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Mills v. Billington

United States District Court, District of Columbia

July 6, 2018

CHRISTINE MILLS, RUNAKO BALONDEMU, GERALDINE DUNCAN, PRISCILLA IJEOMAH, LAWRENCE PERRY, WILLIAM ROWLAND, DAVID HUBBARD, CLIFTON KNIGHT, SHARON TAYLOR, and CHARLES MWALIMU, both individually and on behalf of a class of others similarly situated, Plaintiffs,
v.
JAMES H. BILLINGTON, Librarian of Library of Congress, Defendant.

          CLARK LAW GROUP, PLLC Attorneys for Plaintiffs

          OFFICE OF THE UNITED STATES ATTORNEY Attorneys for Defendant

          OF COUNSEL DENISE MARIE CLARK, ESQ. JASON TODD COHEN, AUSA

          MEMORANDUM-DECISION AND ORDER

          FREDERICK J. SCULLIN, JR. SENIOR UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE

         I. INTRODUCTION

         Pending before the Court is Plaintiffs' motion for reconsideration of the Court's March 30, 2016 Order, see Dkt. No. 277, and the March 31, 2016 judgement, see Dkt. No. 278, that the Clerk of the Court entered in compliance with that Order. See Dkt. No. 279. Defendant opposes the motion. See Dkt. No. 280.

         II. DISCUSSION[1]

         A. Standard of review

         A party may move to alter or amend a judgment under either Rule 59(e) or Rule 60(b) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure. See Fed. R. Civ. P. 59(e); Fed.R.Civ.P. 60(b). Under Rule 59(e), a party must file "[a] motion to alter or amend a judgment . . . no later than 28 days after the entry of the judgment." Fed.R.Civ.P. 59(e). Under Rule 60(c), a party must file "[a] motion under Rule 60(b) . . . within a reasonable time - and for reasons (1), (2), and (3) no more than a year after the entry of the judgment . . . ." Fed.R.Civ.P. 60(c).

         Defendant acknowledges that, under either Rule 59 or Rule 60, Plaintiffs filed their motion for reconsideration within the required time frame. The parties' disagreement, however, relates to whether Plaintiffs have met the other requirements that would warrant this Court granting their motion for reconsideration. As the District of Columbia Circuit noted in Dyson v. Dist. of Columbia, 710 F.3d 415 (D.C. Cir. 2013), "'[a] Rule 59(e) motion is discretionary and 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 a clear error or prevent manifest injustice.'" Id. at 420 (quoting Ciralsky v. CIA, 355 F.3d 661, 671 (D.C. Cir. 2004)).

         B. Analysis

         The facts of this case fall somewhere between the circumstances that existed in Norris v. Salazar, 277 F.R.D. 22 (D.D.C. 2011), and Lepkowski v. U.S. Dep't of Treasury, 804 F.2d 1310 (D.C. Cir. 1986), the two cases that Defendant cites in opposition to Plaintiffs' motion. In this case, Plaintiffs' counsel did not file any opposition to Defendant's motion to dismiss until after the Courtroom Deputy Clerk had telephoned him twice to find out whether he intended to do so. Eventually, Plaintiffs' counsel filed a memorandum of law in opposition to Defendant's motion; but, as the Court noted in its March 30, 2016 Order granting Defendant's motion,

[n]ot only was this memorandum untimely but it cited no law, nor provided any record-supported facts, to support Plaintiffs' position that the Court should not grant Defendant's motion. In addition, at oral argument, Plaintiffs' counsel provided no valid excuse for his failure to respond to Defendant's motion within the required time frame.

See Dkt. No. 277 at 2 n.1.

         1. Plaintiffs' motion ...


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