United States District Court, E.D. Texas, Sherman Division
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER
L. MAZZANT, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
before the Court are Plaintiff's first Amended Rule 59(e)
Motion to Alter or Amend Judgment (Dkt. #99) and
Defendant's Motion to Alter or Amend the Judgment (Dkt.
#97). The Court, having reviewed the competing motions,
relevant evidence, and pertinent caselaw, finds that the
Court's Findings of Fact and Conclusion of Law (Dkt. #90)
should be amended as to apply the facts of this case to the
applicable law without construing the FLSA narrowly. In doing
so, the Court finds that the result of the final judgment is
case involves the interpretation of a provision of the Fair
Labor Standards Act (“FLSA”), 29 U.S.C. §
201 et seq., as applied to Plaintiff Sidney Beck.
Plaintiff was employed by Defendant Access eForms, LP, as a
Project Specialist. On December 29, 2016, Plaintiff initiated
this action against Defendant for alleged violations of the
FLSA mandates that “no employer shall employ any of his
employees . . . for a workweek longer than forty hours unless
such employee receives compensation for his employment in
excess of the hours above specified at a rate not less than
one and one-half times the regular rate at which he is
employed.” 29 U.S.C. § 207(a)(1); see Harvill
v. Westward Communications, LLC, 433 F.3d 428, 441
(2005). When enacted, the FLSA contained a number of
exemptions to the overtime requirement. Defendant contends
that Plaintiff was a computer professional employee, exempt
from the FLSA pursuant to 29 U.S.C. § 213(a)(17).
March 12, 2018, this action came before the Court for a
two-day bench trial that concluded on March 13, 2018.
Plaintiff and Defendant appeared with counsel. The Court took
testimony from the Plaintiff and other witnesses, received
documents into evidence, and heard argument from the
parties' counsel. The Court heard evidence and, upon
reviewing the record, made its finds of fact and conclusions
of law (Dkt. #90). The Court rendered final judgment in
Plaintiff's favor and awarded Plaintiff damages in the
amount of $24, 914.00.
September 4, 2018, Defendant filed its Motion to Alter or
Amend the Judgment (Dkt. #99) and Amended Rule 59(e) Motion
to Alter or Amend Judgment (Dkt. #99). On September 18, 2018,
Plaintiff filed her response (Dkt. #103) and Defendant filed
its response (Dkt. #104).
motion seeking reconsideration may be construed under Federal
Rule of Civil Procedure 54(b), 59(e), or 60(b) depending on
the circumstances. “The Fifth Circuit recently
explained that ‘Rule 59(e) governs motions to alter or
amend a final judgment,' while ‘Rule 54(b) allows
parties to seek reconsideration of interlocutory orders and
authorizes the district court to revise at any time any order
or other decision that does not end the action.'”
Dolores Lozano v. Baylor Univ., No. 6:16-CV-403-RP,
2018 WL 3552351, at *1 (W.D. Tex. July 24, 2018) (quoting
Austin v. Kroger Tex., L.P., 864 F.3d 326, 336 (5th
Cir. 2017)). Further, “‘[i]nterlocutory
orders,' such as grants of partial summary judgment,
‘are not within the provisions of 60(b), but are left
within the plenary power of the court that rendered them to
afford such relief from them as justice requires [pursuant to
Rule 54(b)].” McKay v. Novartis Pharm. Corp.,
751 F.3d 694, 701 (5th Cir. 2014) (quoting Zimzores v.
Veterans Admin., 778 F.2d 264, 266 (5th Cir. 1985))
(citing Bon Air Hotel, Inc. v. Time, Inc., 426 F.2d
585, 862 (5th Cir. 1970)).
motion seeking reconsideration of a final judgment that is
filed within 28 days of the judgment is considered under Rule
59(e). See Shepherd v. Int'l Paper Co., 372 F.3d
326, 328 n.1 (5th Cir. 2004); Milazzo v. Young, No.
6:11-CV-350-JKG, 2012 WL 1867099, at *1 (E.D. Tex. May 21,
2012). Such a 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)). Here, the parties filed their motions
to alter the judgment within 28 days and accordingly the
Court analyzes the motion under Rule 59(e).
59(e) 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.”
Templet, 367 F.3d at 479 (citing Simon v. United
States, 891 F.2d 1154, 1159 (5th Cir. 1990)).
“Rule 59(e) ‘serve[s] the narrow purpose of
allowing a party to correct manifest errors of law or fact or
to present newly discovered evidence.'”
Id. (quoting Waltman v. Int'l Paper
Co., 875 F.2d 468, 473 (5th Cir. 1989)). “Relief
under Rule 59(e) is also appropriate when there has been an
intervening change in the controlling law.”
Milazzo, 2012 WL 1867099, at *1 (citing Schiller
v. Physicians Res. Grp., 342 F.3d 563, 567 (5th Cir.
2003)). “Altering, amending, or reconsidering a
judgment is an extraordinary remedy that courts should use
sparingly.” Id. (citing Templet, 367
F.3d at 479).
contends that final judgment in this matter should be vacated
because the Court erred in (1) narrowly construing FLSA; (2)
relying on the FLSA exemption in § 213(a)(1) instead of
the exemption set out in § 213(a)(17); and (3) finding
that Plaintiff carried her burden of proof on damages.
agrees that the Court erred in narrowly construing the FLSA
but argues that the Court reached the correct result. That
is, Plaintiff asserts that the even if the Court engaged in a
general application of the FLSA, instead of narrowly
construing the statute, the Court would still find that
Defendant failed to carry its burden of proving that
Plaintiff was exempt as a computer professional. Plaintiff
further contends that Defendant's ...