United States District Court, N.D. California
ORDER DENYING PETITIONERS' MOTION FOR NEW
JUDGMENT OR, IN THE ALTERNATIVE, TO ALTER OR AMEND THE
JUDGMENT DOCKET NOS. 25, 29
M. CHEN United States District Judge
Petitioners Randy and Elissa Stevens moved for vacatur of an
arbitration award in favor of Respondent Jiffy Lube
International, Inc. (“JLI”). Petitioners argued
that the arbitrator manifestly disregarded the law or her
decision was completely irrational for concluding that one of
their claims was time barred. On February 8, 2017, the Court
denied the motion and entered a final judgment in favor of
JLI. On March 8, 2017, Petitioners filed the currently
pending motion for a new judgment or, in the alternative, to
alter or amend the judgment. Having considered the
parties' briefs and accompanying submissions, the Court
deems this matter suitable for resolution without oral
argument. The Court thus VACATES the hearing on
Petitioners' motion. Petitioners' motion for relief
is hereby DENIED.
seek relief pursuant to Federal Rules of Civil Procedure
59(e) and 60(b).
Rule 59(e), a party may move to alter or amend a judgment
“no later than 28 days after the entry of the
judgment.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 59(e). A Rule 59(e) motion may
be based on a claim of newly discovered evidence.
While it is true that newly discovered evidence is one basis
for granting a Rule 59(e) motion, not just any evidence will
do. To prevail on a Rule 59(e) motion because of newly
discovered evidence, the movant must show the evidence (1)
existed at the time of the trial or proceeding at which the
ruling now protested was entered; (2) could not have been
discovered through due diligence; and (3) was of such
magnitude that production of it earlier would have been
likely to change the disposition of the case.
Duarte v. Bardales, 526 F.3d 563, 573 (9th Cir.
2008), abrogated on other grounds by Lozano v. Montoya
Alvarez, 134 S.Ct. 1224 (2014).
60(b) is similar. Under Rule 60(b), a court may relieve a
party from a final judgment based on “newly discovered
evidence that, with reasonable diligence, could not have been
discovered in time to move for a new trial under Rule
59(b).” Fed.R.Civ.P. 60(b)(2).
Newly Discovered Evidence
argue that they have newly discovered evidence that provides
an independent basis for vacating the arbitration award in
favor of JLI. Under the FAA, a court may vacate an
arbitration award “where there was evident partiality
or corruption in the arbitrators.” 9 U.S.C. § 10.
According to Petitioners, they have newly discovered evidence
showing that there was “evident partiality” in
the arbitrator, Gilda R. Turitz. Petitioners note that (1)
Ms. Turitz and her employer law firm, Sideman & Bancroft
(“S&B”) and (2) Shell Oil, which is the
parent of JLI, see Mot. at 1, both have a
relationship with (3) a third-party organization known as the
National Association of Minority and Women Owned Law Firms
have submitted evidence indicating the
• NAMWOLF “is a nonprofit trade association
comprised of a select group of preeminent minority and
women-owned law firms and other interested parties. NAMWOLF
is focused on being the leading organization in the legal
profession dedicated to diversity through developing lasting
partnerships between minority and women-owned law firms and
private/public entities.” R. Stevens Decl., Ex. A
(NAMWOLF website page).
• S&B “is an active member” of NAMWOLF.
R. Stevens Decl., Ex. L (S&B website page). For several
years preceding the arbitration, some S&B lawyers
participated in some NAMWOLF meetings and authored some
articles in NAMWOLF's Newsletter. See, e.g., R.
Stevens Decl., Exs. N-S (website pages, some from S&B).
Ms. Turitz herself participated in or at least registered for
some meetings (e.g., in 2013, 2015, and 2016) and
authored some articles. See, e.g., R. Stevens Decl.,
Exs. D, R-S, Ex. V (website pages, some from NAMWOLF). Ms.
Turitz was to attend the annual NAMWOLF meeting in 2016,
which was which was held on September 14-16, 2016,
see R. Stevens Decl., Ex. J (NAMWOLF ...