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Lucas v. ICG Beckley, LLC

United States District Court, S.D. West Virginia, Charleston Division

April 19, 2018

JOHN R. LUCAS, et al., Plaintiffs,
v.
ICG BECKLEY, LLC, et al.,, Defendants.

          MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER

          THOMAS E. JOHNSTON, CHIEF JUDGE

         Pending before the Court is Plaintiffs' Motion to Set Aside Courts' [sic] Ruling Granting Summary Judgment. (ECF No. 53.) For the reasons below, the Court DENIES the motion.

         I. BACKGROUND

         This case arose out of an injury Plaintiff John Lucas suffered on May 5, 2013, while rock dusting an approximately half-mile portion of slope inside the Beckley Pocahontas Mine in Raleigh County, West Virginia. (ECF No. 1-1 at 7-8 ¶¶ 8, 10, 15-16.) The factual background is more thoroughly explained in the Court's previous memorandum opinion and order granting Defendants' unopposed Motion for Summary Judgment. (ECF No. 50.) In that memorandum opinion and order issued on February 23, 2018, the Court analyzed each of Plaintiffs' four claims from the Complaint and found no dispute of material fact that would preclude summary judgment. After applying the relevant law to the presented evidence, the Court further found that Defendants met their burden under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 56 and granted summary judgment in their favor on all four counts. A judgment order reflecting the Court's ruling was entered contemporaneously. (ECF No. 51.)

         On the same day that the Court granted summary judgment in Defendants' favor and dismissed this matter from the docket, Plaintiffs filed the current motion. In the motion's supporting memorandum, Plaintiffs state that while they were engaged in settlement negotiations prior to the judgment's entry, Defendants withdrew from those negotiations after the judgment order was issued. (ECF No. 54 at 1.) Defendants responded to the motion on March 6, 2018, (ECF No. 55), and Plaintiffs did not file a reply. As such, the motion is ripe for adjudication.

         II. LEGAL STANDARD

         The Federal Rules of Civil Procedure provide two similar but distinct rules for litigants seeking relief from an adverse judgment. See Fed. R. Civ. P. 59(e), 60(b). First, Rule 59(e) allows a party to file a motion to alter or amend the judgment within twenty-eight days of the judgment's entry. A motion under this rule is discretionary and “need not be granted unless the district court finds that there has been 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 406, 411 (4th Cir. 2010) (citing Ingle ex rel. Estate of Ingle v. Yelton, 439 F.3d 191, 197 (4th Cir. 2006) [hereinafter Ingle]). The motion “may not be used, however, to raise arguments which could have been raised prior to the issuance of the judgment . . . .” Pac. Ins. Co. v. Am. Nat. Fire Ins. Co., 148 F.3d 396, 403 (4th Cir. 1998) (citations omitted), cert. denied, 525 U.S. 1104 (1999). Relief under this rule “is an extraordinary remedy which should be used sparingly.” Id. (quoting 11 Charles Alan Wright & Arthur R. Miller, Federal Practice and Procedure § 2810.1 (2d ed. 1995)).

         On the other hand, a party may be afforded relief from an adverse judgment under Rule 60(b) if he shows one of the following:

(1) mistake, inadvertence, surprise, or excusable neglect;
(2) newly discovered evidence that, with reasonable diligence, could not have been discovered in time to move for a new trial under Rule 59(b);
(3) fraud (whether previously called intrinsic or extrinsic), misrepresentation, or misconduct by an opposing party;
(4) the judgment is void;
(5) the judgment has been satisfied, released or discharged; it is based on an earlier judgment that has been reversed or vacated; or applying it ...

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