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Lance v. United Mine Workers of America 1974 Pension Trust

October 26, 2005

JUDY L. LANCE, PLAINTIFF,
v.
UNITED MINE WORKERS OF AMERICA 1974 PENSION TRUST, ET AL., DEFENDANTS.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Royce C. Lamberth, United States District Judge

MEMORANDUM OPINION

This matter comes before the Court on plaintiff's motion [9] for reconsideration of the Court's January 21, 2005 order that granted defendants' partial motion to dismiss. Plaintiff asks the Court to reconsider the part of the decision that held that individual defendants cannot be liable under the District of Columbia Human Rights Act (DCHRA). Upon consideration of the plaintiff's motion, the opposition thereto, the reply brief, the applicable law, and the record in this case, the Court will grant the plaintiff's motion for reconsideration.

BACKGROUND

A. Factual Background

The factual background of this case is laid out in detail in the Court's Memorandum Opinion [7] issued January 21, 2005. The Court need not repeat it here. To place the motion for reconsideration in appropriate context, however, a brief review of the case is in order.

Plaintifffiled this action against defendants on March 26, 2004 in the SuperiorCourt of the District of Columbia. Plaintiff, an employee of defendants, seeks damages for alleged acts of: sex discrimination, retaliation, breach of contract, breach of implied covenant of good faith and fair dealing, infliction of emotional distress, and fraud. All of plaintiff's claims are linked to her general accusation that she deserved a promotion to a higher position, but was denied said promotion because of her sex. On May 6, 2004, defendants removed this action to this Court on the basis of diversity jurisdiction.

Defendants subsequently moved to dismiss many of plaintiff's claims. Specifically, defendants moved to dismiss: (1) plaintiff's breach of contract action on the argument that there was no contract because the plaintiff was employed at-will; (2) plaintiff's action for the breach of the implied covenant of good faith and fair dealing, also because plaintiff was employed at-will; (3) plaintiff's action for infliction of emotional distress, arguing that (a) plaintiff suffered no direct physical injury, (b) plaintiff was not present in the zone of physical danger, and (c) plaintiff did not allege the requisite extreme or outrageous conduct; (4) plaintiff's action for fraud, deceit, and misrepresentation because plaintiff failed to allege the cause of action with the requisite particularity and because the alleged misrepresentations concerned future events, and (5) plaintiff's claims of sex discrimination and retaliation as against individual defendants, Holland, Hudson, Hyler, Schaab, Brennan, Slavin and Stover.

B. Prior Decision

The Court granted defendants' partial motion to dismiss, concluding that individual defendants could not be held liable under the DCHRA. See Lance v. United Mine Workers of America 1974 Pension Trust, et al., 335 F. Supp. 2d 358, 365 (D.D.C. 2005). However, the Court's decision was grounded on an incomplete review of the applicable law. In the Court's January 21, 2005 Memorandum Opinion, this Court relied on MacIntosh v. Building Owners & Managers Ass'n Int'l, 310 F. Supp. 2d 240, 244 (D.D.C. 2004) ("MacIntosh I"). The parties' initial pleadings on this motion did not bring to the Court's attention the amended decision in MacIntosh v. Building Owners & Managers Association International, et al., 355 F. Supp. 2d 223 (D.D.C. 2005) ("MacIntosh II"), which concluded that supervisors may be held individually liable under the DCHRA, D.C. Code §§ 2-1401.01, et seq. Having reviewed plaintiff's motion for reconsideration, Metropolitan Washington Employment Lawyers Association's brief filed as amicus curaie, and Judge Sullivan's amended opinion in MacIntosh II, the Court grants plaintiff's motion for reconsideration.

ANALYSIS

A. Legal Standard

Plaintiff filed a motion for reconsideration on January 30, 2005. The Federal Rules of Civil Procedure have no rule specifically addressing requests that a Court reconsider a decision previously entered. Piper v. DOJ, 312 F. Supp. 2d 17, 20 (D.D.C. 2004) (citing Rann v. Chao, 209 F. Supp. 2d 75, 77 (D.D.C. 2002) ("[T]he Federal Rules of Civil Procedure do not contain anything known as a 'Motion for Reconsideration[.]'"). The D.C. Circuit has observed that motions to reconsider are routinely construed as motions to clarify or alter or amend judgment under Rule 59(e). See Piper, 312 F. Supp. 2d at 20 (citing Emory v. Sec'y of the Navy, 819 F.2d 291, 293 (D.C. Cir. 1987)). The Court will therefore treat plaintiff's motion for reconsideration as a request to alter a previous judgment cognizable under Rule 59(e).

A district court has considerable discretion in ruling on a Rule 59(e) motion. Piper, 312 F. Supp. 2d at 20 (citing Rann, 209 F.Supp. 2d at 78). The Court properly invokes its discretion to grant a Rule 59(e) motion if it finds there is: (1) an intervening change in controlling law; (2) the availability of new evidence; or (3) the need to correct clear error or prevent manifest injustice. ...


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