United States District Court, N.D. Texas, Dallas Division
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER
J. BOYLE UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
the Court is Plaintiff Dipankar Chandra's motion for
reconsideration. Doc. 69. For the following reasons,
Plaintiff's Motion is DENIED.
filed suit against Defendants Bowhead Science &
Technology LLC and the Secretary of the United States Army
alleging discrimination based on race and national origin in
violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Doc.
69, Mot. for Recons., 1. The Army filed a motion to dismiss,
alleging that Chandra failed to exhaust his administrative
remedies. Doc. 33, Mot. to Dismiss, 2. The Court granted the
Army's motion but allowed Chandra to file an amended
complaint. Doc. 42, Mem. Op. & Order, 15. In his amended
complaint, Chandra claimed that even if he had not exhausted
his administrative remedies his claims were subject to
equitable tolling because, in relevant part, his failure to
contact the Army's EEO office was due to his lack of
sophistication, not his failure to vigorously pursue his
case. Doc. 43, Am. Compl. ¶¶ 13, 15. The Army filed
another motion to dismiss, Doc. 57, Mot. to Dismiss, which
the Court granted, this time dismissing with prejudice
Chandra's Title VII claims against the Army, Doc. 66,
Mem. Op. & Order, 12. Twenty eight days later, Chandra
filed a motion for reconsideration under Federal Rules of
Civil Procedure 59(e) and 60(b), which challenges the
Court's factual findings and seeks leave to file an
amended complaint. Doc. 69, Mot. for Recons., 2, 5-6.
Chandra's motion is ripe for review.
Federal Rules of Civil Procedure do not specifically provide
for a motion for reconsideration, but such a motion may be
considered either a Rule 59(e) motion to alter or amend
judgment or a Rule 60(b) motion for relief from judgment or
order. Shepherd v. Int'l Paper Co., 372 F.3d
326, 328 n.1 (5th Cir. 2004). Whether a motion falls under
Rule 59(e) or 60(b) depends on when it was filed. See
Id. In this case, Chandra's motion was filed twenty
eight days after the Court granted the Army's motion to
dismiss so it was timely under Rule 59(e). Fed.R.Civ.P. 59(e)
(requiring such motion to be filed “no later than 28
days after the entry of the judgment”).
Rule 59(e) motion ‘calls into question the correctness
of a judgment.'” Templet v. HydroChem,
Inc., 367 F.3d 473, 478 (5th Cir. 2004) (quoting In
re Transtexas Gas Corp., 303 F.3d 571, 581 (5th Cir.
2002)). Rule 59(e) reconsideration does not serve as a
“vehicle for rehashing evidence, legal theories, or
arguments that could have been offered or raised before the
entry of judgment.” Id. at 479. Rather, it
serves to correct a manifest error of law or fact, to account
for newly discovered evidence, or to accommodate an
intervening change in controlling law. Schiller v.
Physicians Res. Grp., Inc., 342 F.3d 563, 567 (5th Cir.
2003). Therefore, it is “an extraordinary remedy that
should be used sparingly.” In re Rodriguez,
695 F.3d 360, 371 (5th Cir. 2012) (quoting Templet,
367 F.3d at 479).
challenges the Court's finding that he failed to file a
charge of discrimination with the Army's EEO office and
failed to vigorously pursue his action. Doc. 69, Mot. for
Reconsideration, 1-2. Chandra does not dispute that he never
filed a charge of discrimination with the Army's EEO
office but claims that the July 9, 2012 letter he sent to the
Director of the Army Research Laboratory satisfied the
Army's requirements for initiating a discrimination
complaint. Id. at 3. Chandra acknowledges that he
sent the letter outside of the forty-five-day window during
which a complainant must initiate his claim but argues that
the EEOC regulations to which the Army is subject toll this
requirement when the complainant was not notified of the time
limit or otherwise aware of it. Id. at 3-4. Thus,
Chandra argues he is entitled to tolling of his claim under
the EEOC regulations. Id. at 4.
argues that he is also entitled to equitable tolling because,
despite his lack of sophistication with the Army's
procedural requirements, he vigorously pursued his action as
soon as he was aware of the need to do so. Id. at 5.
He claims the July 9 letter triggered the Army's
obligation to inform him of his rights and responsibilities
to pursue his claim and its failure to do so is the reason
Chandra took no further steps regarding his claim.
Id. at 4-5; Doc. 74, Reply, 2.
July 9, 2012 letter Chandra sent to the Director of the Army
Research Laboratory is not new evidence. The Court considered
the letter in its order granting the Army's second motion
to dismiss, Doc. 66, Mem. Op. & Order 10-11, and did not
make a “manifest error of law or fact” when doing
so. Schiller, 342 F.3d at 567. The EEOC regulations
for federal sector employment require “[a]n aggrieved
person [to] initiate contact with a Counselor within 45 days
of the date of the matter alleged to be
discriminatory.” 29 C.F.R. § 1614.105(a)(1).
Chandra is correct that the forty-five-day time limit is
extended if the “individual shows that he or she was
not notified of the time limits and was not otherwise aware
of them, ” id. (a)(2), but the tolling
provision is inapplicable to Chandra's case because he
never initiated contact with a Counselor. Chandra admits he
never contacted an EEO Counselor, see Doc. 74,
Reply, 2 (“Chandra began his pre-complaint process not
with an EEO Counselor or EEO Director”), but argues
that he exceeded the regulation's requirement by
initiating contact with “the Director of the entire
agency to whom the EEO Director reports, ” id.
But the regulation states that the complainant must initiate
contact with a Counselor, 29 C.F.R. § 1614.105(a)(1),
and the Court will follow the regulation's plain meaning,
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