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Ihsan v. Weatherford U.S., L.P.

United States District Court, S.D. Texas, Houston Division

August 20, 2019

HAMID IHSAN, Plaintiff,
v.
WEATHERFORD U.S., L.P., Defendant.

          MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER

          SIM LAKE, SENIOR UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.

         Plaintiff Hamid Ihsan brought this action against defendant Weatherford U.S., L.P. asserting claims for employment discrimination in violation of the Civil Rights Act of 1866, 42 U.S.C. §§ 1981-1988 ("§ 1981''), Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, 42 U.S.C. § 2000e-2, et seq. ("Title VII"), and Texas Commission on Human Rights Act, Texas Labor Code §§ 21.051(1) and 21.055, based on race (South-Asian), color (darker skin color), national origin (Pakistani-born), and religion (Muslim) .[1] By Memorandum Opinion and Order and Final Judgment entered on May 21, 2019 (Docket Entry Nos. 30 and 31), the court granted defendant's motion for summary judgment and dismissed this action with prejudice. Pending before the court is Plaintiff's Motion for Reconsideration (Docket Entry No. 34). For the reasons stated below, Plaintiff's Motion for Reconsideration will be denied.

         I. Background

         This action arises from defendant's termination of plaintiff's employment as a mechanical engineer at defendant's facility in Kingwood, Texas, on September 28, 2015. The factual background is set forth at length in the May 21, 2019, Memorandum Opinion and Order (Docket Entry No. 30). In short, plaintiff alleges that defendant discriminated against him on the basis of race (South-Asian), color (darker skin color), national origin (Pakistani-born), and religion (Muslim) when it terminated his employment.

         Plaintiff filed this action on August 18, 2017 (Docket Entry No. 1). On December 21, 2018, defendant moved for summary judgment on all of plaintiff's claims (Docket Entry No. 21). On May 21, 2019, the court granted defendant's motion for summary judgment, and dismissed this action with prejudice.[2]

         Defendant timely filed its Bill of Costs on June 4, 2019 (Docket Entry No. 32). Plaintiff did not file any objections to the Bill of Costs. On June 20, 2019, costs were taxed to the plaintiff in the amount of $7, 481.23.

         On June 20, 2019, plaintiff filed Plaintiff's Motion for Reconsideration (Docket Entry No. 34) in which plaintiff seeks relief from the final judgment that followed the court's grant of the defendant's motion for summary judgment, and relief from the costs taxed against him.

         II. Standard of Review

         “[T]he Federal Rules of Civil Procedure do not recognize a general motion for reconsideration," St. Paul Mercury Insurance Company v. Fair Grounds Corporation, 123 F.3d 336, 339 (5th Cir. 1997), and plaintiff does not address the standard of review this court should apply with respect to the pending motion for reconsideration. In this circuit motions to reconsider grants of summary judgment are treated as either a motion to alter or amend judgment under Rule 59(e) if filed within 28 days of the judgment at issue, or a motion for relief from judgment or order under Rule 60(b) if filed more than 28 days after the judgment at issue. See Steward v. City of New Orleans, 537 Fed.Appx. 552, 554 (5th Cir. 2013) (per curiam). The court granted the defendant's motion for summary judgment and entered the final judgment from which the plaintiff seeks relief on May 21, 2019, and plaintiff filed his motion for reconsideration on June 20, 2019, thirty days later. Because the pending motion for reconsideration was filed more than twenty-eight days after the judgment from which plaintiff seeks relief, the pending motion for reconsideration is subject to review under Rule 60(b).

         Rule 60(b) provides, in part, that a district court "may relieve a party . . . from a final judgment" for any one of the following six enumerated reasons:

(1) mistake, inadvertence, surprise, or excusable neglect;
(2) newly discovered evidence that, with reasonable diligence, could not have been discovered in time to move for a new trial under Rule 59(b);
(3) fraud (whether previously called intrinsic or extrinsic), misrepresentation, or misconduct by an opposing party;
(4) the judgment is void;
(5) the judgment has been satisfied, released, or discharged; it is based on an earlier judgment that has been reversed or vacated; or applying it prospectively is no longer equitable; or
(6) any other reason that justifies relief.

Fed. R. Civ. P. 60(b). Denial of a Rule 60(b) motion is reviewed for an abuse of discretion. United States ex rel Gage v. Davis S.R. Aviation, L.L.C., 658 Fed.Appx. 194, 197-98 (5th Cir. 2016) (per curiam) (citing Goldstein v. MCI WorldCom, 340 F.3d 238, 257 (5th Cir. 2003)).

         Courts considering such motions are duty-bound to "strike the proper balance between two competing imperatives: (1) finality, and (2) the need to render just decisions on the basis of all the facts." Edward H. Bohlin Co., Inc. v. Banning Co., Inc., 6 F.3d 350, 355 (5th Cir. 1993). When additional evidence not part of the summary judgment record is submitted in support of a motion for reconsideration, courts consider the reasons for the moving party's default, the importance of the omitted evidence to the moving party's case, whether the evidence was available before the party responded to the summary judgment motion, and the likelihood that the nonmoving party will suffer unfair prejudice if the case is reopened. See Lavespere v. Niagara Machine & Tool Works, Inc., 910 F.2d 167, 174 (5th Cir. 1990). "[A]n unexcused failure to present evidence available at the time of summary judgment provides a valid basis for denying a subsequent motion for reconsideration." Templet v. HydroChem Inc., 367 F.3d 473, 479 (5th Cir.), cert. denied sub nom. Irvin v. Hydrochem, Inc., 125 S.Ct. 411 (2004).

         III. Analysis

         Plaintiff's Motion for Reconsideration seeks relief from the judgment that followed the court's grant of the defendant's motion for summary judgment, and relief from defendant's bill of costs.

         A. Plaintiff is Not Entitled to Relief from Judgment.

         Plaintiff has not identified which, if any, of the six enumerated reasons for a Rule 60(b) motion on which he is relying.

Instead, plaintiff argues that there are three reasons why the court should reconsider its decision on the sufficiency of [the] evidence that could be viewed by a reasonable juror during trial to conclude that Plaintiff has set forth a prima facie claim of discrimination and retaliation sufficient to satisfy the McDonnell Douglas Framework, ...

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