United States District Court, E.D. North Carolina, Western Division
PURYEAR TRANSPORTATION COMPANY, INC., PURYEAR TANK LINES, INC., and HAROLD A. PURYEAR TRUCKING CO., Plaintiffs,
UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, Defendant.
TERRENCE W. BOYLE CHIEF UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
cause comes before the Court on the government's motions
for reconsideration of the Court's August 2019 order
denying the government's motion to dismiss with respect
to Harold A. Puryear Trucking's claim [DE 22] and for
extension of time to answer and to stay proceedings [DE 20].
For the reasons that follow, the motion for reconsideration
[DE 22] is DENIED. The motion for extension [DE 20] is
54(b) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure provides that a
court may revise any order entered prior to entry of final
judgment. The decision to do so lies within the discretion of
the court, which is not bound by the strict standards
applicable to requests to reconsider final judgment but which
should be guided by the principles of the doctrine of law of
the case. Am. Canoe Ass'n v. Murphy Farms, Inc.,
326 F.3d 505, 514-15 (4th Cir. 2003). "Thus, a court may
revise an interlocutory order under the same circumstances in
which it may depart from the law of the case: (1) a
subsequent trial producing substantially different evidence;
(2) a change in applicable law; or (3) clear error causing
manifest injustice." Carlson v. Boston Sci.
Corp., 856 F.3d 320, 325 (4th Cir. 2017) (internal
quotation, alterations, and citation omitted) (noting
similarity of this standard to that applicable to Rule 59(e)
motions except that law-of-the-case standard allows for new
evidence discovered during litigation as opposed to evidence
not available at trial to serve as basis for reconsideration
government has presented no new evidence or change in law in
support of its motion. Instead, the government claims clear
error causing manifest injustice. The government argues the
Court erred in finding that Harold A. Puryear Trucking Co.
("Puryear Trucking") satisfied the presentation of
claim requirement of the FTCA and denying the
government's motion to dismiss with respect to that
claim. Specifically, the government argues the Court erred in
finding that Puryear Trucking presented an adequate
administrative claim despite the scrivener's error on the
Standard Form 95, which identified Puryear Tank Lines as the
claimant but included multiple supporting documents
indicating that Puryear Trucking was the claimant.
demonstrate that a court committed a clear error which would
result in manifest injustice, the decision must be "dead
wrong," not "just maybe or probably wrong; it
must... strike [the court] as wrong with the force of a
five-week-old, unrefrigerated dead fish." TFWS, Inc.
v. Franchot, 572 F.3d 186, 194 (4th Cir. 2009) (quoting
Bellsouth Telesensor v. Info Sys. & Networks
Corp., 1995 WL 520978, *5 n. 6 (4th Cir. 1995)).
Court has reviewed the submissions of the parties and does
not conclude that its decision was wrong. Puryear Trucking
presented its claim to the United States Postal Service and
was denied, satisfying its obligations under 28 U.S.C. §
2675. The scrivener's error does not invalidate this
fact. The government's motion for reconsideration must be
for extension of time and to stay proceedings
government has not answered because it intended to file the
motion for reconsideration, which deals with an issue of this
Court's subject-matter jurisdiction. For good cause
shown, the government's motion for extension of time is
granted. Discovery in this case shall begin in accord with
the Local Civil Rules after the government's answer is
filed and the Clerk sets the timetable for Rule 26(f) meeting
and initial disclosures.
foregoing reasons, the government's motion for
reconsideration [DE 22] is DENIED. The government's
motion for extension [DE 20] is GRANTED. The Court grants the
government an additional fourteen days from the date of this
order to file its answer. Discovery in this case shall begin
in accord with the Local Civil Rules after the
government's answer is filed and the Clerk sets the
timetable for Rule 26(f) meeting and initial disclosures.