United States District Court, E.D. Kentucky, Southern Division
MEMORANDUM OPINION & ORDER
Gregory F. Van Tatenhove United States District Judge
Joyce and Orville McCoy sued Lake Cumberland Medical
Associates after Ms. McCoy sustained injuries from a fall.
The Court granted summary judgment in favor of the Defendant
after applying the burden-shifting approach prescribed by
Kentucky law. Plaintiffs have now filed a Motion to Vacate
Judgment, pursuant to Fed. R. Civ. Pro. 59(e). Because the
Plaintiffs have not introduced new evidence or a change in
the law, and because the Plaintiffs have not demonstrated a
clear error of law or impending manifest injustice, their
Motion to Vacate is DENIED.
Motion stems from the same factual basis as the original
Memorandum Opinion & Order [R. 72], and therefore, the
facts from that opinion are incorporated here by reference.
Joyce McCoy fell in front of the entrance of Lake Cumberland
Medical Associates (LCMA). [R. 54 at 1.] No. one saw her
fall. Id. Evidence presented to the Court shows that
Ms. McCoy initially told paramedics and her doctor that she
tripped over a bag, but she now denies stating this, arguing
instead she fell over a thick mat in front of the door. [R.
44-5 at 2; R. 44-6 at 2; R. 54 at 3; R. 1-1 at 6.] She and
her husband, Orville McCoy sued for negligence, specifically
for failure to maintain the sidewalk and entrance area. [R.
1-1 at 6-8.]
filed a motion for summary judgment, stating Ms. McCoy could
not provide an absence of material as to why she fell. [R.
44.] For premises liability cases such as this,
Kentucky employs a burden-shifting approach:
Under Lanier, the customer retains the burden of
proving that (1) he or she had an encounter with a foreign
substance or other dangerous condition on the business
premises; (2) the encounter was a substantial factor in
causing the accident and the customer's injuries; and (3)
by reason of the presence of the substance or condition, the
business premises were not in a reasonably safe condition for
the use of business invitees.
Martin v. Mekanhart Corp., 113 S.W.3d 95, 98 (Ky.
2003) (citing Lanier v. Wal-Mart Stores,
Inc., 99 S.W.3d 431, 435-36 (Ky. 2003)). Proof of
these elements establishes a rebuttable presumption that will
survive summary judgment and shifts the burden to the
defendant to prove the exercise of reasonable care.
Court determined Ms. McCoy has provided expert testimony
sufficient to demonstrate, for the purposes of summary
judgment, that an unreasonably dangerous condition existed at
the entrance to LCMA. [R. 72 at 5.] However, the Court found
that the Plaintiffs provided no evidence, other than their
own pleadings and affidavits, to establish that she
encountered the dangerous condition or that the encounter
caused her accident. Id. at 5-8. At best, the
Plaintiffs could only provide their own speculation, which
the Sixth Circuit recognizes is not enough to survive summary
judgment. Id. at 7-8.
59(e) provides that a judgment can be set aside or amended
for one of four reasons: (1) to correct a clear error of law;
(2) to account for newly discovered evidence; (3) to
accommodate an intervening change in the controlling law; or
(4) to otherwise prevent manifest injustice. See also,
ACLU of Ky. v. McCreary County, Ky., 607 F.3d 439, 450
(6th Cir. 2010); Intera Corp. v. Henderson, 428 F.3d
605, 620 (6th Cir. 2005). A district court has discretion to
grant or deny a Rule 59(e) motion. GenCorp., Inc. v. Am.
Int'l Underwriters, 178 F.3d 804, 832 (6th Cir.
1999). Re-argument is not an appropriate purpose for a motion
to reconsider. Davenport v. Corrections Corp. of
America, 2005 WL 2456241 (E.D. Ky. Oct. 4, 2005).
the Plaintiffs barely reference this standard in their
motion. Instead, the Plaintiffs reargue their
previous response to LCMA's Motion for Summary Judgment.
[Compare R. 54 with R. 74.] The Plaintiffs
do not even state which reason under Rule 59(e) they seek
amendment or vacation here. Instead, they restate their
arguments against summary judgment and law to support it. [R.
74.] There has been no new evidence presented, no change of
law, and no allegation that the Court has made a clear error
of law. Plaintiffs do not agree with the
Court's application of law, but that is not clear error.
The Plaintiffs are attempting to use a Rule 59(e) motion to
relitigate the issue, which is not a reason to grant a motion
to reconsider. Fed. R. Civ. Pro. 59(e); Davenport v.
Corrections Corp. of America, 2005 WL 2456241 (E.D. Ky.
Oct. 4, 2005).
motion is an attempt to relitigate issues already determined
by this Court. Because the Plaintiffs have failed to state a
reason to alter, amend, or vacate the judgment under Rule
59(e), the Court finds no reason to vacate its previous
decision. Accordingly, for the ...