,
the Court found Plaintiff brought only claims for unlawful
retaliation in violation of 42 U.S.C. § 2000e-3(a) and
did not allege breach of contract. Order of Sept. 26, 2017
[#13] at 5-7. The Court also concluded Plaintiff had properly
exhausted his claims before filing this lawsuit. Id.
in Defendant's motion for reconsideration suggests the
Court erred in denying Defendant's motion to dismiss via
the September 26, 2017 Order. The majority of Defendant's
motion for reconsideration attempts to rehash arguments the
Court already considered. Specifically, Defendant repeats his
argument Plaintiffs retaliation claims are, ...