United States District Court, District of Columbia
MEMORANDUM OPINION DENYING PLAINTIFF'S MOTION TO
RUDOLPH CONTRERAS United States District Judge
se Plaintiff Jeremy Pinson has filed multiple Freedom of
Information Act (“FOIA”), 5 U.S.C. § 552,
requests with different departments within of the U.S.
Department of Justice (“DOJ”). On August 10,
2016, this Court granted in part the DOJ's motion for
partial summary judgment on multiple FOIA requests directed
at the Bureau of Prisons (“BOP”). The Court
entered judgment for the DOJ after Pinson failed to respond
to the motion, despite having received a 60-day extension and
a sua sponte order warning her that failure to
respond could result in judgment against her.
argues that she failed to respond because she did not receive
the motion after she was transferred to Allenwood USP, a
federal prison in Pennsylvania. She accordingly moves to
vacate judgment under Rules 59 and 60 of the Federal Rules of
Civil Procedure. The DOJ opposes the motion, arguing that
Pinson was given adequate time to respond and that Pinson has
not explained why she did not notice the missing document for
several months after not receiving it at the new facility.
Although both parties treat this motion as one under Rules 59
and 60, it is actually most appropriately treated as a motion
for reconsideration under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 54.
Because Pinson has not sufficiently established that she is
entitled to relief under Rule 54, the Court denies her motion
Court has already explained the factual background in detail
in its prior Memorandum Opinion. See Pinson, 2016 WL
29245, at *1-5, ECF No. 259 at 3-12. The Court assumes
familiarity with its prior opinion and confines its
discussion to the facts most relevant to the present motion.
filed this case in 2012, claiming that the DOJ had unlawfully
failed to comply with many of her FOIA requests. Compl., ECF
No. 1. In early February 2016, after several motions,
responses, and orders arising from the complaint and after
the DOJ fulfilled many of the requests, the DOJ filed a
second motion for partial summary judgment on the remaining
FOIA requests related to the BOP. See Def's
Second Mot. Summ. J. Respect BOP (Mot. Summ. J.), ECF No.
265. Two days later, this Court ordered Pinson to respond to
the motion for partial summary judgment in accordance with
the Fox/Neal rule, which instructs the
Court to “take pains to advise a pro se party
of the consequences of the failure to respond to a
dispositive motion.” See Fox/Neal
Order at 1, ECF No. 266. The Fox/Neal order
stated that Pinson must respond by March 7, 2016.
Fox/Neal Order at 1. On March 7, 2016,
Pinson filed a motion to extend the deadline by 60 additional
days, Mot. Enlargement Time All Deadlines (“Mot.
Enlgmt. Time”), ECF at 270, which the Court granted,
making the new deadline for Pinson to respond May 18, 2016.
Order Granting Pl's Mot. Enlgmt. Time, ECF No. 272.
“mid-March” 2016, the Bureau of Prisons
transferred Pinson from a facility in Florence, Colorado to
one in Allenwood, Pennsylvania. See Pl's Mot.
Vacate Order (“Pl.'s Mot.”) ¶ 2, ECF No.
316; Notice of Change of Address, ECF No. 273. Pinson
contends that the prison staff packed her documents and
shipped them to the new facility, but that the paperwork
associated with the DOJ's motion for partial summary
judgment was not delivered to her at the new facility.
Pl.'s Mot. ¶ 3.
did not respond to the DOJ's motion for partial summary
judgment by May 18, 2016, and “admits [that] she
overlooked the fact that a dispositive motion was
missing.” Pl.'s Mot. ¶ 4. As a result, nearly
a month after the extended deadline, the Court granted in
part the DOJ's motion for partial summary judgment,
finding that Pinson's failure to respond meant that she
effectively “conceded the DOJ's undisputed
facts.” Mem. Op. Granting in Part Def's 2d Mot.
Partial Summ. J. (“Mem. Granting Summ. J.”), ECF
No. 309. On August 26, 2016, Pinson filed the instant motion
to vacate the August 10 order. Pl's Mot. She claims that
if she had received the BOP's motion after her transfer,
she would have responded to it in time. Pl.'s Mot. ¶
5. The DOJ opposes vacatur of the order, claiming that the
DOJ has been more than generous with Pinson's previous
extension requests, and that she had sufficient time to
respond to the dispositive motion-filed on February 3,
2016-even before moving to the new facility in mid-March.
Defs.' Opp'n Pl.'s Mot. Vacate Order
(“Defs.' Opp'n”), ECF No. 324. The DOJ
also notes that Pinson did not “raise [the] alleged
fact” that she did not receive the documents until late
August, months after the transfer. Def's Opp'n at 3.
motion to vacate, Pinson asks the Court to reconsider its
grant of partial summary judgment under Rules 59 and 60 of
the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure. Pl.'s Mot. at 1.
Pinson does not specify which section of either rule applies
to her motion. Defendant responds to the motion as if it were
brought under the rules she cites. See generally
Defs.' Opp'n. However, neither Rule 59 nor 60 are
applicable to this motion, because Pinson is not seeking
reconsideration of a final judgment. See City of Dover v.
EPA, 40 F.Supp.3d 1, 4 (D.D.C. 2013); Alaska v.
FERC, 980 F.2d 761, 764 (D.C. Cir. 1992)
(“[G]rants of partial summary judgment are generally
considered interlocutory orders . . . .”). Instead, she
asks the Court to reconsider an interlocutory order, which is
governed by Rule 54(b). See Lemmons v. Georgetown Univ.
Hosp., 241 F.R.D. 15, 21 (D.D.C. 2007). Because the
standards are similar and the Court construes pro se
parties' pleadings liberally, the Court construes
Pinson's motion as one for reconsideration under Rule
54(b). As described below, the Court denies Pinson's
petition because it does not state sufficient grounds to
for reconsideration of interlocutory orders are “within
the discretion of the trial court.” See
Lemmons, 241 F.R.D. at 21 (quoting Lewis v. United
States, 290 F.Supp.2d 1, 3 (D.D.C.2003)). The Court may
enter reconsideration “as justice requires.”
Id. (quoting Judicial Watch v. Dep't of
Army, 466 F.Supp.2d 112, 123 (D.D.C. 2006)). Although
this standard is not expressly stated, a trial court has more
discretion in applying Rule 54(b) than it does under Rules
59(e) or 60(b). Cobell v. Norton, 224
F.R.D. 266, 272 (D.D.C. 2004). “Justice may require
revision when the Court has ‘patently misunderstood a
party, has made a decision outside the adversarial issues
presented to the Court by the parties, has made an error not
of reasoning but of apprehension, or where a controlling or
significant change in the law or facts has occurred since the
submission of the issue to the Court.'” Singh
v. George Washington Univ., 383 F.Supp.2d 99, 101
(D.D.C. 2005) (alteration omitted) (quoting Cobell,
224 F.R.D. at 272). Errors of apprehension may include the
consideration of incorrect or incomplete factual information.
certainly not enough for a party to represent that she
“forgot” about a pending motion, and thus
received a judgment against her. See, e.g.,
Oladokun v. Corr. Treatment Facility, 309 F.R.D. 94,
98 (D.D.C. 2015). “Parties have an obligation to
monitor the court's docket and keep apprised of relevant
deadlines.” Halmon v. Jones Lang Wootton USA,
355 F.Supp.2d ...