United States District Court, D. Maryland
Lipton Hollander United States District Judge
Memorandum Opinion (ECF 30) and Order (ECF 31) of June 9,
2017, I granted defendant's motion to dismiss (ECF 21).
Then, on June 16, 2017, JoWanda Strickland-Lucas, a
self-represented plaintiff, filed a motion to vacate the
Order. ECF 32 (“Motion”). Although Strickland-Lucas
asserts that “the dismissal [was]
improper….”, she does not provide any grounds to
support her request to set aside the Order. Id.
Rather, Strickland-Lucas merely states that she is
“indigent” and that she is seeking counsel to
assist her in this matter. Id. at 1.
Citibank, N.A., as trustee for the Certificateholders of
CWABS, Inc. Asset-Backed Certificates, Series 2007-QH2
(“Citibank”), opposes the Motion. ECF 33
(“Opposition”). Citibank notes that
“Plaintiffs [sic] fail to provide any grounds pursuant
to which this Court's dismissal should be overturned or
set aside.” ECF 33 at 1. No reply has been filed, and
the time to do so has expired. See Local Rule
10, 2017, while the Motion was pending, plaintiffs noted an
appeal to the Federal Circuit (ECF 36) with respect to the
Memorandum Opinion and Order of June 9, 2017 (ECF 30; ECF
Then, on July 14, 2017, the Clerk docketed a motion dated
July 7, 2017, and signed on July 8, 2017, in which Ms.
Strickland-Lucas requests an extension to file an appeal from
this Court's Order of June 9, 2017. ECF 40 (“Motion
to Extend”). Strickland-Lucas explains that she seeks
an extension because of the pendency of the Motion. ECF 40 at
hearing is necessary to resolve the motions. See
Local Rule 105.6.
motion to vacate is, in effect, a motion to reconsider. The
Federal Rules of Civil Procedure do not contain an express
provision for a “motion for reconsideration” of a
final judgment. Katyle v. Penn Nat'l Gamin,
Inc., 637 F.3d 462, 470 n.4 (4th Cir. 2011), cert.
denied, 132 S.Ct. 115 (2011). However, to avoid
elevating form over substance, a motion to reconsider may be
construed as a motion to alter or amend judgment under
Fed.R.Civ.P. 59(e), or a motion for relief from judgment
under Fed.R.Civ.P. 60(b). MLC Auto., LLC v. Town of S.
Pines, 532 F.3d 269, 278-80 (4th Cir. 2008).
Civ. P. 59(e) is captioned “Motion to Alter or Amend a
Judgment.” It states: “A motion to alter or amend
a judgment must be filed no later than 28 days after the
entry of the judgment.” A district court may amend a
judgment under Rule 59(e), inter alia, to
“prevent manifest injustice.” Hutchinson v.
Stanton, 994 F.2d 1076, 1081 (4th Cir. 2002).
the Motion (ECF 32) was filed within 28 days following entry
of the Order (ECF 31), I shall construe the Motion under Rule
59(e). In this circuit, there are three limited grounds for
granting a motion under Rule 59(e): (1) to accommodate an
intervening change in controlling law; (2) to account for new
evidence not previously available; or (3) to correct clear
error of law or prevent manifest injustice. See United
States ex. rel. Becker v. Westinghouse Savannah River
Co., 305 F.3d 284, 290 (4th Cir. 2002) (citing
Pacific Ins. Co. v. Am. Nat'l Fire Ins. Co., 148
F.3d 396, 403 (4th Cir. 1998)). Notably, 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 the entry of judgment.” Pac. Ins.
Co., 148 F.3d at 403 (quoting 11 Wright, et al.,
Federal Practice & Procedure § 2810.1, at
127-28 (2d ed. 1995)). Generally, “'reconsideration
of a judgment after its entry is an extraordinary remedy
which should be used sparingly.'” Pac. Ins.
Co., 148 F.3d at 403 (quoting Wright, et al.,
supra, § 2810.1, at 124).
correctly noted by Citibank, the plaintiff “fail[s] to
present any arguments that establish a change in the law, or
introduce new evidence that was not available prior to the
entry of judgment, or suggest that the Court's ruling was
in error.” ECF 33 at 2. Because Strickland-Lucas
“does not raise new arguments, but merely urges the
court to 'change its mind, ' relief is not
authorized.” Medlock v. Rumsfeld, 336
F.Supp.2d 452, 470 (D. Md. 2002) (citation omitted),
aff'd, 86 Fed.Appx. 665 (4th Cir. 2004).
“To the extent that Plaintiff is simply trying to
reargue the case, [s]he is not permitted to do so.”
Id.; see also Hutchinson v. Stanton, 994
F.2d 1076, 1082 (4th Cir. 2002) (“[M]ere disagreement
[with a court's ruling] does not support a Rule 59(e)
the Motion (ECF 32) is denied.
the Motion to Extend (ECF 40), Strickland-Lucas seeks an
extension to file an appeal. As noted, she has already filed
an appeal with the Federal Circuit.
timely filing of a notice of appeal is “mandatory and
jurisdictional.” Budinich v. Becton Dickinson &
Co., 486 U.S. 196, 203 (1988). Under Fed. R. App. P.
4(a)(1)(A), the notice of appeal in a civil case generally
“must be filed with the district clerk within 30 days
after entry of the judgment or order appealed from.”
However, of import here, the thirty-day time period is
“deferred” if the party makes a timely motion
under Rule 59(e) or other specified rules. Alston v. MCI
Commc'ns Corp., 84 F.3d 705, 706 (4th Cir. 1996);
see Fed. R. App. P. 4(a)(4)(A). In such a case,