United States District Court, M.D. Florida, Fort Myers Division
OPINION AND ORDER
E. STEELE SR. UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
matter comes before the Court on defendant's Motion for
Reconsideration or Clarification of May 29, 2019 Opinion and
Order Denying Summary Judgment (Doc. #102) filed on June 26,
2019. Plaintiff filed a Response in Opposition (Doc. #108) on
July 18, 2019. For the reasons set forth below, the Motion is
decision to grant a motion for reconsideration is within the
sound discretion of the trial court and may be granted to
correct an abuse of discretion. Region 8 Forest Serv.
Timber Purchasers Council v. Alcock, 993 F.2d 800, 806
(11th Cir. 1993). “The courts have delineated three
major grounds justifying reconsideration of such a decision:
(1) an intervening change in controlling law; (2) the
availability of new evidence; (3) the need to correct clear
error or prevent manifest injustice.” Sussman v.
Salem, Saxon & Nielsen, P.A., 153 F.R.D. 689, 694
(M.D. Fla. 1994). Here, defendant argues that the third
ground warrants reconsideration - the need to correct clear
error or prevent manifest injustice.
motion for reconsideration should raise new issues, not
merely readdress issues litigated previously.”
PaineWebber Income Props. Three Ltd. P'ship v. Mobil
Oil Corp., 902 F.Supp. 1514, 1521 (M.D. Fla. 1995). The
motion must set forth facts or law of a strongly convincing
nature to demonstrate to the court the reason to reverse its
prior decision. Taylor Woodrow Const. Corp. v.
Sarasota/Manatee Airport Auth., 814 F.Supp. 1072, 1073
(M.D. Fla. 1993); PaineWebber, 902 F.Supp. at 1521.
“When issues have been carefully considered and
decisions rendered, the only reason which should commend
reconsideration of that decision is a change in the factual
or legal underpinning upon which the decision was based.
Taylor Woodrow, 814 F.Supp. at 1072-73.
motion for reconsideration does not provide an opportunity to
simply reargue - or argue for the first time - an issue the
Court has already determined. Court opinions “are not
intended as mere first drafts, subject to revision and
reconsideration at a litigant's pleasure.”
Quaker Alloy Casting Co. v. Gulfco Indus., Inc., 123
F.R.D. 282, 288 (N.D. Ill. 1988). “The burden is upon
the movant to establish the extraordinary circumstances
supporting reconsideration.” Mannings v. School Bd.
of Hillsborough County, Fla., 149 F.R.D. 235, 235 (M.D.
Fla. 1993). Unless the movant's arguments fall into the
limited categories outlined above, a motion to reconsider
must be denied.
employment case, the Court entered an Opinion and Order on
May 29, 2019, granting defendant's Motion for Summary
Judgment as to Counts II and IV (age discrimination claims)
and denying the Motion as to Counts I and III (retaliation
claims) (Doc. #96). The unlawful retaliation claim is based
on allegations that defendant terminated plaintiff for
reporting sexual harassment. Absent direct evidence of an
employer's intent, to establish a prima facie case of
retaliation, a plaintiff must show: (1) she engaged in
statutorily protected activity; (2) she suffered a materially
adverse action; and (3) there is some causal relationship
between the two events. Goldsmith v. Bagby Elevator
Co., 513 F.3d 1261, 1277 (11th Cir. 2008). The causation
prong was at issue in the summary judgment motion and the
Court found that “when viewing all the evidence and
drawing all reasonable inferences in favor of plaintiff, the
final decision to terminate Curley appears to have been made
by Stewart Title after it became aware of Curley's
complaints and the Court cannot say that the protected
activity and her termination were wholly unrelated.”
(Doc. #96, p. 19.)
contends that the Court committed clear error and manifest
injustice warrants reconsideration of the Court's Opinion
as to Counts I and III on two grounds. First, because the
facts clearly demonstrate that plaintiff's termination
was in motion prior to the alleged protected activity,
precedent demands a finding of no causation. Second, because
plaintiff did not argue that causation existed in her
opposition and instead argued that the reason for her
termination was pretextual, it was clear error to deny
summary judgment based on causation.
argues that reconsideration is warranted because plaintiff
did not rebut defendant's argument that there is no
causal connection between plaintiff's alleged protected
activity and termination because Stewart Title indisputably
made the decision to terminate her before she engaged in
protected activity. (Doc. #102, pp. 3-4.) However, drawing
all reasonable inferences in plaintiff's favor as to the
timeline in this case, the Court disagrees. As the Court
stated in its Opinion and Order, when viewing all the
evidence and drawing all reasonable inferences in favor of
plaintiff, the final decision to terminate Curley appears to
have been made by Stewart Title after it became aware of
Curley's complaints and the Court cannot say that the
protected activity and her termination were wholly unrelated.
(Doc. #96, p. 19.) As stated, a jury question exists
defendant asks the Court “to clarify how [the
Court's] ruling is harmonized with the established
precedent finding that there is no causation when the
Plaintiff's termination was in motion prior to the
alleged protected activity.” (Doc. #102, p. 2.)
However, no clarification is needed as the facts of this case
drawing all reasonable inferences in Curley's favor
comports with precedent.
Plaintiff's Failure to Address Causation in Her
Defendant further argues that reconsideration is warranted
because the Court considered whether plaintiff had
established causation as part of a prima facie case of
retaliation although plaintiff did not assert such an
argument in opposition. Rather, defendant states that