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Trollinger v. Tyson Foods

April 22, 2008

BIRDA TROLLINGER, VIRGINIA BRAVO, KELLY KESSINGER, IDOYNIA MCCOY, REGINA LEE, PATRICIA MIMS, LORI WINDHAM AND ALEXANDER HOWLETT, INDIVIDUALLY AND ON BEHALF OF ALL OTHERS SIMILARLY SITUATED PLAINTIFFS,
v.
TYSON FOODS, INC., JOHN TYSON, ARCHIBALD SCHAFFER III, RICHARD, BOND, KENNETH KIMBRO, GREG LEE, KAREN PERCIVAL, AHRAZUE WILT AND TIM MCCOY, DEFENDANTS.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Curtis L. Collier Chief United States District Judge

Chief Judge Curtis L. Collier

MEMORANDUM

Plaintiffs Birda Trollinger, et al., ("Plaintiffs") brought this lawsuit against defendant Tyson Foods, Inc. et al., ("Defendants") under the civil provisions of the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act ("RICO"). Plaintiffs proceeded under a somewhat novel and untested theory of liability based upon its claims Defendants employed illegal aliens at its facilities.

After years of litigation, the Court, on February 13, 2008, granted Defendants' motion for summary judgment, and issued judgment against all claims of Plaintiffs (Court File No. 534). On February 28, 2008, Plaintiffs moved for reconsideration, but only as to the Tyson Foods, Inc. ("Tyson") facility in Corydon, Indiana from 1999 to 2000, based upon evidence Plaintiffs alleged was newly-discovered and rectified the deficiencies in their case upon which summary judgment was granted (Court File No. 535). On March 3, 2008, Plaintiffs filed a motion to add additional evidence to their motion for reconsideration as it pertained to the Corydon facility from 2000 to 2005 (Court File No. 543). On April 18, 2008, Plaintiffs filed another motion to add additional evidence for the Corydon facility from 1999-2000 (Court File No. 548).

For the following reasons, the Court will DENY Plaintiffs' motions for reconsideration (Court File Nos. 535, 543, 548).

I. FACTS

The full facts of this case can be found in this Court's memorandum explaining it grant of summary judgment (Court File No. 533). Some additional facts are provided here specifically relevant to Plaintiffs' motions.

According to the Scheduling Order, the parties made their initial discovery disclosures on September 17, 2004 (Court File No. 32, p. 2). At that time, discovery was set to end on May 10, 2006, with a trial date set for November 7, 2006 (see id.). This deadline, as most if not all other deadlines in this case, was extended multiple times (see, e.g., Court File Nos. 263, 267, 272, 281, 418). In the First Management Order, the parties represented they would complete all discovery by July 30, 2007 (Court File No. 241, p. 7). Thus, from the time between their initial disclosures and the close of discovery,*fn1 the parties had three years, three months, and thirteen days.

Within ten days*fn2 after this Court granted summary judgment (Court File No. 534; February 13, 2008), Plaintiffs filed a motion for this Court to reconsider that decision pursuant to Fed. R. Civ. P. 59(e) based on evidence Plaintiffs asserted is newly discovered (Court File Nos. 535, 536; February 28, 2008). Plaintiffs provided a declaration from Christopher Carpenter, a former hourly-paid, line worker at the Tyson plant in Corydon, Indiana (Court File No. 536, Exhibit B). Mr. Carpenter asserts a Tyson supervisor, "Miguel," was "bringing in" 100-200 Spanish-speaking, Hispanic workers every two weeks to work at Tyson (id., p. 1). These workers would first be employed through Tandem Staffing (a temporary employment agency) (id.). Miguel would then offer the employees "fake papers," including social security numbers, for the price of $1,800 (id.). This cost could be paid at a rate of $100 per paycheck (id., p. 2). Mr. Carpenter's knowledge is derived from having overheard Miguel discussing this information with the Hispanic employees and with Miguel's colleagues (id., pp. 1-2).*fn3

Fifty days after the summary judgment decision and thirty-five days after their initial motion for reconsideration, Plaintiffs filed a motion to supplement their first motion for reconsideration (Court File No. 543; April 3, 2008), submitting an affidavit from Kimorie Yates, a former hourly-paid employee at the Corydon plant (id., Exhibit A).*fn4 Ms. Yates asserts she was present at several meetings where Tyson human resource employees would speak with illegal-alien workers in Spanish of upcoming audits by the Immigration and Naturalization Service ("INS") of Tyson's paperwork and I-9 forms (id., pp. 1-2). The human resource workers would then provide new identities and paperwork for the illegal workers (id., p. 2). Ms. Yates asserts there were thirty to fifty illegal aliens present at each meeting, and these meetings were held "a couple times a year from 2000-2005" (id.). Ms. Yates also asserts an illegal worker named "Hector" confessed to her he was "shipped" from Mexico to work at the Corydon facility (id., p. 3). Finally, Ms. Yates asserts that, at any given time, there were about 100 illegal aliens working on the floor of the Corydon facility (id.). Ms. Yates does not state the specific basis for this estimate (id.).

Sixty-five days after summary judgment, Plaintiffs filed another motion to supplement their motion for reconsideration (Court File No. 548). The motion seeks to add the declaration of Jerry Chism, a former hourly-paid employee from the Corydon plant (id., Exhibit A). Mr. Chism asserts he lived in an apartment building with Hispanic Tyson workers who informed him they were not legally in the United States and that a Tyson supervisor had provided them with fake identification documents (id.).

II. STANDARD OF REVIEW

A. Reconsideration of a Judgment

Federal Rule of Civil Procedure ("Fed. R. Civ. P.") 59(e) authorizes a court to alter or amend a judgment upon motion of a party no later than ten days after the judgment. The Rule does not specifically state upon what grounds such amendment is appropriate, but courts have, as follows:

(1) to correct a clear error of law; (2) to account for newly-discovered evidence; (3) to accommodate an intervening change in controlling law; or, (4) to otherwise prevent manifest injustice. CGH Transport, Inc. v. Quebecor World, Inc., 2008 WL 116385, *5 (6th Cir. January 8, 2008) (citing GenCorp, Inc. v. Am. Int'l Underwriters, 178 F.3d 804, 834 (6th Cir. 1999); accord Collison v. Int'l Chem. Workers Union, Local 217, 34 F.3d 233, 236 (4th Cir. 1994); McClendon v. B & H ...


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