United States District Court, M.D. Florida, Tampa Division
JAMZ'S S. MOODY. JR., Judge
CAUSE comes before the Court upon Plaintiff's Motion to
Amend or Alter the Judgment or for a New Trial, and/or
Alternatively, for Relief from the Judgment (Doc. 106) and
Defendants' Response in Opposition (Doc. 111). Upon
review, the Court concludes that Plaintiff's motion
should be denied.
worked as a paralegal at S. David Anton, PA from February
2013 to November 2013. She filed this action in February
2015, alleging that Defendants failed to pay her overtime as
required by the Fair Labor Standards Act. The Court held a
four-day bench trial in this action in February and March of
2017. Afterward, the Court entered a judgment in favor of
Defendants (Docs. 98 & 100) because Plaintiff did not
prove that she worked in excess of forty hours in any
workweek that she was employed. Plaintiff now asks the Court
to amend that judgment, grant her a new trial, or otherwise
provide her with relief from the judgment.
to Rule 59, a court may grant a new trial or amend a judgment
entered after trial. Fed.R.Civ.P. 59. The court may grant a
new trial “for any reason for which a rehearing has
heretofore been granted in a suit in equity in federal
court.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 59(a)(2). Some of these reasons
include verdicts that are against the weight of the evidence,
evidentiary flaws, and the prevention of injustice.
Montgomery Ward & Co. v. Duncan, 311 U.S. 243,
251 (1940). Alternatively, the court may amend the judgment
based on “newly-discovered evidence or manifest errors
of law or fact.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 59(e); Jacobs v.
Tempur-Pedic Int'l, Inc., 626 F.3d 1327, 1344 (11th
Cir. 2010) (internal citation omitted). Ultimately, the court
has discretion in determining whether to grant a new trial or
amend a judgment. See, e.g., Montgomery v. Noga, 168
F.3d 1282, 1295 (11th Cir. 1999).
argues that the Court should grant her a new trial or amend
its judgment based on (1) the unavailability of an
impeachment witness, (2) newly discovered evidence, and (3) a
manifest error of fact and/or law. The Court will address
each of these arguments in turn.
Unavailability of a witness
seeks a new trial because she hopes to call Yvette Rodriguez,
Plaintiff's predecessor in the paralegal position, as an
impeachment witness. Ms. Rodriguez would rebut Defendant
Anton's testimony that Ms. Rodriguez did not work
overtime during her employment with him. Plaintiff was unable
to call Ms. Rodriguez as a witness at trial because she was
unexpectedly hospitalized. Plaintiff did not list Ms.
Rodriguez as a possible witness in her pretrial statement,
notify the Court that she wanted Ms. Rodriguez to testify, or
seek a continuance due to Ms. Rodriguez's unavailability.
Plaintiff argues that not allowing her to present testimony
to challenge Defendant Anton's veracity would be a
miscarriage of justice.
of all, impeachment evidence is not sufficient to warrant a
new trial. Southard v. Russell, 57 U.S. 547, 561
(1853); Davis v. Yellow Cab Co. of St. Petersburg,
220 F.2d 790, 792 (5th Cir. 1955); see also Toole v.
Baxter Healthcare Corp., 235 F.3d 1307, 1316 (11th Cir.
2000) (enunciating rule in context of motion for new trial
under Rule 60(b)). Second, there is no miscarriage of justice
when Plaintiff's inability to present Ms. Rodriguez's
testimony was due to Plaintiff's strategic choices.
Plaintiff was not surprised by Defendant Anton's
testimony about Ms. Rodriguez's employment-Defendant
Anton gave the same testimony in his deposition, and
Plaintiff acknowledges that she coordinated to have Ms.
Rodriguez testify as an impeachment witness “in
preparation for trial.” If Plaintiff wanted to ensure
that the Court benefitted from Ms. Rodriguez's testimony,
she should have taken Ms. Rodriguez's deposition and
entered it into evidence. Plaintiff's failure to do so does
not require the Court to allow the untimely introduction of
Newly discovered evidence
seeks a new trial or an amended judgment due to a newly
discovered email that indicates that there may have been a
spoliation of evidence. Plaintiff states that an anonymous
person mailed her a printout of this email a few days after
the Court entered the judgment in this case. The email is
dated April 9, approximately two weeks after Defendants filed
their answer to Plaintiff's complaint. In the email,
Defendant Anton noted that he had deleted thousands of emails
from his deleted items folder on Outlook and asked his IT
support person, Shane Ragland, to delete all emails from 2014
and earlier that were in the deleted items folder on the
argues that if Defendants had properly produced this email
during discovery, she could have “further
investigate[d] the issue, take[n] a different approach to the
case and/or trial, and address[ed] it with the Court.”
Plaintiff does not satisfactorily describe how she would have
approached the trial differently. Plaintiff likely would have
used the email to impeach Defendant Anton, but impeachment
evidence is not grounds for a new trial. Davis, 220
F.2d at 792. Plaintiff may also have argued that there had
been a ...