The opinion of the court was delivered by: Lamberth, District Judge.
This matter comes before the Court on Plaintiff McDonnell Douglas
Aerospace Corporation's ("MDA") Rule 59(e) Motion to Alter or Amend
Judgment. For the following reasons, Plaintiff's motion is denied.
On June 9, 2000, this Court dismissed as moot this reverse-Freedom of
Information Act ("FOIA") litigation. Although neither party had argued
that the case was moot, and MDA requested an opportunity to address the
mootness issue if the Court intended to consider it, the Court determined
that Circuit caselaw is clear — withdrawal of a FOIA request that
is the underlying basis for a reverse-FOIA suit renders the suit moot.
Gulf Oil Corp. v. Brock, 778 F.2d 834, 838-40, 843 (D.C.Cir. 1985).
A trial court has broad discretion to grant or deny a motion for
reconsideration. See Plaut v. Spendthrift Farm, Inc., 514 U.S. 211,
233-34, 115 S.Ct. 1447, 131 L.Ed.2d 328 (1995); Liljeberg v. Health
Services Acquisition Corp., 486 U.S. 847, 864, 108 S.Ct. 2194, 100
L.Ed.2d 855 (1988); Firestone v. Firestone, 76 F.3d 1205, 1208 (D.C.Cir.
1996). The trial court may invoke its discretion and deny a motion to
reconsider unless it finds 1) an intervening change in controlling law,
2) the availability of new evidence, or 3) the need to correct clear
error or manifest injustice. McDonnell Douglas Corp. v. NASA, No. 96-2611
(D.D.C. May 1, 1998), Mem.Op. at 1 (citing Riggs Inv. Management Corp.
v. Columbia Inv. Partners, 975 F. Supp. 14, 15 (D.D.C. 1997) (citing
Firestone, 76 F.3d at 1206; EEOC v. Lockheed Martin Corp., 116 F.3d 110,
112 (4th Cir. 1997))). As discussed below, Plaintiff has failed to
demonstrate the existence of any of these three criteria. Further,
Plaintiff is seeking a broad advisory opinion from this Court, in
contravention to Article III of the Constitution.
A. Intervening Change in Controlling Law
Plaintiff has not established that there has been an intervening change
in controlling law. The Court is unaware of any new law that has arisen
since this Court's June 9, 2000 decision that would warrant a different
result in this case. In addition, Plaintiff incorrectly asserts that the
controlling law has changed since this Circuit issued Gulf Oil, the case
this Court relied on when deeming the instant case moot.
Plaintiff argues that two Supreme Court decisions issued this year, and
one D.C. Circuit decision issued three years ago, render this Court's
reliance on Gulf Oil, a fifteen year-old case, incorrect. The Court will
briefly discuss these three cases and explain why they do not control the
First Plaintiff cites recent Supreme Court language stating that
Second, Plaintiff MDA cites another Supreme Court case involving the
voluntary cessation doctrine. There, the plaintiff had argued that the
case was moot because it had closed its business, a nude dancing club.
City of Erie v. Pap's A.M., 529 U.S. 277, 120 S.Ct. 1382, 1390, 146
L.Ed.2d 265 (2000). The Court rejected this argument because the club was
still incorporated under the state's law and could therefore again decide
to operate a nude dancing club in the same area. Id. The Court also noted
its "interest in preventing litigants from attempting to manipulate the
Court's jurisdiction . . . ." Id.
Third, Plaintiff points out that this Circuit has held that the EPA's
issuance of written guidance reversing its position was insufficient to
moot a case because the guidance could be "ignored by local EPA
officials" or withdrawn. American ...