United States District Court, E.D. Tennessee, Winchester Division
SHELBYVILLE HOSPITAL CORPORATION, d/b/a HERITAGE MEDICAL CENTER, Plaintiff,
E. WAYNE MOSLEY, M.D., Defendant.
W. PHILLIPS UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
matter is before the Court on Defendant's Motion for
Reconsideration [doc. 222], Plaintiff's Response in
Opposition , and Defendant's Reply [doc. 224]. For
the reasons herein, the Court will deny the motion.
February 10, 2016, this Court entered summary judgment
against Defendant E. Wayne Mosley, M.D. (“Dr.
Mosley”) after finding that he breached his Recruitment
Agreement [doc. 1-1] with Plaintiff Shelbyville Hospital
Corp. (“Shelbyville Hospital”). [Memo. Op., doc.
173, at 1-31]. Specifically, the Court determined that Dr.
Mosley- while he participated in a mission trip in Africa and
remained absent from his medical practice in Shelbyville,
Tennessee, from November 12, 2012 to at least December 17,
2012-breached the portion of the Recruitment Agreement that
required him to engage in the full-time practice of medicine
in Shelbyville. [Id.]. As to the issue of damages,
however, the Court reserved ruling and informed the parties
that at a later date it intended to hold an evidentiary
hearing. [Id. at 30-31]. Since then, each of the
parties has fully briefed the issue of damages, and Dr.
Mosley has requested the opportunity “to put on
proof” at the hearing to show that after the breach he
returned to his practice and is therefore entitled to receive
a setoff, or a reduction, in the amount of damages
“based upon partial continued performance.”
[Def.'s Resp. to Mot. for Damages, doc. 180, at 2- 3, 7].
The Court went on to schedule the hearing for May 24, 2017.
[Order Scheduling Hr'g, doc. 193, at 1].
about two weeks to spare before the hearing, Dr. Mosley
elected to obtain new counsel, who moved for reconsideration
of the Court's entry of summary judgment, [see
Def.'s First Mot. for Reconsideration, doc. 213, at 1-4],
and for empanelment of a jury to determine damages at the
hearing, [see Def.'s Mot. for Pretrial
Conference, doc. 214, at 1-2]. The Court denied Dr.
Mosley's request for reconsideration as to the issue of
liability, and it explained to the parties that no jury was
necessary at the evidentiary hearing because Dr. Mosley has
argued all along that his request for a setoff is equitable
in nature. [Order Denying Reconsideration, doc. 218, at 1].
In response, Dr. Mosley again moved for reconsideration under
Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 54(b), re-contesting the
issue of liability and the Court's decision not to
empanel a jury for today's hearing on damages.
[See Def.'s Renewed Mot. for Reconsideration,
doc. 222, at 1-8]. The Court now will address Dr.
Rule 54(b), “any order or other decision . . . that
adjudicates fewer than all the claims . . . may be revised at
any time before the entry of a judgment adjudicating all the
claims.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 54(b). In short, Rule 54(b)
authorizes courts to reconsider interlocutory orders before
an entry of final judgment. A movant, to justify
reconsideration under Rule 54(b), must show “(1) an
intervening change of controlling law; (2) new evidence [is]
available; or (3) a need to correct a clear error or prevent
manifest injustice.” Rodriguez v. Tenn. Laborers
Health & Welfare Fund, 89 F. App'x 949, 959 (6th
Cir. 2004). “A motion under Rule 54(b), however, may
not ‘serve as a vehicle to identify facts or raise
legal arguments which could have been, but were not, raised
or adduced during the pendency of the motion of which
reconsideration was sought.'” Madden v. City of
Chattanooga, No. 108-cv-160, 2010 WL 670107, at *2 (E.D.
Tenn. Feb. 19, 2010) (quotation omitted). When considering a
motion under Rule 54(b), a district court “must . . .
temper” its ability to reconsider prior rulings with
“the sound public policy litigation be decided and then
put to an end.” Ind. State Dist. Council of
Laborers & HOD Carriers Pension & Welfare Fund v.
Omnicare, Inc., 719 F.3d 498, (6th Cir. 2013) (Gwin, J.,
concurring) (quotation omitted).
Dr. Mosley contends that the Court should reconsider its
nearly sixteen-month-old holding that Dr. Mosley is liable
for breach of the Recruitment Agreement because evidence in
the record shows that he arranged for his colleagues-fellow
physicians-to cover his patients in his absence. [Def.'s
Renewed Mot. for Reconsideration at 2-7]. To support this
argument, he directs the Court to Paragraph B.1 in the
Recruitment Agreement, which he believes permitted him to
assign his contractual requirements to other physicians while
he was away from Shelbyville, without incurring risk of
liability for breach: “Any locum tenens
coverage needed to meet the Full-Time Private Practice of
Medicine in the Community requirements of the Agreement shall
be at the expense of the Physician.” [Recruitment
Agreement ¶ B.1]. Second, Dr. Mosley maintains that in a
suit for breach of contract, damages is matter for the jury,
even if it involves exclusively equitable issues. He claims
that if the Court were to conduct the hearing without
empanelling a jury, it would encroach on his Seventh
Amendment right to have a jury deliberate on the existence
and amount of any damages.
the backdrop of these arguments, the Court would be remiss if
it did not recognize that Dr. Mosley appears to take issue
with how the Court denied his original motion for
reconsideration. In denying this motion-in which Dr. Mosley
contended that the Court, on summary judgment,
“erroneously overlooked” the “express
contractual language” in Paragraph B.1, [Def.'s
First. Mot. for Reconsideration at 2]-the Court relied on the
deposition testimonies of other physicians who served as Dr.
Mosley's professional colleagues, [see Order
Denying Reconsideration at 1]. Shelbyville Hospital presented
these depositions to the Court in response to Dr.
Mosley's request for reconsideration, to show that none
of Dr. Mosley's colleagues ever agreed to cover his
patients while he was in Africa. [See Pl.'s
Resp. to First Mot. for Reconsideration, doc. 215, at 3-6].
Dr. Mosley now finds fault with the Court because, in denying
his first motion for reconsideration, it relied on this
“new evidence, ” which Shelbyville Hospital had
“not previously urged [sic] by Plaintiff in support of
the summary judgment motion itself.” [Def.'s
Renewed Mot. Reconsideration at 1]. Based on this “new
evidence, ” he maintains that the Court should have
allowed him the “opportunity to rebut by filing a reply
brief” before denying his initial motion for
Local Rule 7.1
this district's local rules, “reply briefs are not
necessary and are not required by the Court, ” unless
“otherwise stated by the Court.” E.D. Tenn. L.R.
7.1(c). A party's right to file a reply brief is
therefore entirely in the Court's discretion. See
Hollingsworth v. Perry, 558 U.S. 183, 191 (2010) (noting
that a district court's local rules have “the force
of law” (quotation omitted)). The Court elected not to
invite Dr. Mosley to file a reply brief because, simply, it
did not require one. The Court has presided over this case
for over three years and is intimately familiar with its
issues, its history, and the parties. Partly from the
deposition testimonies that Shelbyville Hospital filed with
its response, the Court could plainly see that Dr.
Mosley's argument under Paragraph B.1 is newly
conceived-one that, as the non-movant on summary judgment, he
had never raised as a source of material factual dispute-and
is therefore untenable Rule 54(b)'s legal standard.
See Madden, 2010 WL 670107 at *2 (recognizing that a
motion for reconsideration under Rule 54(b) does not permit
parties to “tender new legal theories for the first
time” (quotation omitted)); see United States v.
Barnes, No. 3:08-cv-996-J-34MCR, 2012 WL 3194419, at *3
(M.D. Fla. June 5, 2012) (“[The defendant] fails to
identify any manifest error of law or fact in the Court's
Order or present a need to correct manifest injustice.
Instead, in the Motion, [the defendant's] new counsel
simply raises three arguments that [the defendant] did not
present in her summary judgment briefing.”).
addition, Dr. Mosley improperly characterizes this
evidence-the deposition testimony of his colleagues-as
“new evidence, ” a phrase that he repeats
throughout his renewed motion. [Def.'s Renewed Mot. for
Reconsideration at 1-4]. In the context of a motion for
reconsideration, “new evidence” means “the
evidence must have been previously unavailable, ” or in
other words, the evidence must “not . . . exist prior
to the district court's . . . . order.”
GenCorp, Inc. v. Am. Int'l Underwriters, 178
F.3d 804, 834 (6th Cir. 1999); see Honaker v. Innova,
Inc., No. 1:04-CV-132(M), 2007 WL 1832137 at *1 (W.D.
Ky. June 26, 2007) (determining that no new evidence
warranted change on reconsideration because the
“evidence that [the plaintiff] considers
‘new' was available months prior to the entry of .
. . judgment”). By this definition, the deposition
testimonies that the Court relied on to deny Dr. Mosley's
original motion for reconsideration were not new evidence
because they were taken before the Court entered summary
judgment in February 2016. [See Dr. Mosley Dep.,
doc. 215-1, at 1; Dortch Dep., doc. 215-2, at 1; Dr. Hazel
Dep., doc. 215-3, at 1; Dr. Ramprasad Dep., doc. 215-4, at
1]. The Court will therefore reject Dr. Mosley's renewed
argument for reconsideration.
The Locum Tenens ...