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WAGNER v. NUTRASWEET CO.

UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT FOR THE NORTHERN DISTRICT OF ILLINOIS, EASTERN DIVISION


November 23, 1994

CATHERINE WAGNER, Plaintiff,
v.
THE NUTRASWEET COMPANY, Defendant.

Ruben Castillo, United States District Judge

The opinion of the court was delivered by: RUBEN CASTILLO

MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER

Plaintiff, Catherine Wagner ("Wagner"), moves under Fed. R. Civ. P. 59 for clarification and partial reconsideration of this court's Memorandum Opinion and Order dated October 13, 1994. *fn1" The relevant facts of this case are set forth in the Memorandum Opinion. For the sake of judicial economy, we assume familiarity with the facts and do not repeat them here.

 Although motions for reconsideration are not specifically authorized by the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, the Seventh Circuit and this district apply Rule 59(e) standards to these motions. See Sutliff, Inc. v. Donovan Cos., Inc., 727 F.2d 648, 652 (7th Cir. 1984); see also Quaker Alloy Casting Co. v. Gulfco Indus., Inc., 123 F.R.D. 282, 288 n.9 (N.D. Ill. 1988).

 The Seventh Circuit has repeatedly cautioned that:

 

Motions for reconsideration serve a limited function: to correct manifest errors of law or fact or to present newly discovered evidence. Such motions cannot in any case be employed as a vehicle to introduce new evidence that could have been adduced during pendency of the summary judgment motion. The nonmovant has an affirmative duty to come forward to meet a properly supported motion for summary judgment. . . . Nor should a motion for reconsideration serve as the occasion to tender new legal theories for the first time.

 Rothwell Cotton Co. v. Rosenthal & Co., 827 F.2d 246, 251 (7th Cir. 1987), quoting Keene Corp. v. International Fidelity Ins. Co., 561 F. Supp. 656, 665-66 (N.D. Ill. 1982), aff'd, 736 F.2d 388 (7th Cir. 1984); Publishers Resource, Inc. v. Walker-Davis Publications, Inc., 762 F.2d 557, 561 (7th Cir. 1985). More recently, the Seventh Circuit observed that a motion for reconsideration performs a valuable function where:

 

the Court has patently misunderstood a party, or has made a decision outside the adversarial issues presented to the Court by the parties, or has made an error not of reasoning but of apprehension. A further basis for a motion for reconsideration would be a controlling or significant change in the law or facts since the submission of the issue to the Court. Such problems rarely arise and the motion to reconsider should be equally rare.

 Bank of Waunakee v. Rochester Cheese Sales, Inc., 906 F.2d 1185, 1191 (7th Cir. 1990), quoting Above the Belt, Inc. v. Mel Bohannan Roofing, Inc., 99 F.R.D. 99, 191 (E.D. Va. 1983). Bank of Waunakee arguably adds grist to the court's discretionary mill in considering a Rule 59(e) motion. However, it remains true that "motions to reconsider are not at the disposal of parties who want to 'rehash' old arguments," In re Oil Spill by Amoco Cadiz, 794 F. Supp. 261, 267 (N.D. Ill. 1992), aff'd 4 F.3d 997 (7th Cir. 1993), and such motions are not appropriate vehicles for introducing evidence that could have been produced prior to the entry of judgment or for tendering new legal theories for the first time. Publisher's Resource, 762 F.2d at 561.

 Wagner utilizes this motion to argue that the Court's Memorandum Opinion of October 13, 1994, did not "clearly and completely resolve the parties respective motions for summary judgment and class certification." Wagner's motion is denied for the following reasons.

 With respect to the motion for summary judgment, Wagner contends that the court resolved her "termination claim," but did not consider or resolve her "compensation and benefits claims." After further review of the motions for summary judgment, it is clear that Wagner did not make any independent claims for compensation and benefits apart from her assertions regarding Mike Vinitsky and Wayne Tompkins. *fn2" Nonetheless, the court noted that "compensation claims arising after March 25, 1991, survive summary judgment." Mem.Op. at 3 n.4. The operative facts also included descriptions of the compensation and benefits differentials between the named parties and the NutraSweet employees named in the record. Thus, the court's Memorandum Opinion does not preclude Wagner from attempting to allege and prove that NutraSweet discriminated against her in terms of compensation and benefits after March 25, 1994.

 Wagner next claims that the Court "erroneously denied class certification of the compensation and benefits discrimination class." Motion at 4. The court's ruling on the class certification motion is not erroneous. Wagner has failed to persuade this court that she meets the typicality requirements of Rule 23. The proposed class of female managers does not share claims which are typical, because the court would need to determine whether each potential class member signed a valid release of all claims against NutraSweet during the relevant periods before reaching the merits of each compensation and benefits dispute. The need for a particularized inquiry defeats Wagner's Motion for Class Certification. General Tel. Co. v. Falcon, 457 U.S. 147, 158 (1982)(plaintiff must demonstrate with particularity that she suffered the same type of injury as the aggrieved class members); Hall v. Burger King Corp., 1992-2 Trade Cas. (CCH) P 70,042 at 69,149 (Dec. 1, 1992)("questions of whether a release has been executed, whether it is valid and whether it covers the subject matter of this lawsuit would require an analysis of each releasor's circumstances"), quoting Plekowski v. Ralston Purina Co., 68 F.R.D. 443, 451 (M.D. Ga. 1975); Abercrombie v. Lum's, Inc., 345 F. Supp. 387, 393 (S.D. Fla. 1972)(same); Glass v. Rock Island Corp., 788 F.2d 450, 455 (7th Cir. 1986)("whether a plaintiff knowingly and voluntarily agreed to settle his Title VII claims is a question of fact"). Furthermore, the court's analysis of the Motion for Class Certification is not affected or changed by further refinement of or addition to Wagner's compensation and benefits claims. *fn3"

 CONCLUSION

 The ruling issued on October 13, 1994, is, in the court's considered judgment, the correct one. THEREFORE, the Clerk of the Court is directed to deny Plaintiff's Rule 59(e) Motion for Clarification and Reconsideration.

 Ruben Castillo

 United States District Judge

 November 23, 1994


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