United States District Court, D. Maryland
PAULA XINIS UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
in this employment discrimination case is Plaintiff Tyanna
Montgomery (“Montgomery”)'s Motion for
Reconsideration of the Court's Order Granting
Defendant's Motion for Summary Judgment. ECF Nos. 40, 43.
The motion is fully briefed, and no hearing is necessary.
See Loc. R. 105.6. For the reasons that follow, the
Court denies Plaintiff's motion.
an African American woman, worked at Medstar Montgomery
Medical Center (“Medstar”) as a Security Officer
from August 2010 until her termination on April 17, 2017. ECF
No. 29-1 at 9; ECF No. 29-2 at 106. Medstar contends that her
termination was due to job performance issues (ECF No. 29-1
at 8), while Montgomery maintains that Medstar discriminated
against her and terminated her in retaliation. ECF No. 35 at
Officers at Medstar were expected to “effectively
resolve confrontation situations, ” maintain order on
the Medstar premises, and assist Medstar visitors and
patients. ECF No. 29-2 at 12, 71. According to written
disciplinary actions, Montgomery failed to meet those
expectations. Specifically, Montgomery had a “negative
demeanor” and regularly arrived at work late. ECF No.
29-2 at 85. Montgomery concedes that she often was tardy, but
argues that she had “no unexcused absence or tardiness
within approximately nine months prior to her
termination.” ECF No. 43 at 9. In support, Montgomery
cites to her 2017 mid-year review, which states that she had
“improved in her tardiness.” ECF No. 35-2 at 37.
Furthermore, Montgomery argues that when Medstar disciplined
her for her demeanor, the discipline itself was motivated by
race and gender. ECF No. 22 ¶¶ 241, 271,
June 2016 and April 2017, Medstar disciplined Montgomery for
failing to greet people at the front desk (ECF No. 29-2 at
85); calling a co-worker a “Bitch”
(id.); not pursuing an escaping patient when a
senior officer also did not pursue the patient (ECF No. 29-2
at 99); and being “cold” to a visitor looking for
lost keys. ECF No. 29-2 at 106. Montgomery asserts that this
last incident, which was the precipitating event for her
termination, never occurred. ECF No. 43 at 7. Montgomery
contrasts these disciplinary actions with previous annual
evaluations that rated her as a “key contributor,
” Medstar's designation for average performances.
ECF No. 35-2 at 2-33.
also contends that Medstar acted in a discriminatory manner
by failing to discipline appropriately a volunteer employee
that had “assaulted” Montgomery (ECF No. 29-2 at
18); reassigning Montgomery from the front lobby to another
location for a month (id. at 80); demoting
Montgomery from the Lead position and not compensating her
when she did work as a Lead (ECF No. 22 ¶¶ 69,
103); telling Montgomery to “get more
heart” (ECF No. 29-2 at 82); yelling at Montgomery when
the supervisor said he was tired of her “damn”
shift that thought it could “do whatever the
fuck” it wants (id.); posting an unenforced,
new uniform policy that would only affect Montgomery (ECF No.
22 ¶ 142); and implying that Montgomery did not know
anything because she was a black woman, with accompanying
stereotypical gestures (id. ¶ 153).
exhausting administrative remedies, Montgomery filed suit.
ECF No. 1. Medstar moved for summary judgment, which the
Court granted after considering Montgomery's response.
ECF Nos. 32, 37-38. The Court reasoned that Montgomery had
suffered a singular adverse employment
action-termination-that was based on legitimate and
non-discriminatory grounds arising from her documented
performance issues. ECF No. 37 at 10-13 (discrimination);
id. at 15-16 (retaliation).
week after the Court granted summary judgment in
Medstar's favor, Montgomery's counsel was disbarred.
ECF No. 40-1. The Court does not know why counsel was
disbarred, although Montgomery suggests that it was due to
medical issues. ECF No. 45 at 2 n.1; see also ECF
No. 31 at 1 (former counsel stating that a filing was delayed
“due to health issues and subsequent case management
days after the Court granted summary judgment in favor of
Medstar on all claims, Montgomery moved for reconsideration,
arguing that her former counsel mishandled her case. ECF No.
40. The Court granted Montgomery six weeks to retain new
counsel and supplement the motion. ECF No. 41.
Montgomery's new counsel has so supplemented (ECF No.
43), and the motion is ripe for resolution.
Standard of Review
motion for reconsideration filed within 28 days of the
underlying order is governed by Federal Rule of Civil
Procedure 59(e). See Katyle v. Penn. Nat. Gaming,
Inc., 637 F.3d 462, 471 n.4 (4th Cir. 2011). Courts
recognize three limited grounds for granting a motion for
reconsideration pursuant to 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)), cert. denied, 538
U.S. 1012 (2003). A Rule 59(e) motion “may not be used
to re-litigate old matters, or to raise arguments or present
evidence that could have been raised prior to the entry of
judgment.” Pacific Ins. Co., 148 F.3d at 403
(quoting 11 Wright, et al., Federal Practice and
Procedure § 2810.1, at 127-28 (2d ed. 1995)). Where a
party presents newly discovered evidence in support of its
Rule 59(e) motion, the party “must produce a legitimate
justification for not presenting the evidence during the
earlier proceeding.” Pacific Ins. Co., 148
F.3d at 403 (quoting Small v. Hunt, 98 F.3d 789, 798
(4th Cir. 1996) (internal marks omitted). Likewise, before
considering the merits of “arguments that were not
presented before judgment, ” the court must first be
satisfied that the party was justified in not presenting such
arguments previously. Robinson v. Wix Filtration Corp.,
LLC, 599 F.3d 403, 410 n.9 (4th Cir. 2010). “In
general, ‘reconsideration of a judgment after its entry
is an extraordinary remedy which should be used
sparingly.'” Pacific Ins. Co., 148 F.3d at
403 (quoting Wright, et al., supra, §
2810.1, at 124).
to Montgomery, it would be manifestly unjust to grant summary
judgment when her prior counsel effectively denied her the
“opportunity to actively and meaningfully participate
in the case.” ECF No. 43 at 4. Courts are typically
reluctant to grant reconsideration on account of an
attorney's poor performance or neglect of the case.
See Loren Data Corp. v. GXS, Inc., No. DKC 10-3474,
2011 WL 3946484, at *3 (D. Md. Aug. 30, 2011),
aff'd, 501 Fed.Appx. 275, 286 (4th Cir. 2012)
(denying reconsideration under Rule 59(e) where conduct of
“prior attorney may have fallen below professional
standards”); In re Fisherman's Wharf Fillet,
Inc., 83 F.Supp.2d 651, 658 (E.D. Va. 1999) (denying
reconsideration under Rule 59(e) where attorney failed to
respond to request for admissions and dispositive motions);
McCray v. Technicolor Video Cassette of Michigan,
Inc., No. 2:12-CV-02088-JPM, 2013 WL 1338141, at *2-3
(W.D. Tenn. Mar. 29, 2013) (denying reconsideration under
Rule 59(e) where attorney failed to participate in discovery
due to medical concerns); Jacobs v. Elec. Data Sys.