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Brown v. Wal-Mart Stores East, LP

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

August 22, 2017

MARY BROWN and CLAUDE BROWN, Plaintiff,
v.
WAL-MART STORES EAST, LP, and JOHN DOE, Defendants.

          OPINION AND ORDER

          WILLIAM S. DUFFEY, JR., UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.

         This matter is before the Court on Plaintiffs Mary Brown (“Plaintiff Mary”) and Claude Brown's (“Plaintiff Claude”) (together, “Plaintiffs”) Motion to Vacate the Court's Order on Defendant's Motion for Summary Judgment [66] (“Motion for Reconsideration”).

         I. BACKGROUND

         On the evening of December 29, 2013, Plaintiff Mary was shopping inside a Wal-Mart store (“Wal-Mart”) operated by Defendant. (Defendant's Statement of Material Facts [41] (“DSMF”) ¶ 1). At 6:09:52 p.m., an unknown Wal-Mart customer hit a shampoo display with her shopping cart, knocking shampoo bottles onto the floor. (DSMF ¶ 2; [42] ¶ 9; [42] at 8-10). The bottles broke and spilled shampoo on the ground in front of the display. (DSMF ¶ 2). Four minutes and sixteen seconds later, at 6:14:08 p.m., Plaintiff Mary slipped and fell in the spilled shampoo. (DSMF ¶ 4; [42] ¶ 9; [42] at 14-15). From the time that the spill occurred through the time that Plaintiff Mary fell, there were no Wal-Mart employees in the immediate vicinity of the shampoo. (DSMF ¶¶ 7-8; see also [40.3] ¶¶ 9-10; [42] ¶ 20).

         On December 28, 2015, Plaintiffs filed their Complaint [1.2] in the State Court of Cobb County, Georgia. Plaintiff Mary asserted a claim for premises liability, Plaintiff Claude asserted a claim for loss of consortium, and both Plaintiffs sought attorney's fees and costs under O.C.G.A § 13-6-11. On January 13, 2016, Defendant filed its Notice of Removal [1], removing this action from state court. On August 8, 2016, Defendant filed its Motion for Summary Judgment [40], which the Court granted on January 27, 2017. ([64] (“January 2017 Order”). The Court found that Defendant was entitled to summary judgment because the undisputed evidence showed that Defendant lacked actual or constructive knowledge of the shampoo spill in which Plaintiff Mary slipped. On February 24, 2017, Plaintiffs filed their Motion for Reconsideration, challenging the Court's January 2017 Order. Plaintiffs claim that the Order was based on a “mistake” of fact, and that Defendant engaged in discovery misconduct that warrants relief from the judgment.

         II. DISCUSSION

         A. Legal Standard

         Motions for reconsideration “should be reserved for extraordinary circumstances” and are not to “be filed as a matter of routine practice.” LR 7.2(E), NDGa; Adler v. Wallace Computer Servs., Inc., 202 F.R.D. 666, 675 (N.D.Ga. 2001). If a motion for reconsideration is “absolutely necessary, ” it must be “filed with the clerk of court within twenty-eight (28) days after entry of the order or judgment.” LR 7.2(E), NDGa.

         Rule 60(b) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure provides limited circumstances in which courts may grant relief from a final judgment or order:

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:
(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 ...

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