United States District Court, N.D. Mississippi, Greenville Division
DANNY DYKES, Individually and on behalf of the Estate and Wrongful Death Beneficiaries of James A. Dykes, Deceased PLAINTIFF
CLEVELAND NURSING & REHABILITATION CENTER; and JOHN AND JANE DOES I-X DEFENDANTS
M. BROWN, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
medical malpractice action is before the Court on Cleveland
Nursing & Rehabilitation Center's motion for
reconsideration of the ruling on its motion in limine
regarding punitive damages evidence. Doc. #116.
Relevant Procedural History
April 20, 2015, Danny Dykes filed a complaint in the Circuit
Court of Bolivar County, Mississippi, individually and on
behalf of the estate and wrongful death beneficiaries of
James A. Dykes, deceased, against Cleveland Nursing &
Rehabilitation Center and “John and Jane Does
I-X.” Doc. #2. In his complaint, Danny alleges that
James died as a result of negligence while a patient at the
defendant's nursing home facility. Id. at
¶¶ 7-8, 12. Cleveland Nursing subsequently removed
the state action to this Court on the ground of diversity
jurisdiction. Doc. #1 at ¶ 4.
15, 2018, following a period of discovery and two
unsuccessful motions to compel arbitration by Cleveland
Nursing, Cleveland Nursing filed a motion in limine which
sought, in part, exclusion of punitive damages-related
evidence. Doc. #108 at 6-7. On June 5, 2018, this Court
entered an order granting in part and denying in part the
motion in limine. Doc. #115. With respect to the request to
exclude the punitive damages evidence, the Court denied
exclusion on the grounds that bifurcation is not required
under federal law and that no party had moved for
bifurcation. Id. at 7-8 (citing Nester v.
Textron, Inc., 888 F.3d 151, 163 (5th Cir. 2018)). On
June 11, 2018, Cleveland Nursing filed a motion seeking
reconsideration of the order to the extent it “permits
Plaintiffs to introduce evidence that is relevant only to
punitive damages during the liability phase of trial.”
Doc. #116 at 1.
for Reconsideration Standard
general rule, requests for reconsideration of interlocutory
orders, such as the one at issue here, are properly treated
as motions for reconsideration under Federal Rule of Civil
Procedure 54(b). See Helena Labs. Corp. v. Alpha Sci.
Corp., 483 F.Supp.2d 538, 538 n.1 (E.D.
2007) (“Alpha's motion was improperly filed under
[Rule] 59(e) because no final judgment has been entered.
However, it is undisputed that the court has discretion to
treat the motion as one for reconsideration under [Rule]
Although the source of the court's authority to revise or
amend an order or judgment is different for interlocutory
orders than for final orders or judgments, many of the same
policy considerations apply both to motions for
reconsideration under Rule 54(b) and to motions for
reconsideration under Rule 59(e). Accordingly, district
courts … frequently apply the same standards to the
eTool Dev., Inc. v. Nat'l Semiconductor Corp.,
881 F.Supp.2d 745, 748 (E.D. Tex. 2012) (collecting cases).
Fifth Circuit jurisprudence:
A Rule 59(e) motion calls into question the correctness of a
judgment. This Court has held that such a motion is not the
proper vehicle for rehashing evidence, legal theories, or
arguments that could have been offered or raised before the
entry of judgment. Rather, Rule 59(e) serves the narrow
purpose of allowing a party to correct manifest errors of law
or fact or to present newly discovered evidence.
Reconsideration of a judgment after its entry is an
extraordinary remedy that should be used sparingly.
Templet v. HydroChem, Inc., 367 F.3d 473, 478-79
(5th Cir. 2004) (quotation marks, alterations, and ...