Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

Zeng v. Texas Tech University Health Science Center At El Paso

United States District Court, W.D. Texas, El Paso Division

September 12, 2019

WEI-PING ZENG, Plaintiff,
v.
TEXAS TECH UNIVERSITY HEALTH SCIENCES CENTER AT EL PASO, ET AL., Defendants.

          MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER REGARDING PLAINTIFF'S MOTIONS TO AMEND THE COURT'S ORDER (ECF NOS. 58 & 61) AND PARTIAL AMENDED ORDER REGARDING PLAINTIFF'S MOTION TO COMPEL PRODUCTION (ECF NO. 39)

          MIGUEL A. TORRES, UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE

         Pending before the Court are "Plaintiffs Motion to Amend the Court's Order Regarding Plaintiffs Motion to Compel Production of Documents Requested in the Plaintiffs 1st Set of Requests for [Production] of Documents" (hereinafter, "Motion to Amend the Court's Order" or "original motion"), (ECF No. 58), and a duplicate motion of the same title, filed by Plaintiff on the belief that he had filed the original motion under the wrong classification in the electronic case filing system. (ECF No. 61).[1] In these motions, Plaintiff requests that the Court reconsider its ruling denying as moot Plaintiffs motion to compel Defendants to produce documents in response to Request for Production Number 1 ("RFP 1"). (ECF Nos. 58 & 61). Defendants filed a response in opposition to the original motion. (ECF No. 62). For the reasons set forth below, the Court GRANTS Plaintiffs "Motion to Amend the Court's Order," (ECF No. 58), limited to RFP 1, and AMENDS its ruling as to RFP 1, DENYING IN PART and GRANTING IN PART Plaintiffs motion to compel production. The Court DENIES AS MOOT Plaintiffs duplicate motion (ECF No. 61).

         I. BACKGROUND

         In this employment discrimination suit, Plaintiff claims, inter alia, that he was wrongfully terminated from his employment at Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center at El Paso ("TTUHSCEP"). (ECF No. 60, at 22-25). The history and evolving nature of this discovery dispute is detailed in this Court's order, dated August 23, 2019, wherein the Court granted in part and denied in part "Plaintiffs Motion to Compel Production of Documents Requested in the Plaintiffs 1st Set of Requests for Production of Documents and to Postpone Deadline to Join Additional Parties" (the "motion to compel production"). See (ECF No. 57, at \-$). To summarize, noting that the parties appeared to be attempting to resolve the discovery disputes by amending the requests and providing supplemental responses while simultaneously briefing the Court as to their positions on the disputes, the Court ordered the parties to confer on the discovery disputes in an attempt to resolve them without court order and to then update the Court as to any disputes that remain and their respective positions on the matter. (ECF No. 53). The parties did so, each filing separately their positions as to each request for production (the "supplemental briefings"). (ECF Nos. 55 & 56). Thereafter, the Court ruled on the motion, in relevant part, denying RFP 1 as moot on the basis that the parties appeared to have resolved their dispute. (ECF No. 57, at 4-5, 10).

         On August 24, 2019, Plaintiff filed the Motion to Amend the Court's Order, in which he claims that a comparison of the parties' respective positions on RFP 1, as presented in the supplemental briefings, demonstrates important discrepancies in the scope of the request that warrants the Court's reconsideration of its ruling based on the appearance that the parties had resolved the dispute. (ECF No. 58). On August 30, 2019, Plaintiff filed the duplicate motion. (ECF No. 61).

         II. LAW & ANALYSIS

         Although the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure do not provide a mechanism for pursuing a motion for reconsideration of a nondispositive pretrial order, Rule 54(b) provides the Court the authority to revise an order that adjudicates fewer than all the claims or the rights and liabilities of fewer than all the parties prior to final judgment. Courts within the Fifth Circuit have considered such motions, applying the standard under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 59(e), which applies to final judgments. See Johnson v. Home Depot Prod. Autk, LLC, EP-17-00067-FM, 2017 WL 8751923, at *1 (W.D. Tex. Dec. 7, 2017) (citing Krim v. pcOrder.com, Inc., 212 F.R.D. 329, 331 (W.D. Tex. 2002) (collecting cases)); Magee v. BHP Billiton Petroleum Props. (N.A.), L.P., No. 15-2097, 2018 WL 6566548, at *1 (W.D. La. Jan. 9, 2018) (collecting cases).

         Under the standard for a Rule 59(e) motion to alter or amend a judgment, the motion "must clearly establish either a manifest error of law or fact or must present newly discovered evidence and cannot raise issues that could, and should, have been made before the judgment issued." United Nat'l Ins. Co. v. Mundell Terminal Sews., Inc., 740 F.3d 1022, 1031 (5th Cir. 2014) (quoting Advocare Int'l LP v. Horizon Labs., Inc., 524 F.3d 679, 691 (5th Cir. 2008) (internal quotation marks omitted). Black's Law Dictionary defines "manifest error" as "[a]n error that is plain and indisputable, and that amounts to a complete disregard of the controlling law or the credible evidence in the record." Manifest Error, Black's Law Dictionary (11th ed. 2019).

         Plaintiff essentially argues that the Court erred in finding the parties were no longer in dispute as to RFP 1 and thereby denying as moot the motion to compel production as to RFP 1. (ECF No. 58). Accordingly, his request for reconsideration is made on the basis of the existence of a manifest error of fact-that the parties were no longer in dispute over RFP 1.

         As previously noted, the Court ordered the parties to confer and file supplemental briefing on the discovery disputes because of the evolving nature of the requests and supplemental responses throughout the briefing of Plaintiffs motion to compel production. (ECF No. 53). Specifically, the Court ordered that:

the parties shall confer on the discovery disputes at issue in [Plaintiffs motion to compel production] ... to attempt to resolve these issues without Court order. . . . [T]hereafter, Plaintiff shall file a supplemental briefing, updating the Court as to what, if anything, remains in dispute and his position on the matter. Defendants shall have seven (7) days thereafter to file their response.

Id. at 6 (emphasis added).

         The discovery matter at issue is RFP 1, whereby Plaintiff requests:

Records of the names, races, national origins of TTUHSCEP employees who violated University policies, descriptions of the violations, warnings, corrective actions including but not limited to termination that such employees received, from the time Dr. Richard ...

Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.