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Holliday v. Board of Trustees of Southern Illinois University

March 31, 2008


The opinion of the court was delivered by: Reagan, District Judge


A. Introduction and Background

On April 9, 2004, Holliday filed this action alleging wrongful termination in violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (Doc. 1). On August 2, 2004, Holliday filed an amended complaint, alleging additional claims under 29 U.S.C. § 206(d) and 42 U.S.C. § 1983 (Doc. 5). On December 7, 2005, this Court granted Defendants' motion to dismiss a number of Holliday's claims (Doc. 61). The Court granted summary judgment as to all remaining claims on June 11, 2007 (Doc. 122). Therein, the Court noted that Holliday's response to Defendants' motion for summary judgment failed to present any legal arguments or definite, competent evidence to support her claims. Instead, Holliday presented "excuses for her continued failure to diligently prosecute her claim, unsupported accusations against Defendants, and claims that she has somehow been denied a fair opportunity to litigate her cause of action" (Doc. 122). After examining each claim, this Court found that Holliday could not establish a prima facie case against Defendants in any of the remaining counts of her complaint.

Holliday now moves this Court to reconsider its entry of summary judgment (Doc. 126). Additionally, Holliday moves to supplement the record out of time (Doc. 128) and for renewal of subpoena power (Doc. 129). Defendants have filed a combined response to Holliday's motions (Doc. 130). The matter being fully briefed by the parties, the Court hereby DENIES Holliday's motion for reconsideration (Doc 126), DENIES Holliday's motion to supplement the record (Doc. 128), and DENIES AS MOOT Holliday's motion for renewal of subpoena power (Doc. 129).

B. Legal Standards and Analysis

1. Holliday's Motion to Reconsider (Doc. 126)

The Federal Rules of Civil Procedure do not specifically authorize the filing of motions to reconsider. Such motions are filed routinely, however, and they are construed either as Rule 59(e) motions to alter/amend or Rule 60(b) motions for relief from judgment/order.

The Seventh Circuit has delineated a bright-line test to determine which Rule governs. If the motion to reconsider was served within ten days of entry of the challenged judgment or order, then Rule 59(e) applies. On the other hand, if the motion to reconsider was served more than ten days after entry of the challenged judgment or order, Rule 60(b) applies. See Britton v. Swift Transp. Co., Inc., 127 F.3d 616, 618 (7th Cir. 1997); Russell v. Delco Remy Division of General Motors Corp., 51 F.3d 746, 750 (7th Cir. 1995); United States v. Deutsch, 981 F.2d 299, 301 (7th Cir. 1992). This Court follows Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 6(a) in calculating the ten-day period (i.e., counting the ten days to exclude weekends and holidays).

Here, Holliday's motion seeking reconsideration was filed on June 25, 2007 and was within ten days of the Court's June 11, 2007 Order granting Defendants' motion for summary judgment. Therefore, Rule 59(e) governs. Four grounds justify reconsideration under Rule 59(e):

(1) an intervening change in the law, (2) new evidence not available at the time of the original ruling, (3) a clear legal error, and (4) the prevention of manifest injustice. See Baicker-McKee, Janssen, & Corr, FEDERAL CIVIL RULES HANDBOOK,pp. 1026-27 (2008); see also Publishers

Resource, Inc. v. Walker-Davis Publications, Inc., 762 F.2d 557, 561 (7th Cir. 1985) (explaining that Rule 59(e) motions serve a limited function: "to correct manifest errors of law or fact or to present newly discovered evidence.").

Motions to reconsider may not be used to relitigate issues or present arguments which could have been previously addressed. Caisse Nationale de Credit Agricole v. CBI Industries, Inc., 90 F.3d 1264, 1270 (7th Cir. 1996) ("Reconsideration is not an appropriate forum for rehashing previously rejected arguments or arguing matters that could have been heard during the pendency of the previous motion."); Bally Export Corp. v. Balicar Ltd., 804 F.2d 398, 404 (7th Cir. 1986) (explaining that a motion to reconsider is not an appropriate vehicle to introduce new legal theories); Publishers Resource v. Walker-Davis Publications, 762 F.2d 557, 561 (7th Cir. 1985) (stating that a motion to reconsider should not serve as vehicle "to tender new legal theories for the first time").

In her motion to reconsider, Holliday presents a number of reasons why she believes the Court should reconsider its Order granting summary judgment against her. After exhaustive review of this seventy-page motion, the Court finds that none of the arguments or evidence presented therein justify reconsideration of the Court's Order.

First, Holliday attacks the sufficiency of the evidence presented by Defendants and argues that exhibits were not properly authenticated, that affidavits were false and contained hearsay, and that witnesses were biased. Holliday also argues that substantial errors were made by the EEOC during the period of time it investigated her charge of discrimination between December of 2003 and January of 2004. Additionally, Holliday argues that summary judgment should not have been granted because she either presented enough evidence to establish prima facie ...

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