United States District Court, D. Maryland
Richard D. Bennett, United States District Judge.
case arises from an alleged business dispute between
Plaintiff George Lutfi ("Plaintiff of "Lutfi")
and Defendants Training ETC Inc. and UMBC Training Centers,
LLC (collectively, "Defendants"). On March 5, 2018,
this Court dismissed Plaintiffs Complaint without prejudice
for failing to comply with an Order of this Court, which had
instructed Plaintiff to furnish a U.S. Marshal Service of
process form. (ECF Nos. 6, 7.) Now pending before this Court
is Plaintiffs Motion for Reconsideration pursuant to Rule
59(e) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure. (ECF No. 8.)
The submission has been reviewed and no hearing is necessary.
See Local Rule 105.6 (D. Md. 2018). For the reasons
stated below, Plaintiffs Motion for Reconsideration (ECF No.
8) is DENIED.
October 30, 2017 Plaintiff commenced this lawsuit pro
se under the trade name Class Trainers of the
Mid-Atlantic ("Class Trainers") alleging, inter
alia, that Defendants failed to reimburse him for
training services provided in September 2014 and made
defamatory statements about the quality of his work. (ECF No.
1, at ¶¶ 13-15, 32.) On November 3, 2017, this
Court issued an Oder explaining that businesses could not
proceed without counsel pursuant to Local Rule 101.1.a. (D.
Md. 2018) and permitting Lutfi to obtain counsel or amend his
Complaint to proceed as an individual. (ECF No. 3.) On
December 5, 2017, Plaintiff filed a Motion to "proceed
as an individual with an assumed name for George Lutfi."
(ECF No. 4.) The Motion represented that Class Trainers was
"inseparable from, being one and the same as, George
Lutfi." (ECF No. 4, at 7.) On December 20, 2017 this
Court issued an Order granting Lutfi's Motion and
substitute George Lutfi for Class Trainers as Plaintiff. (ECF
No. 6.) The Order further directed Lutfi to furnish a U.S.
Marshal service of process form for each Defendant.
(Id.) The Order warned that, without these forms,
the Defendants could not be served and the failure to supply
the forms may result in dismissal of the Complaint without
prejudice. (lei.) Lutfi did not provide these forms
as required. Accordingly, on March 5, this Court dismissed
Lutfi's Complaint without prejudice. (ECF No. 7.) On
April 2, 2018, Lutfi filed the pending Motion for
Reconsideration. (ECF No. 8.)
may move for a new trial or to alter or amend a judgment
under Rule 59, or for relief from a judgment under Rule
60(b). See MLCAuto., LLC v. Town of Southern Pines,
532 F.3d 269, 280 (4th Cir. 2008); In re Burnley,
988 F.2d 1, 2-3 (4th Or. 1992). A motion to alter or amend
filed within 28 days of judgment is analyzed under Rule
59(e). See Fed. R. Civ. P. 59(e). Although the plain
language of Rule 59(e) does not provide a particular standard
by which a district court should evaluate a motion to alter
or amend judgment, the Fourth Circuit has clarified
"that Rule 59(e) motions can be successful in only three
situations: (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." Zinkand v. Brown,
478 F.3d 634, 637 (4th Cir. 2007) (internal quotations
omitted); see Ingle ex rel. Estate of Ingle v.
Yelton, 439 F.3d 191, 197 (4th Cir. 2006); U.S. ex
rel. Becker v. Westinghouse Savannah River Co., 305 F.3d
284, 290 (4th Cir. 2002); E.E.O.C v. Lockheed Martin
Corp., Aero <& Naval Sys., ' 116 F.3d 110,
112 (4th Cir. 1997).
purpose of Rule 59(e) is to "permit a district court
to correct its own errors, 'sparing the parties and the
appellate courts the burden of unnecessary appellate
proceedings."' Pac. Ins. Co. v. Am. Nat. Fire
Ins. Co., 148 F.3d 396, 403 (4th Cir. 1998) (quoting
Russell v. Deko Remy Div. of Gen. Motors Corp., 51
F.3d 746, 749 (7th Cir. 1995)), cert, denied, 525
U.S. 1104 (1999). But, the Fourth Circuit has cautioned that
a party may not use a Rule 59(e) motion to "raise
arguments which could have been raised prior to the issuance
of the judgment," or to "argue a case under a novel
legal theory that the party had the ability to address in the
first instance." Id.; see also Nat'lEcol. Found,
v. Alexander, 496 F.3d 466, 477 (6th Cir. 2007)
("Rule 59(e) motions are 'aimed at reconsideration,
not initial consideration.'") (citation omitted).
"A motion under Rule 59(e) is not authorized 'to
enable a party to complete presenting his case after the
court has ruled against him.'" Matter of
Reese, 91 F.3d 37, 39 (7th Cir. 1996), quoting
Frietsch v. Refco, Inc., 56 F.3d 825, 828 (7th Cir.
1995); see 11 Wright et al, Fed. Prac. & Proc.
Civ. § 2810.1 (3d ed.) ("In practice, because of
the narrow purposes for which they are intended, Rule 59(e)
motions typically are denied."). Of import here,
"[m]ere disagreement [with a court's ruling] does
not support a Rule 59(e) motion." Hutchinson v.
Staton, 994 F.2d 1076, 1082 (4th Cir. 1993); see
United States ex rel. Becker, 305 F.3d at 290. Indeed,
'"reconsideration of a judgment after its entry is
an extraordinary remedy which should be used
sparingly.'" Pac Ins. Co., 148 F.3d at 403
argues that this Court made an error of law by stating that
he was a "self-represented litigant" filing
"on behalf of Class Trainers of the Mid-Atlantic"
in its December 20, 2017 Order. (ECF No. 8.) While
acknowledging that he failed to comply with the Order, he
contends that he would have suffered prejudice by proceeding
under the name George Lutfi instead of the trade name Class
Trainers of the Mid-Atlantic. (Id.)
nothing prevented Lutfi from making these arguments before
his case was dismissed, he may not raise them now. See
Pacific Ins. Co., 148 F.3d at 403 ("Rule 59(e)
motions may not be used ... to raise arguments which could
have been raised prior to the issuance of the
judgment."). Even if these arguments were proper, Lutfi
does not explain how he would have suffered prejudice by
proceeding under his own name. As he acknowledges, there is
no legal distinction between an individual and his sole
proprietorship. See, e.g., Bushey p. Northern Assur. Co.
of Am., 362 Md. 626, 637, 766 A.2d 598, 604 (Md. 2001)
(explaining that a sole proprietorship has no legal existence
apart from its owner). Accordingly, Lutfi cannot claim that
he would have suffered prejudice by pursuing his claims under
his own name.
these reasons, IT IS HEREBY ORDERED this 13th day of
February, 2019, that Plaintiffs Motion for Reconsideration is
DENIED; and it is HEREBY FURTHER ORDERED that the Clerk of
the Court ...