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Jaffrey v. Portercare Adventist Health System

United States District Court, D. Colorado

August 10, 2017

IRA S. JAFFREY, M.D., Plaintiff,
v.
PORTERCARE ADVENTIST HEALTH SYSTEM, Defendant.

          ORDER

          Nina Y. Wang United States Magistrate Judge

         This matter comes before the court on Defendant PorterCare Adventist Health System's (“PorterCare” or “Defendant”) Motion to Reconsider (the “Motion”). [#60, filed June 9, 2017]. The undersigned considers the Motion pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 636(c) and the Order Referring Case dated December 9, 2015 [#11]. The court concludes that oral argument will not materially assist in the resolution of this matter. Accordingly, upon careful review of the Parties' briefing, the entire case file, and applicable law, the Motion is DENIED.

         BACKGROUND

         The court has discussed in detail this action's background in previous rulings, see, e.g., [#46], and discusses it here only as it pertains to the pending Motion. Plaintiff Ira S. Jaffrey (“Plaintiff” or “Dr. Jaffrey”) initiated this action on October 16, 2015, at the age of seventy-six (76). [#1]. Plaintiff, a Colorado licensed physician and board certified oncologist, began working as a part-time (“locum tenens”) oncologist at Defendant's facility, Mile High Oncology (“MHO”), in April 2014. [Id. at ¶¶ 4, 9]. However, around July 2014, the employment relationship soured and Defendant terminated Plaintiff on or about July 24, 2014. [Id. at ¶¶ 5- 11]. Plaintiff alleges that Defendant discriminated against him because of his age in violation of the Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967 (“ADEA” or “Act”), 29 U.S.C. § 621 et seq. (Claim I). [Id. at ¶ 1, 20]. Plaintiff also brings common-law claims for breach of contract (Claim II) and promissory estoppel (Claim III) against Defendant. [Id. at ¶¶ 21-24].

         On September 9, 2016, Defendant filed its Motion for Summary Judgment. [#31]. On November 30, 2016, the court held a motion hearing and took the Motion for the Summary Judgment under advisement. [#41]. With leave of court, both parties filed supplements to their briefing on December 9, 2016. See [#44; #45].

         On April 4, 2017, the court granted in part and denied in part Defendant's Motion for Summary Judgment. [#46]. Specifically, the court held that genuine issues of material fact precluded summary judgment as to Claims I and III, and granted summary judgment in Defendant's favor as to Claim II only to the extent it alleged a breach of contract claim predicated on the unsigned employment agreement. [Id.]. Thus, Claims I and III remained in their entirety for trial, and Claim II remained to the extent it alleged a breach of contract claim predicated on the breach of an oral promise to extend Plaintiff's locum tenens employment with Defendant. [Id.].

         On May 5, 2017, the undersigned held a Final Pretrial Conference, setting the remaining claims for a four-day jury trial to commence on February 26, 2018. [#57]. The court has since entered a Final Pretrial Order and Trial Preparation Order. [#58; #59].

         Defendant filed the instant Motion of June 9, 2017. [#60]. Defendant moves for reconsideration of the court's Memorandum Opinion and Order (“Order”) granting in part and denying in part Defendant's Motion for Summary Judgment pursuant to Rule 60(b)(6) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure. [Id.]. Defendant contends that the court misapprehended the facts and the controlling case law as to all three of Plaintiff's claims, and seeks summary judgment in its favor as to Claims I-III. [Id. at 2].

         LEGAL STANDARD

         The Federal Rules of Civil Procedure do not expressly provide for a motion for reconsideration. Because Defendant seeks reconsideration of a non-final order, its Motion “falls within a court's plenary power to revisit and amend interlocutory orders as justice requires.” United Fire & Cas. Co. v. Boulder Plaza Residential, LLC, No. 06-cv-00037-PAB-CBS, 2010 WL 420046, at *3 (D. Colo. Feb. 1, 2010); see also Fed. R. Civ. P. 54(b) (“[A]ny order or other decision, however designated, that adjudicates fewer than all the claims or the rights and liabilities of fewer than all the parties does not end the action as to any of the claims or parties and may be revised at any time before the entry of a judgment adjudicating all the claims and all the parties' rights and liabilities.”). Courts in this district have applied different standards on motions for reconsideration of non-final orders. See United Fire & Cas. Co., 2010 WL 420046, at *3 (listing cases applying Rule 59(e) standard, Rule 60(b) standard, and “law of the case” standard). But as a general principle, courts may grant motions to reconsider where there is “(1) an intervening change in the controlling law, (2) new evidence previously unavailable, and (3) the need to correct clear error or prevent manifest injustice.” Servants of the Paraclete v. Does, 204 F.3d 1005, 1012 (10th Cir. 2000). A motion for reconsideration is not an avenue for a party to reargue issues by rehashing facts and arguments already addressed or available, yet neglected, in the original proceeding. See id.; Van Skiver v. United States, 952 F.2d 1241, 1243 (10th Cir. 1991).

         Defendant moves for reconsideration under Rule 60(b)(6) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure that provides:

On motion and just terms, the court may relieve a party or its legal representative from a final judgment, order, or proceeding for the following reasons: . . .
(6) any other reason that justifies relief.

Fed. R. Civ. P. 60(b). Motions under Rule 60(b)(6) must be made within a reasonable time period. Fed.R.Civ.P. 60(c). Again, the rule does not permit a rehashing of the facts or arguments previously addressed by the court. See Pyeatt v. Does, 19 F. App'x 785, 788 (10th Cir. 2001) (explaining that “denial of a Rule 60(b)(6) motion is not an abuse of discretion where the motion basically revisits, albeit in somewhat different forms, the same issues already addressed and dismissed by the court.” (internal quotations and citations omitted)). Rather, Rule 60(b)(6) permits relief for “any other reason justifying relief.” While characterized by the Tenth Circuit as a “grand reservoir of equitable power to do justice in a particular case, ” this subsection only affords relief in extraordinary situations, when such action is necessary to accomplish justice. F.D.I.C. v. Union ...


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