United States District Court, D. Idaho
MEMORANDUM DECISION AND ORDER
C. NYE U S DISTRICT COURT JUDGE
employment discrimination case comes before the Court on
Plaintiff's Motion for Reconsideration. Dkt. 37.
Plaintiff Luis Augustine Vasquez argues the Court erred in
granting summary judgment in favor of Defendant the City of
Idaho Falls and, accordingly, asks the Court to reconsider
its decision. Having reviewed the record, the Court finds
that the parties have adequately presented the facts and
legal arguments in the briefs. Accordingly, in the interest
of avoiding further delay, and because the Court finds that
the decisional process would not be significantly aided by
oral argument, the Court decides the pending Motion on the
record without oral argument. Dist. Idaho Loc. Civ. R.
7.1(d)(2)(ii). For the reasons set forth below, the Court
finds good cause to DENY the Motion for Reconsideration.
Court granted Defendant the City of Idaho Falls' Motion
for Summary Judgment on December 20, 2018. Dkt. 33. The Court
set forth the entire factual background of this case in that
Decision. The Court now incorporates, in full, that factual
background by reference. That Decision also disposed of all
of Plaintiff's claims. Accordingly, the Court entered
Judgment and dismissed the case in its entirety. Dkt. 37. On
January 31, 2018, Plaintiff filed the current Motion for
Reconsideration. The Motion is now fully briefed and ripe for
true that “neither the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure
nor the Local Rules provide for a motion to
reconsider.” Magnus Pac. Corp. v. Advanced
Explosives Demolition, Inc., No. 2:13-CV-0060-EJL-CWD,
2014 WL 3533622, at *1 (D. Idaho July 15, 2014).
Nevertheless, the Ninth Circuit has instructed that courts
should treat motions to reconsider “as motions to alter
or amend under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 59(e).”
Id. (citing Sierra On-Line, Inc. v. Phoenix
Software, Inc., 739 F.2d 1415, 1419 (9th Cir. 1984)).
“While Rule 59(e) permits a district court to
reconsider and amend a previous order, the rule offers an
‘extraordinary remedy, to be used sparingly in the
interests of finality and conservation of judicial
resources.'” Carroll v. Nakatani, 342 F.3d
934, 945 (9th Cir. 2003) (quoting 12 James Wm. Moore et al.,
Moore's Federal Practice § 59.30 (3d ed. 2000)).
Accordingly, a district court should only grant a motion for
reconsideration if (1) it “is presented with newly
discovered evidence, ” (2) it “committed clear
error, ” or (3) “there is an intervening change
in the controlling law.” Id. (citation
omitted). “A Rule 59(e) motion may not be used to raise
arguments or present evidence for the first time when they
could reasonably have been raised earlier in the
litigation.” Id. “Whether or not to
grant reconsideration is committed to the sound discretion of
the court.” See Navajo Nation v. Confederated
Tribes & Bands of the Yakama Indian Nation, 331 F.3d
1041, 1046 (9th Cir. 2003) (citing Kona Enter., Inc. v.
Estate of Bishop, 229 F.3d 877, 883 (9th Cir. 2000)).
argues the Court should reconsider its summary judgment
decision because it committed three clear legal errors.
Plaintiff also asserts it has new evidence that requires
reconsideration. The Court will address each of these
arguments in turn.
Plaintiff argues the Court erred “in concluding that
[his] supervisor, Jeff Baird, who obviously had a deep and
thoroughgoing discriminatory animus against Hispanic or
Mexican people in general, and Plaintiff in particular,
because as a technical matter he was not among the small
group of people to whom the defendant delegated the decision
to fire Plaintiff.” Dkt. 37-1, at 2. Put differently,
Plaintiff argues the Court's decision is contrary to
Vance v. Ball State University, 133 S.Ct. 2434
Court directly addressed this argument in its last decision.
See Dkt. 33, at 17-18. Under Vance, when
“an employer . . . confine[s] decisionmaking power to a
small number of individuals, . . . the employer may be held
to have effectively delegated the power to take tangible
employment actions to the employees on whose
recommendations it relies.”
Vance, 133 S.Ct. at 2452 (emphasis added).
Vance necessarily requires that there be evidence
that the employer relied on the recommendation of an employee
in taking an employment action. The totality of the record
shows the City did not rely on Baird in terminating
primary evidence Plaintiff has relied on throughout this case
is the declaration of Daris Powell, a previous employee of
the City of Idaho Falls who had no personal knowledge of the
facts giving rise to this case. The Court struck portions of
Powell's declaration after finding them inadmissible.
Plaintiff does not challenge the decision to strike
Powell's declaration. Rather, Plaintiff continues to
insist that Powell's declaration shows Baird had
influence over the City's decision to fire him. The Court
reiterates that Powell's experience five years prior has
no bearing on the facts giving rise to this case.
Motion for Reconsideration, Plaintiff points to the
City's policy, which authorized Baird to discipline City
employees under his supervision (including Plaintiff). Just
because Baird was authorized, in general, to discipline
employees does not mean he disciplined Plaintiff in this
instance or recommended Plaintiff's termination to the
City. More evidence is required for Plaintiff's claim to
survive summary judgment.
also cites to the fact that Greg Weitzel had little or no
interaction with Plaintiff before he notified Plaintiff that
the City was terminating him. This fact also does not change
the outcome of this case. The record as a whole indicates the
City terminated Plaintiff because it found credible
complaints filed by City employees that accused Plaintiff of
sexual harassment. The record does not show that the City
terminated Plaintiff for poor performance over an extended
period of time. In such circumstances, it is not unusual for
a higher level manager, with little direct knowledge of the