The opinion of the court was delivered by: CHARLES RONALD NORGLE, SR.
Before the court are post-trial motions by two groups: a motion for a new trial by a group of defendant/counter-plaintiffs known as the Gardner parties, and a motion to alter or amend the judgment, or alternatively for a new trial, by a group of defendants who have joined together as the Task Force for Black Political Empowerment ("Task Force"). For reasons that follow, the motions are denied.
The Illinois primary election was held on March 17, 1992, six days after this court declared the redistricting plan valid. The instant motions by the Gardner parties and the Task Force, both filed on April 3, 1992, seek a new trial at which the results of the March 17 primary election could be considered by the court. The Gardner motion was brought under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 59. The Task Force motion, however, does not mention Rule 59 or any other rule. Nonetheless, the court will construe the Task Force motion under Rule 59.
"Motions for a new trial or to alter or amend a judgment must clearly establish either a manifest error of law or fact or must present newly discovered evidence." Federal Deposit Ins. Corp. v. Meyer, 781 F.2d 1260, 1268 (7th Cir. 1986). To qualify as "newly discovered evidence" under Rule 59, the evidence "must have been in existence at the time of trial . . . ." Peacock v. Board of Sch. Comm'rs, 721 F.2d 210, 214 (7th Cir. 1983). Moreover, "the evidence must be material, admissible, credible, not merely cumulative or impeaching, and likely to change the outcome upon retrial." Id. at 213-14. Finally, whether to grant or deny a motion for a new trial is discretionary. EEOC v. Century Broadcasting Corp., 957 F.2d 1446, 1460 (7th Cir. 1992).
The election results which form the basis for the Gardner parties' and the Task Force's motions were not in existence at the time of trial. The Gardner parties argue, however, that such evidence may warrant a new trial motion if the new evidence makes a "prima facie showing that a different result should have been reached initially . . . ." Unarco Indus., Inc. v. Evans Prods. Co., 403 F.2d 638, 639 (7th Cir. 1968); see also Peacock, 721 F.2d at 214 ("material not in existence until after trial falls within 60(b)(2) only if it pertains to facts in existence at time of trial"; same requirements under Rules 59 and 60(b)(2)).
The new evidence proffered by the Gardner parties and the Task Force, however, does not sufficiently cast doubt upon the trial result so as to warrant a new trial. The Gardner parties and the Task Force argue that the primary elections results prove their arguments at trial that several Illinois Senate and House districts on the South Side of Chicago with African-American super-majorities of 65% or more were inadequate to provide a meaningful opportunity for African-American voters to elect candidates of their choice. The Gardner parties specifically cite three House districts (Nos. 23, 24 and 28) and one Senate district (No. 12) in which white candidates prevailed over African-American candidates in the Democratic primary. The Task Force similarly cites those districts as well as House districts 29 and 32. Each district which the Gardner parties and the Task Force cites featured a single white candidate running against multiple African-American candidates.
The cited primary results establish, at most, that African-Americans' chosen candidates were not guaranteed election. That is clearly insufficient under both the Voting Rights Act, 42 U.S.C. § 1973(b) -- "nothing in this section establishes a right to have members of a protected class elected in numbers equal to their proportion in the population" -- and the 14th Amendment equal protection clause. City of Mobile v. Bolden, 446 U.S. 55, 75-77, 64 L. Ed. 2d 47, 100 S. Ct. 1490 (1980) (right to equal participation does not protect any particular group from electoral defeat). The primary results do not show that African-Americans in the cited districts were denied a meaningful opportunity to elect their chosen candidates
The Gardner parties' motion for a new trial and the Task Force's motion to alter or amend the judgment or alternatively for a new trial are denied.
CHARLES RONALD NORGLE, ...