United States District Court, D. Maryland
L. Hollander United States District Judge
Order dated March 28, 2019, this court dismissed the
above-entitled action after determining that the named
defendants are immune from suit pursuant to the Eleventh
Amendment to the United States Constitution and the doctrine
of judicial immunity. ECF 3. On April 10, 2019, the
self-represented plaintiff, Evans Ihenachor, filed a
“Motion For Reconsideration And Motion For Leave to
Amend Complaint.” ECF 4. It is supported by several
exhibits. Plaintiff asserts that this action is not barred by
res judicata, defendants continue to violate federal law, and
allowing plaintiff to amend his complaint would be in the
interest of justice. Id.
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 Gaming,
Inc., 637 F.3d 462, 470 n.4 (4th Cir.), cert.
denied, 132 S.Ct. 115 (2011). But, 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.”
Rule of Civil Procedure 59(e) permits the district court to
reconsider a decision in certain circumstances.”
Ross v. Early, 899 F.Supp.2d 415, 420 (D. Md. 2012)
(citing Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(e)), aff'd, 746 F.3d 546
(4th Cir. 2014). But, 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. However,
the Fourth Circuit has clarified: “Our case law makes
clear [ ] 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 United States ex el Carter v. Halliburton
Co., 866 F.3d 199, 210-11 (4th Cir. 2017), cert.
denied, 2018 WL 587746 (June 25, 2018); 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), cert.
denied, 538 U.S. 1012 (2003); E.E.O.C. v. Lockheed
Martin Corp., Aero & Naval Sys., 116 F.3d 110, 112
(4th Cir. 1997).
indicated, a district court may amend a judgment under rule
59(e), inter alia, to “prevent manifest
injustice.” Hutchinson v. Staton, 994 F.2d
1076, 1081 (4th Cir. 1993). Another 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. Delco 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'l Ecol. Found. v.
Alexander, 496 F.3d 466, 477 (6th Cir. 2007)
(“Rule 59(e) motions are ‘aimed at
reconsideration, not initial consideration.'”)
(citation omitted). In other words, “[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
“[m]ere disagreement [with a court's ruling] does
not support a Rule 59(e) motion.” Hutchinson,
994 F.2d at 1082; 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. v.
Am. Nat'l Fire Ins. Co., 148 F.3d 396, 403 (4th Cir.
1998) (citation omitted).
the dismissal of plaintiff's complaint, there has been no
change in the controlling law. Nor has plaintiff has
presented any new evidence. Rather, plaintiff relies on 42
U.S.C. § 2000d-7 to assert that the State of Maryland is
not immune under the Eleventh Amendment because it continues
to “receive federal financial assistance for its
programs and activities” that are subject to section
504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, title IX of the
Education Amendments of 1972, and title VI of the Civil
Rights Act of 1964. ECF 4 at 4-7.
A State shall not be immune under the Eleventh Amendment of
the Constitution of the United States from suit in Federal
court for a violation of section 504 of the Rehabilitation
Act of 1973 [29 U.S.C. 794], title IX of the Education
Amendments of 1972 [20 U.S.C. 1681 et seq.], the Age
Discrimination Act of 1975 [42 U.S.C. 6101 et seq.],
title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 [42 U.S.C. 2000d
et seq.], or the provisions of any other Federal
statute prohibiting discrimination by recipients of Federal
complaint, plaintiff alleged, inter alia, a
violation of title VI, at 42. U.S.C. § 2000d, which
prohibits against discrimination under federally assisted
programs on the ground of race, color, or national origin.
See ECF 1. Plaintiff's title VI claim, however,
has no merit because his underlying claim - that he lost
custody of his child due to plaintiff's gender - bears no
relation to any programs and activities receiving Federal
financial assistance. Nor does plaintiff allege
discrimination based on race, color, or national origin. As