United States District Court for the District of Columbia
June 6, 2005.
JESSE CLAY, Plaintiff,
DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA and ANGEL CARTAGENA, Defendants.
The opinion of the court was delivered by: SUZANNE CONLON, District Judge
Jesse Clay sued the District of Columbia and Angel Cartagena,
Chairman of the District of Columbia's Public Services
Commission, for wrongful discharge, promissory estoppel, breach
of good faith and fair dealing, negligent representation and
violation of his constitutional rights. On March 18, 2005, the
court granted defendants' summary judgment motion on all counts.
Clay moves for reconsideration on his wrongful discharge claim.
Clay's motion was filed within 10 days of entry of the court's
summary judgment opinion. Typically, a motion for reconsideration
is treated as a Rule 59(e) motion if filed within 10 days of
entry of the challenged order. See Lightfoot v. District of
Columbia, 355 F. Supp. 2d 414, 420-21 (D.D.C. 2005). Clay
fashions his motion as one for reconsideration under Rule
60(b)(6). The standards governing a motion for reconsideration
under Rule 60(b) are more restrictive than those governing Rule
59(c), and courts only reconsider under Rule 60(b)(6) in
exceptional circumstances. See Lightfoot,
355 F. Supp. 2d at 420; Moore v. Hartman, 332 F. Supp. 2d 252, 256 (D.D.C. 2004).
Even applying the more lenient standards of Rule 59(e), Clay's
motion must be denied. Motions to reconsider "need not be granted unless the district
court finds that there is an intervening change of controlling
law, the availability of new evidence, or the need to correct
clear error or manifest injustice." Lightfoot,
355 F. Supp. 2d at 420, quoting Anyanwutaku v. Moore, 151 F.3d 1053, 1057 (D.C.
Cir. 1998). A motion to reconsider is not an opportunity to
reargue facts and theories upon which the court has already
ruled, or a vehicle for presenting theories or arguments that
could have been advanced earlier. See id., see also Cooper v.
Dep't of Justice, No. 99-2513, 2005 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 4898, *6
(D.D.C. Mar. 22, 2005). The motion will not be granted if the
"court suspects the losing party is using the motion as an
instrumentality for arguing the same theory or asserting new
arguments that could have been raised prior to final judgment."
Lightfoot, 355 F. Supp. 2d at 421.
Clay does not argue an intervening change of controlling law or
the availability of new evidence. Rather, he argues the court
incorrectly concluded he failed to state a viable wrongful
discharge claim under the public policy exception to the at-will
doctrine, and that the court erred in assessing relevant
decisions to arrive at its conclusion. Clay's arguments are
rejected. A motion to reconsider is not an opportunity to reargue
theories upon which the court has already ruled. Clay rehashes
arguments regarding Adams v. George W. Cochran & Co.,
597 A.2d 28, 30 (D.C. 1991) and its progeny cases that were fully
briefed by all parties and analyzed at length by the court. See
Mar. 18, 2005 Order at 4-9. His arguments regarding the relevant
cases were either previously raised or could have been raised in
his response brief.
Further, several of Clay's arguments are irrelevant. For
example, Clay argues he was terminated for "consistently
objecting" to violating a municipal regulation. Yet he ignores
the fact that he ultimately undocketed the letter at issue the
act he contends violated law and that he was not directly ordered to violate the law. See Mar. 18, 2005
Order at 8; see also Mandsager v. Jaquith, 706 A.2d 39, 42
(D.C. 1998) ("before an employee may obtain relief . . . it must
be shown that there was an `outright refusal to violate a
specific law, with the employer putting the employee to the
choice of breaking the law or losing [his] job.'"), quoting
Thigpen v. Greepeace, 657 A.2d 770, 771 (D.C. 1995). Further,
Clay reargues that the reason given for his termination was
pretextual. However, the court viewed the facts in Clay's favor
and held that he failed to state a claim even "assuming he was
terminated for the docketing issue." See Mar. 18, 2005 Order at
Finally, Clay argues that his Rule 56(f) affidavit justified
additional time to conduct discovery. The court has already ruled
on this issue. As before, Clay fails to establish additional
discovery would create an issue of fact, given that summary
judgment was based almost exclusively on Clay's deposition
testimony. Clay fails to present a need to correct clear error or
For the foregoing reasons, the motion for reconsideration is
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