United States District Court, W.D. Texas, Austin Division
UNITED STATES OF AMERICA ex. rel. GEORGE GAGE, Plaintiff,
ROLLS-ROYCE NORTH AMERICA, INC., ROLLS-ROYCE DEUTSCHLAND LTD & CO. KG, SIERRA NEVADA TECHNICAL SERVICES, LLC, Defendants.
SPARKS, SENIOR UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
REMEMBERED on this day the Court reviewed the file in the
above-styled cause, and specifically Relator George
Gage's Motion to Alter or Amend Judgment [#100]. Having
considered the document, the case as a whole, and the
governing law, the Court now enters the following opinion and
facts of this case and each party's positions in the
current lawsuit are set forth in greater detail in the
Court's Order entered on March 12, 2018. See
Order of Mar. 12, 2018 [#97]. The Court granted Defendants
Rolls-Royce North America, Inc. and Rolls-Royce Deutschland,
Ltd. & Co. KG (collectively, Rolls-Royce)'s motion to
dismiss, dismissing all asserted claims with prejudice.
Id. In the same Order, the Court also granted
Rolls-Royce's motion to disqualify Gage's attorney,
Donald Little. Id.
now asks this Court to alter or amend its judgment under
Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 59(e) with respect to the
disqualification of attorney Little. See Mot.
[#100]. For the reasons explained below, the Court denies
Rule of Civil Procedure 59(e) gives a party twenty-eight days
after entry of a judgment to file a motion asking the court
to alter or amend that judgment. FED. R. Civ. P. 59(e).
"Reconsideration of a judgment after its entry is an
extraordinary remedy that should be used sparingly."
Templet v. HydroChem Inc., 367 F.3d 473, 479 (5th
Cir. 2004). "[S]uch a motion is not the proper vehicle
for rehashing evidence, legal theories, or arguments that
could have been offered or raised before the entry of
judgment, " but instead is intended to allow a court to
correct manifest errors of law or fact, to correct
inadvertent clerical errors, or to present newly discovered
offers three issues he contends the Court and Magistrate
Judge never addressed in disqualifying attorney Little: (1)
"Mandatory Disclosure Adverse to a client under Texas
Disciplinary Rules of Professional Conduct 1.05(e) and
(f)"; (2) "potential harm to American members of
the Armed Services"; and (3) proffered "documents
demonstrating fraud and crimes by both Rolls-Royce and Davis
Aviation." See Mot. [#100] at 2-4. Because of
these issues, Gage and his counsel "request the Court to
amend the disqualification of Donald E. Little under the
crime-fraud exception in the interests of justice and
national security." Id. at 4.
to Gage's representation, the Magistrate Judge did
address the issues Gage raises in this motion. Gage argued
these points in response to Rolls-Royce's motion to
disqualify attorney Little. See Resp. [#60]. At the
hearing, Gage re-urged these arguments and the Magistrate
Judge explained at length why they were unconvincing.
See Dec. 4, 2018, Hr'g Tr. [#87] at 37:2-45:25.
The Magistrate Judge recommended disqualifying Little
"since: (1) he had a more-than-decade long
attorney-client relationship with Rolls-Royce; and (2) there
is a substantial relationship between the subject matter of
the present representation and a matter on which Little
previously represented Rolls-Royce, specifically Davis
I." See R. & R. [#91] at 8-10. Gage objected to
the Magistrate Judge's recommendation, but notably did
not present any of the arguments he raises now. See
Objs. [#93] at 8-9. The Court overruled Gage's objections
and granted Rolls-Royce's motion to disqualify Little.
See Order of Mar. 12, 2018 [#97] at 3-4.
same reasons the Magistrate Judge explained, the Court finds
Gage's arguments in the instant motion unpersuasive. Gage
believes attorney Little should be permitted to represent
Gage in this matter adverse to his former client Rolls-Royce
in order to prevent a crime or fraud that threatens death or
serious bodily harm to others. See Mot. [#100] at
2-4 (citing exceptions in Texas Disciplinary Rules of
Professional Conduct 1.02(d)-(e), 1.05(e)-(f)). The
fundamental problem, however, is Gage fails to distinguish
between two distinct attorney obligations-protecting a former
client's confidential information and not representing
another party in a matter adverse to a former client. This
Court has never ruled on whether Little may disclose
confidential information obtained while representing
Rolls-Royce as in-house counsel from 1997 through 2008 and as
outside counsel in Davis I. Instead, the Court
disqualified Little under Texas Disciplinary Rule of
Professional Conduct 1.09(a)(3) because Little, without prior
consent, sought to represent Gage "in this matter
adverse to Little's former client Rolls-Royce on a matter
that is the same or substantially related." Order of
Mar. 12, 2018 [#97] at 4. Put simply, Gage has failed to
identify any exception that exempts Little from the
former-client conflict of interest rule, and disqualification
is therefore appropriate.
light of Gage's failure to identify manifest errors of
law or fact, inadvertent clerical errors, or newly discovered
evidence, there is no basis for altering or amending the
Court's earlier judgment under Rule 59(e).
IT IS ORDERED that Relator George Gage's Motion to Alter