United States District Court, D. Maryland
SOLITA D. HARRINGTON, Appellant,
SATURN CORPORATION, Appellee.
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER
Xinis United States District Judge
before the Court in this bankruptcy appeal is a “Motion
for Reconsideration” filed by Appellant Solita D.
Harrington who is proceeding pro se, ECF No. 16.
focus of Harrington's appeal centers on the Bankruptcy
Court's March 8, 2017 order granting Appellee-Debtor
Saturn Corporation's (“Appellee-Debtor”)
objection to a proof of claim. See ECF No. 1-1. The
designation of record for the appeal was docketed on April 7,
2017, providing Appellant with thirty days to file her brief.
See ECF No. 3. After this Court granted
Appellant's motion for extension of time, ECF No. 5,
Appellant filed a motion on June 15, 2017 which she styled
“Motion to Resolve the Case Without Filing a Brief,
” in lieu of filing the required brief, see
ECF No. 6. The Court denied this Motion on July 12, 2017, and
directed Appellant to file her brief by August 2, 2017, or
risk dismissal of the appeal. See ECF No. 9.
Appellant did not file a brief. Instead, Appellant filed a
second Motion for Extension of Time on August 1, 2017,
requesting an additional six months to file her brief because
Appellant was “still experiencing medical
problems” and required time to “recover from
medical reasons.” See ECF No. 10. Appellant
also failed to file a statement of the issues she wished to
raise on appeal. See Fed. R. Bankr. P. 8009(a)(1).
On August 23, 2017, this Court denied Appellant's Motion
for Extension of Time, and directed the clerk's office to
close this case. ECF No. 13; ECF No. 14. Thereafter, on
September 1, 2017, Appellant filed the instant motion, which
is best construed as a Motion for Reconsideration under
Fed.R.Civ.P. Rule 59(e), requesting that the Court amend the
previous order, reopen the appeal, and grant Appellant
additional time to file her brief. ECF No. 16.
reconsideration motions filed under Fed.R.Civ.P. Rule 59(e),
the United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit
recognizes three grounds for amending a previous judgment:
“(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.” Pac. Ins. Co. v. Am.
Nat'l Fire Ins. Co., 148 F.3d 396, 403 (4th Cir.
1998) (citation omitted). Generally, “reconsideration
of a judgment after its entry is an extraordinary remedy
which should be used sparingly, ” id.
(citation and internal quotation marks omitted), and
“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, ” id. (quoting 11 Wright,
Miller & Kane, Federal Practice and Procedure §
2810.1, at 127-28 (2d ed. 1995) (emphasis added). While
“[p]ro se litigants are entitled to some deference from
courts, ” such deference is not unlimited. Ballard
v. Carlson, 882 F.2d 93, 96 (4th Cir. 1989) (citation
59(e) cannot provide relief for Appellant's failure to
provide corroborative information, such as medical records,
until September 1, 2017, ECF No. 17, after this Court had
already dismissed her case, ECF No. 14. The law anticipates
and unequivocally rejects the use of a Rule 59(e) Motion to
marshal previously available evidence. See, e.g., Ingle
ex rel Estate of Ingle v. Yelton, 439 F.3d 191, 198 (4th
Cir. 2006); Small v. Hunt, 98 F.3d 789, 798 (4th
Cir. 1996). In her September 1, 2017, submission, Appellant
provides documents that are best described as medical records
dated December 2016 through August 16, 2017, ECF No. 17,
clearly demonstrating that the information was available
prior to the Court's August 23, 2017 Order. ECF No. 14.
Moreover, the Court twice previously had granted Appellant
extensions to file her brief, ECF No. 5 and ECF No. 9, during
which time she could have, and did not, alert the court to
her specific medical condition(s). See ECF No. 13.
even assuming the records Appellant now offers are authentic
and somehow were not previously available, Appellant still
has not justified further delay in an already long-delayed
appeal. While the Court is mindful of the difficulties in
appearing pro se, and sympathizes with this
Appellant's particular situation, Appellant's medical
condition cannot excuse her previous dilatory approach to her
case. See, e.g., Tekmen v. John E.
Harms, Jr. & Assocs., Inc., No. RDB-11-1385, 2011 WL
5061874, at *5 (D. Md. Oct. 25, 2011) (describing
Appellants' “delaying and extending”
litigation and pattern of “consistently disregarded
procedural rules without providing reasonable excuse or
explanation for their neglect.”). Nor does her
condition support the extraordinary remedy of amending the
Court's previous order and reopening this matter to grant
the requested relief. Accord 11 Wright, Miller &
Kane, Federal Practice and Procedure § 2810.1,
at 127-28 (2d ed. 1995).
therefore, this 25th day of September, 2017, by the United
States District Court for the District of Maryland, ORDERED
Plaintiff's motion for reconsideration BE, and the same
hereby IS, DENIED.
clerk shall transmit copies of this Memorandum Opinion and
Order to the Appellant and counsel for ...