United States District Court, D. Maryland
Richard D. Bennett United States District Judge
a four day jury trial and jury verdict in favor of
plaintiffs, this Court entered Judgment against defendants
Egira, LLC, Anastasia Vasilakopoulos, and Konstantinos
Vasilakopoulos, jointly and severally, on October 5, 2016.
(ECF No. 147.) The Court also entered Judgment in favor of
plaintiffs' counsel for an award of attorney's fees
on October 5, 2016. (ECF No. 149.)
November 2, 2016, this Court received a "Morion to
Reconsider" filed by defendant Anastasia Vasilakopoulos
on a pro se basis (ECF No. 189)
("Defendant's Motion"). In her motion, Ms.
Vasilakopoulos asks the Court to "dismiss any liability
wrongfully attributed to me...or at a minimum be granted a
new trial." (Id. at 1.) The parties' papers
have been fully considered, and no hearing is necessary.
See Local Rule 105.6 (D. Md. 2016). For the reasons
stated below, Defendant's Motion is DENIED.
Federal Rules of Civil Procedure do not expressly recognize
motions for "reconsideration." Instead, Rule 59(e)
authorizes a district court to alter, amend, or vacate a
prior judgment, and Rule 60 provides for relief from
judgment. See Katyle v. Penn Nat'l Gaming,
Inc., 637 F.3d 462, 471 n.4 (4th Cir. 2011),
cert, denied, 132 S.Ct. 115 (2011). As this Court
A party may move to alter or amend a judgment under Rule
59(e), or for relief from a judgment under Rule 60(b).
See Fed. R. Civ. P. 59(e) & 60(b). A motion to
alter or amend filed within 28 days of the judgment is
analyzed under Rule 59(e); if the motion is filed later, Rule
60(b) controls. See Fed. R. Civ. P. 59(e); MLC
Auto., LLC v. Town of S. Pines, 532 F.3d 269, 280 (4th
Cir. 2008); In re Burnley, 988 F.2d 1, 2-3 (4th Cir.
Cross v. Fleet Reserve Ass'n Pension Plan, Civ.
No. WDQ-05-0001, 2010 WL 3609530, at *2 (D. Md. Sept. 14,
Ms. Vasilakopoulos filed her "Motion to Reconsider"
within twenty-eight (28) days of this Court's entry of
Judgment on October 5, 2016. (ECF No. 189.) Accordingly,
insofar as her motion seeks to alter or amend this
Court's Judgment, it will be considered under Rule 59(e).
To the extent that Ms. Vasilakopoulos' motion seeks a new
trial, it will be considered under Rule 59(a).
United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit has
repeatedly recognized that a final judgment may be amended
under Rule 59(e) in only three circumstances: (1) to
accommodate an intervening change in controlling law; (2) to
account for new evidence not available at trial; or (3) to
correct a clear error of law or prevent manifest injustice.
See, e.g., Gagliano v. Reliance Standard Life Ins.
Co., 547 F.3d 230, 241 n.8 (4th Cir. 2008). Moreover,
"[t]he district court has considerable discretion in
deciding whether to modify or amend a judgment."
Id. Such motions do not authorize a "game of
hopscotch, " in which parties switch from one legal
theory to another "like a bee in search of honey."
Cochran v. Quest Software, Inc., 328 F.3d 1, 11 (1st
Cir, 2003). In other words, a Rule 59(e) motion "may not
be used to relitigate old matters, or to raise arguments or
present evidence that could have been raised prior to entry
of judgment." Pac. Ins. Co. v. Am. Natl Fire Ins.
Co., 148 F.3d 396, 403 (4th Cir. 1998) (quoting 11
Wright, et al, Federal Practice and Procedure §
2810.1, at 127-28 (2d ed. 1995)). A motion for
reconsideration thus should be denied when it "merely
reiterates arguments [the] Court previously rejected in its
Memorandum Opinion[.]" Redner's Markets, Inc. v.
Joppatown G.P. Ltd. P'ship, RDB-11-1864, 2013 WL
5274356, at *8 (D. Md. Sept. 17, 2013).
party presents newly discovered evidence in support of its
Rule 59(e) motion, it "must produce a legitimate
justification for not presenting the evidence during the
earlier proceeding." Id. (internal citations
and quotation marks omitted). Where a party seeks
reconsideration on the basis of manifest error, the earlier
decision cannot be "'just maybe or probably wrong;
it must. . . strike us as wrong with the force of a five-week
old, unrefrigerated dead fish." TPWS, Inc. v.
Francbot, 572 F.3d 186, 194 (4th Cir. 2009) (quoting
Bellsouth Telesensor v. Info. Sys. & Networks
Corp., Nos. 92-2355, 92-2437, 1995 WL 520978 at *5 n. 6
(4th Cir. Sept. 5, 1995)). "In general, reconsideration
of a judgment after its entry is an extraordinary remedy
which should be used sparingly." Id. (internal
citations and quotation marks omitted).
a jury trial, Rule 59(a) allows the court to grant a new
trial on all or some issues "for any reason for which a
new trial has heretofore been granted in an action at law in
federal court." Fed.R.Civ.P. 59(a)(1)(A). "Because
every litigant is entitled to one fair trial, not two, the
decision of whether to grant or deny a motion for a new trial
lies within the discretion of the district court."
Wallace v. Poulos,861 F.Supp.2d 587, 599 (D. Md.
2012) (internal citations and quotation marks omitted).
See also King v, McMillan,594 F.3d 301, 314 (4th
Cir. 2010). The court must exercise its discretion to grant a
new trial only if the verdict "(1) is against the clear
weight of the evidence, (2) is based upon evidence which is
false, or (3) will result in a miscarriage of justice, even
though there may be substantial evidence which would prevent
the direction of a verdict." Wallace, 861
F.Supp.2d at 599 (citing Knussman v. Maryland, 272
F.3d 625, 639 (4th Cir. 2001)). Granting a new trial is not
warranted "unless it is reasonably clear that