United States District Court, D. Connecticut
RULING ON MOTIONS FOR RECONSIDERATION
A. BOLDEN, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
December 21, 2017, following a jury trial, this Court issued
judgment in favor of Michael Barham (“Plaintiff”)
against Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. and Wal-Mart Stores East, LP
(“Defendants” or collectively
“Walmart”). The parties have filed multiple
requests for reconsideration of various parts of the
judgment. See ECF Nos. 670, 675, 676, 677, 684, and
reasons stated below, Defendants' motion, ECF No. 684,
and Plaintiff's motions, ECF No. 675, 676, 677, 684, and
686 are DENIED in their entirety.
Plaintiff's motion to reconsider, ECF No. 670, is
GRANTED in part and DENIED
FACTUAL AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY
case arises out of employment discrimination claims brought
by Michael Barham, Kim Hannah, and Tom Irving against
Wal-Mart. The Court assumes the parties' familiarity with
the facts and procedural posture of this long-pending case,
and summarizes this history only to the extent necessary to
address these pending motions.
Court dismissed all of Mr. Irving's claims at the summary
judgment stage. See Summ. J. Ruling, ECF No. 255.
Two separate jury trials were then held as to Mr.
Barham's claims and Ms. Hannah's claims. See
Minute Entries, ECF Nos. 427, 552. At the conclusion of the
jury trial as to Mr. Barham's retaliation and
discrimination claims under Title VII, the jury entered a
verdict of $550, 000 in compensatory damages and $5, 000, 000
in punitive damages against Walmart for retaliation in
violation of Title VII. Jury Verdict, ECF No. 430. Following
motions for remittitur, the Court subsequently reduced those
awards to $125, 000 and $175, 000 respectively. See
Memorandum and Ruling, ECF No. 618.
Ms. Hannah's claim, after the presentation of her case,
the Court granted Walmart's motion for judgment as a
matter of law and dismissed Ms. Hannah's claim under Rule
50 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure. Minute Entry, ECF
Barham then moved for attorney's fees and costs, which
the Court granted on December 18, 2017. See Ruling
and Order on Attorney's Fees and Costs (“Fees
Ruling”), ECF No. 666. The Court also awarded Plaintiff
$15, 645.27 in pre-judgment interest. Order on Pre-Judgment
Interest, ECF No. 668. Additionally, the Court issued an
order sanctioning Ms. Peters-Hamlin, Mr. Barham's
counsel, because she had filed a premature appeal.
See Order Regarding Sanctions (“Sanctions
Ruling”), ECF No. 667. The judgment issued on December
21, 2017. See Judgment, ECF No. 669. It stated that:
It is therefore: ORDERED, ADJUDGED, and DECREED that judgment
is entered for the plaintiff Michael Barham, against
defendants, Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. and Wal-Mart Stores East,
L.P. as follows:
Compensatory damages: $125, 000 Punitive damages: $175, 000
Economic damages (back pay): $238, 678 Pre-judgment interest
(on back pay): $15, 645.27 Reinstatement
Id. at 2.
parties have now moved for reconsideration or to alter the
judgment. Mr. Barham has filed multiple motions requesting
reconsideration of the sanctions order. See Pl.
Mots. (“Pl. Fee. Mot.”), ECF Nos. 675, 676, 677;
Pl. Mem. in Support (“Pl. Sanctions Mem.”), ECF
No. 675-1. He also moves for reconsideration of the
Court's ruling on attorney's fees, back pay, and
prejudgment interest, Pl. Mot. for Reconsideration
(“Pl. Back Pay Mot.”), ECF No. 670; Pl. Mem. in
Support (“Pl. Back Pay Mem.”), ECF No. 670-1, and
the award of compensatory damages, Pl. Mot. to Reconsider
(“Pl. Damages Mot.”), ECF No. 686; Pl. Mem. in
Support (“Pl. Damages Mot.”), ECF No. 686-1.
Walmart has moved for reconsideration or clarification of
several aspects of the judgment: the award of back pay, the
sanction order, the order requiring reinstatement, and the
award of attorney's fees and costs. See Def.
Mot., ECF No. 684; Def. Mem. in Support (“Def.
Mem.”), ECF No. 684-1.
STANDARD OF REVIEW
59(e) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure provides that
party may move to “alter or amend a judgment” no
later than 28 days after the entry of the judgment. Rule 60
of the Federal Rules also allows modification of a judgment
in limited circumstances. A court may “correct a
clerical mistake or a mistake arising from oversight or
omission[.]” Fed.R.Civ.P. 60(a). Additionally,
“the court may relieve a party or its legal
representative from a final judgment, order, or
proceeding” for several reasons, including
“mistake, inadvertence, surprise, or excusable neglect,
” newly discovered evidence, or “any other reason
that justifies relief.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 60(b).
standard for granting [a motion for reconsideration] is
strict, and reconsideration will generally be denied unless
the moving party can point to controlling decisions or data
that the court overlooked - matters, in other words, that
might reasonably be expected to alter the conclusion reached
by the court.” Shrader v. CSX Transp., Inc.,
70 F.3d 255, 257 (2d Cir. 1995). “The major grounds
justifying reconsideration are an intervening change of
controlling law, the availability of new evidence, or the
need to correct a clear error or prevent manifest
injustice.” Virgin Atlantic Airways, Ltd. v.
Nat'l Mediation Bd., 956 F.2d 1245, 1255 (2d Cir.
1992) (internal citations omitted). A motion for
reconsideration generally does not allow the moving party to
revisit arguments that have already been presented before the
court. See Shrader, 70 F.3d at 257 (“a motion
for reconsideration should not be granted where the moving
party seeks solely to relitigate an issue already
December 21, 2017, following a jury trial and economic
damages hearing, judgment was entered in this long-running
case. See Judgment, ECF No. 669. The Court ordered
Walmart to pay Mr. Barham $125, 000 in compensatory damages,
$175, 000 in punitive damages, $238, 678 in back pay, and
$15, 675.27 in pre-judgment interest, and to reinstate him to
the position he likely would have held had Walmart not
retaliated against him. Id. The Court also awarded
attorney's fees and costs.
parties now move for reconsideration on several aspects of
the judgment. The majority of both parties' arguments
merely seek to re-litigate issues that were already
vigorously contested throughout this case and on which the
Court had already ruled. While some of these issues may be
appropriate for appeal, “[i]t is well-settled that Rule
59 is not a vehicle for relitigating old issues, presenting
the case under new theories, securing a rehearing on the
merits, or otherwise taking a ‘second bite at the
apple'. . . .” Analytical Surveys, Inc. v.
Tonga Partners, L.P., 684 F.3d 36, 52 (2d Cir. 2012), as
amended (July 13, 2012) (quoting Sequa Corp. v. GBJ
Corp., 156 F.3d 136, 144 (2d Cir. 1998)).
motions therefore are denied, with the exception of one of
Mr. Barham's motions, ECF No. 670, with respect to back
pay and pre-judgment interest. The Court will update the back
pay and pre-judgment interest amounts to include compensation
from October 27, 2017, through the date of judgment.
Barham moves for reconsideration under Rule 60 - or,
“alternatively” Rule 59(e) - of the Federal Rules
of Civil Procedure. See Pl. Mot. to Reconsider and
Am. Judgment (“Pl. Damages Mot.”), ECF No. 686;
Mem. in Support (“Pl. Damages Mem.”), ECF No.
686-1. Mr. Barham claims that three 2010 positions were never
dismissed from the case, and the Court therefore erred
because it calculated damages beginning in February 2011. Pl.
Damages Mem. at 3. Alternatively, he argues that the Court
should have instructed the jury it could make findings
regarding the three 2010 applications for rehire.
Id. at 5. Finally, Mr. Barham argues that if the
three 2010 applications were excluded, he is entitled to a
new trial on these claims. Id.
argue that reconsideration is inappropriate with respect to
the 2010 positions. Def. Opp. to Pl. Mot. to Reconsider
(“Def. Damages Opp.”), ECF No. 689. They note
that the Court limited Mr. Barham's retaliatory failure
to rehire claim to only one position and that Wal-Mart
“was entitled to judgment as a matter of law on
Plaintiff's claims that he was not hired for other
positions because the hiring decisions were not sufficiently
temporally proximate in time to Plaintiffs alleged protected
activity.” Id. at 2. Additionally, Walmart
argues that “Plaintiff's argument that the jury
charge was not limited to the Waterford MAPM position filled
in February 2011 is also categorically false.”
Id. Ultimately, then, Walmart argues that the
“Plaintiff's Motion is nothing more than a
regurgitation of the same failing arguments that he and his
counsel have made on several occasions” and
“blatantly misrepresent the record in an apparent
attempt to mislead this Court.” Id. at 7.
motion for reconsideration allows a party to seek error
correction; it does not permit a party to re-write history.
In partially reconsidering the motion for summary judgment,
the Court concluded that, with respect to Mr. Barham, the
“only remaining” claim was “Barham's
retaliatory failure to rehire claim based on the position
listed at paragraph a on page 6” of Walmart's
memorandum in further support of its motion for
reconsideration, ECF No. 291.
Court then returned to the issue at the charge conference.
See Transcript at 1568, ECF No. 568. At the
conference, the Court noted that language would then be
included that limited the Count III retaliation claim to
“an open MAPM position in Waterford, Connecticut, in
2011, in retaliation for complaining about race
discrimination.” Id. Counsel for Mr. Barham
objected, and the Court responded that “my previous
summary judgment ruling ...