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Moyer v. Michaels Stores, Inc.

United States District Court, N.D. Illinois, Eastern Division

October 14, 2014

CHRISTINA MOYER, et al., Plaintiffs,
v.
MICHAELS STORES, INC., Defendant.

MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER

ELAINE E. BUCKLO, District Judge.

Plaintiffs' motion under Rule 59(e) to alter or amend the judgment dismissing their class action complaint against Michaels Stores, Inc. ("Michaels") or to re-open the case so putative class member Mary Jane Whalen ("Ms. Whalen") can file an amended complaint is DENIED for the reasons stated below.

I.

On July 14, 2014, I dismissed Plaintiffs' consolidated class action complaint against Michaels for failure to state a claim upon which relief could be granted. See Dkt. No. 65.

Before addressing the legal sufficiency of Plaintiffs' allegations, I held that Ms. Whalen-who was not a named plaintiff in any of the four consolidated cases, whose name did not appear in the caption of the consolidated complaint, and on behalf of whom no attorney had filed an appearance-was a member of the putative class rather than a plaintiff in this case. Id. at ยง II.

Plaintiffs did not seek leave to amend their complaint in the event that it failed to state a claim, so I entered judgment in favor of Michaels. See Dkt. No. 66.

II.

Plaintiffs have now filed a motion under Rule 59(e) in which they ask me to reconsider my holding that Ms. Whalen was only a putative class member at the motion to dismiss stage. See Dkt. No. 67. Alternatively, Plaintiffs ask me to re-open this case so Ms. Whalen can file an amended complaint.

"To prevail on a Rule 59(e) motion to amend judgment, a party must clearly establish (1) that the [district] court committed a manifest error of law or fact, or (2) that newly discovered evidence precluded entry of judgment." Blue v. Hartford Life and Accident Ins. Co., 698 F.3d 587, 598 (7th Cir. 2012) (internal quotation omitted). "A manifest error' is not demonstrated by the disappointment of the losing party. It is the wholesale disregard, misapplication, or failure to recognize controlling precedent." Oto v. Metro. Life Ins. Co., 224 F.3d 601, 606 (7th Cir. 2000).

A.

The caption of a complaint "must name all the parties" while other pleadings may name only the first party on each side and refer to the other parties generally. Fed.R.Civ.P. 10(a). The consolidated complaint did not list Ms. Whalen's name in the caption, so I did not commit a manifest error of law in concluding that she was not a party to the case. Indeed, the caption of a complaint is "entitled to considerable weight when determining who the plaintiffs to a suit are since plaintiffs draft complaints." Williams v. Bradshaw, 459 F.3d 846, 849 (8th Cir. 2006); see also Pride v. Venango River Corp. 916 F.2d 1250 (7th Cir. 1990) (dismissing case for failure to strictly comply with Fed. R. App. P. 3(c), which at the time required notice of appeal to name all parties taking the appeal, even though there was no "actual confusion" about the intended appellants).[1]

B.

The sequence of events in this case also shows why I did not commit a manifest error of law in concluding that Ms. Whalen was only a putative ...


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