United States District Court, D. Maryland
Xinis, United States District Judge.
pending and ripe for resolution is Bank of America
(“BOA”)'s renewed motion for summary judgment
on all claims asserted by Jericho Baptist Church Ministries,
Inc. (“Jericho D.C.”). ECF No. 244. Also pending
is Jericho D.C.'s Motion for Reconsideration. ECF No.
249. For the following reasons, the Court grants BOA's
motion and denies Jericho D.C.'s motion.
Court has previously set out the relevant facts, procedural
posture, and appropriate standard of review in its earlier
memorandum opinion addressing the propriety of summary
judgment. ECF No. 201. The Court incorporates its previous
opinion and will not repeat itself here. The Court's
initial denal of summary judgment rested on the assumption
that Jericho D.C. could offer at trial a qualified expert in
commercial banking procedures to establish the standard of
ordinary care in the banking industry by which the jury could
measure BOA's course of conduct. ECF Nos. 201, 202. Since
that ruling, BOA successfully moved to exclude Jericho
D.C.'s only proffered expert on this topic, Susan Riley.
ECF Nos. 243, 251-1 at 98. In light of the Court having
excluded Riley, BOA now renews its summary judgment motion.
D.C. also moves for the Court to reconsider its ruling as to
Riley. Because this reconsideration motion potentially
affects the outcome of BOA's summary judgment motion, the
Court first addresses the propriety of reconsideration and
then turns to the merits of BOA's summary judgment
Jericho D.C.'s Motion for Reconsideration
D.C. urges this Court to either reconsider its ruling or
allow an out-of-time designation of a new expert. ECF No.
249. Both requests are unfounded.
re-designation of a new expert, Jericho D.C. has established
no good cause for reopening discovery, which closed August 6,
2018. ECF. No. 181. During discovery, the Court had granted
multiple extensions of time and had given both parties ample
opportunity to prepare their respective cases. See,
e.g., ECF Nos. 148, 167, 181. Jericho D.C. chose to
designate Susan Riley as its sole standard-of-care expert and
vigorously persisted in her bona fides. Now that BOA
succeeded in excluding Riley, the Court will not allow
Jericho D.C. a “do-over.”
urging the Court to reconsider exclusion, Jericho D.C. cites
not one scintilla of procedural law in support of its
position. The Court begins with the Federal Rules of Civil
Procedure. Rule 54(b) provides that “any order or other
decision, however designated, that adjudicates fewer than all
the claims or the rights and liabilities . . . may be revised
at any time before the entry of a judgment adjudicating all
the claims and the parties' rights and
liabilities.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 54(b). When assessing
whether revision is proper, the Court looks to the standard
for reconsideration articulated in Rules 59(e) and 60(b).
motion for reconsideration brought under Rule 59(e) need not
be granted unless the Court finds “an intervening
change of controlling law, that new evidence has become
available, or that there is a need to correct a clear error
or prevent manifest injustice.” Robinson v. Wix
Filtration Corp., LLC, 599 F.3d 403, 411 (4th Cir.
2010). “Rule 59(e) motions may not be used, however, to
raise arguments which could have been raised prior to the
issuance of the judgment. . . .” Pacific Ins. Co.
v. American Nat. Fire Ins. Co., 148 F.3d 396, 403 (4th
Cir. 1998). “[I]f a party relies on newly discovered
evidence in its Rule 59(e) motion, the party must produce a
legitimate justification for not presenting the evidence
during the earlier proceeding. In general, reconsideration of
a judgment after its entry is an extraordinary remedy which
should be used sparingly.” Id. (internal
citations and quotation marks omitted).
60(b) sets forth broader but overlapping bases for
reconsideration, none of which apply here. As with Rule
59(e), “Rule 60(b) does not authorize a motion merely
for reconsideration of a legal issue.” United
States v. Williams, 674 F.2d 310, 312 (4th Cir. 1982);
see also Bank v. M/V “Mothership”, No.
ELH-18-3378, 2019 WL 2192488, at *4 (D. Md. May 20, 2019)
(“Rule 60(b) was not intended as a substitute for a
direct appeal from an erroneous judgment.”) (citation
D.C.'s motion makes no attempt to comply with the rules.
Rather, the motion rests largely, if not exclusively, on the
notion that this Court erred in considering
“inadmissible hearsay” related to the
circumstances of Riley's prior employment. ECF No. 249.
However, the Court's exclusion of Riley did not depend on
this challenged evidence. The Court agrees with BOA that, at
best, the documents in question are relevant as to only
Riley's lack of relevant experience, not the substance of
her opinions. To be sure, the Court excluded Riley based on
her lack of qualifications and stands by that decision. But
independently, the Court determined that Riley's opinions
were unreliable and lacking in foundation and methodology.
ECF No. 251-1 at 103. (“Next, and in the alternative,
even if I were to find that Ms. Riley was sufficiently
trained, educated and experienced, the opinions that she laid
out . . . simply are not reliable”). Thus, even if
somehow the Court erred in admitting the challenged
documents, the decision to exclude Riley remains on solid
footing. Jericho D.C. has failed to justify that
reconsideration is warranted. The motion is denied.
BOA's Renewed Motion for Summary Judgment
contends that summary judgment on all claims is warranted
because without an expert to opine on the relevant industry
standard of care and BOA's breach of the same, no