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Ford v. 1280 West Condominium Association, Inc.

United States District Court, N.D. Georgia, Atlanta Division

May 5, 2015

KIMBERLY FORD and MILDRED ROBINSON Plaintiffs,
v.
1280 WEST CONDOMINIUM ASSOCIATION, INC., et al., Defendants.

ORDER

RICHARD W. STORY, District Judge.

This case comes before the Court on Defendant's Motion for Attorney's Fees [84], Plaintiff's Motion for Reconsideration [86], Defendant's Motion for Sanctions [92], Plaintiff's Motion to Strike [94], and Plaintiff's Motion for Extension of Time to Complete Discovery [114]. After reviewing the record, the Court enters the following Order.

Background

This case arises out of Defendants' alleged unlawful housing discrimination against Plaintiffs Kimberly Ford and Mildred Robinson. The complete background of the case is laid out in the Court's September 2, 2014 Order. (See Sept. 2, 2014 Order ("Sept. 2 Order"), Dkt. [83] at 2-8.) In that Order, the Court dismissed Plaintiff's claims for breach of contract based on the deactivation of the building access cards; intentional interference with potential economic advantage and business relations; and fraud. The Court also denied Plaintiffs' Motion for Preliminary Injunction [78] and granted Defendant 1280 West Condominium Association, Inc.'s ("Association") Motion for Partial Summary Judgment on Its Counterclaim [38] for Plaintiffs' violation of the leasing restrictions in the condominium association's declaration. In that same Order, the Court also granted the Association's Motion to Compel Discovery [81]. Plaintiffs move for reconsideration of the Court's rulings.

Discussion

I. Defendant Association's Motion for Attorney's Fees [84]

In the September 2, 2014 Order [83] granting the Association's Motion to Compel [81], the Court found that the Association was entitled to an award of attorney's fees against Plaintiffs for the bringing of the motion. The Association was ordered to file a statement of fees within 7 days and Plaintiffs were allowed to file objections within 7 days thereafter. (Sept. 2 Order, Dkt. [83] at 40.) On September 5, 2014, the Association filed a Statement of Fees (the Statement was entered on the docket as a Motion for Attorney Fees [84]). Rather than file objections, Plaintiffs filed a Motion for Reconsideration [86] on September 12.[1] Plaintiffs having offered no valid objections to the fees requested by the Association, the Court finds that the fees are reasonable and awards fees of $1, 890.00 to the Association and against Plaintiffs.

II. Motion for Reconsideration [86]

Plaintiffs' Motion for Reconsideration [86] disputes a number of the Court's rulings in its September 2, 2014 Order. Plaintiffs argue that the Court erred by: (1) dismissing Defendants Martin Paine and Lisa Weibel for insufficient service of process; (2) dismissing the breach of contract claim based on the deactivation of the building access cards; (3) denying Plaintiffs' Motion for Preliminary Injunction [78]; (4) granting the Association's Motion to Compel [81]; and (5) granting summary judgment in favor of the Association on Plaintiffs' breach of the condominium declaration.

A. Legal Standard

Under the Local Rules of this Court, "[m]otions for reconsideration shall not be filed as a matter of routine practice[, ]" but rather, only when "absolutely necessary." LR 7.2(E), NDGa. Such absolute necessity arises where there is "(1) newly discovered evidence; (2) an intervening development or change in controlling law; or (3) a need to correct a clear error of law or fact." Bryan v. Murphy, 246 F.Supp.2d 1256, 1258-59 (N.D.Ga. 2003). However, a motion for reconsideration may not be used "to present the court with arguments already heard and dismissed or to repackage familiar arguments to test whether the court will change its mind." Id. at 1259. Furthermore, "[a] motion for reconsideration is not an opportunity for the moving party... to instruct the court on how the court could have done it better' the first time." Pres. Endangered Areas of Cobb's History, Inc. v. U.S. Army Corps of Eng'rs, 916 F.Supp. 1557, 1560 (N.D.Ga. 1995), aff'd, 87 F.3d 1242 (11th Cir. 1996).

B. Analysis

All of Plaintiffs' arguments are either arguments that were made in earlier briefing or arguments that could have been made in briefing the original motions. Plaintiffs do not identify newly discovered evidence or an intervening development or change in controlling law. In addition, the Court finds that as to each of the rulings Plaintiffs challenge, Plaintiffs fail to show a need to correct a clear error of law or fact.

First, the Court finds that no clear error in dismissing Defendants Paine and Weibel for insufficient service of process. As the Court explained, Plaintiffs failed to include any evidence of service in the record before the Court ruled on the motions to dismiss, even after Plaintiffs indicated at the June 3, 2014 scheduling conference that they would take steps to perfect service. Now, Plaintiffs attach two proofs of service for Defendants Paine and Weibel to their Motion for Reconsideration. (See Dkt. [87] at 30, 32.) The process server signed the documents on May 23, 2014, and thus the documents were in Plaintiffs' possession before the scheduling conference and well before the Court ruled on the motions to dismiss, and yet Plaintiffs failed to file them. What is more, the proof of service for Defendant Weibel shows that Ms. Weibel was not personally served as required under Rule 4(e)(2)(A). Instead, Chelle Gerber accepted ...


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