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Doutherd v. Montesdeoca

United States District Court, E.D. California

November 19, 2019

TYRONE DOUTHERD, Plaintiff,
v.
DORIS MARIE MONTESDEOCA; Estate of LUCILLE J. SMITH, deceased; UNITED PARCEL SERVICE, INC.; LIBERTY MUTUAL INSURANCE COMPANY; HARMONY HOME CARE, INC.; and DOES 1 through 30, inclusive, Defendants.

          MEMORANDUM AND ORDER

          MORRISON C. ENGLAND JR., UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE

         Plaintiff Tyrone Doutherd (“Plaintiff”) seeks, inter alia, an award of compensatory and punitive damages against Defendants Liberty Mutual Insurance Company (“Liberty Mutual”) and UPS Ground Freight, Inc. (“UPSF”)[1] for their roles in the alleged mishandling of Plaintiff's Workers' Compensation claim following a vehicle accident that occurred while Plaintiff was on the job.[2] On March 22, 2019, this Court dismissed all claims against Liberty Mutual with prejudice. ECF No. 96. Presently before the Court are three motions: (1) Plaintiff's Motion for Reconsideration of the Order granting UPSF's lien application, ECF No. 89; (2) Plaintiff's Motion to Amend the First Amended Complaint (“FAC”), ECF No. 101; and (3) Liberty Mutual's Bill of Costs, ECF No. 118. For the reasons set forth below, Plaintiff's Motion for Reconsideration is DENIED, Plaintiff's Motion to Amend the FAC is also DENIED, and Liberty Mutual's Bill of Costs is APPROVED.[3]

         BACKGROUND[4]

         Plaintiff's claims arise out of an August 27, 2015, collision with a car driven by Defendant Doris Montesdoeca. Plaintiff was operating a loaded transport truck and trailer owned by UPSF. Plaintiff claims that Montesdoeca was fighting with a male passenger in the back seat when she lost control of the car and careened into the divider. The car rebounded from the divider and smashed into the front passenger side of Plaintiff's truck.

         Plaintiff claims to have suffered significant back and shoulder pain as well as knee damage as a result of the accident. He visited the emergency room thereafter, began a course of physical therapy, and returned to work for seven weeks of “light duty” when permitted to do so. At the end of the seven weeks, Plaintiff was required to return to full duty, purportedly before he was healed. He had no more treatment, therapy, or prescribed medication and was not re-evaluated to determine his readiness to return to work.

         According to Plaintiff, UPSF initially prepared a Workers' Compensation claim on behalf of Plaintiff but did not advise him on his rights to benefits or compensation. Plaintiff did not know if the forms were submitted or if his claims were processed. He learned his claim was opened and then closed in November 2015 from the “vehicle owner's insurance carrier, ” not from UPSF or Liberty Mutual.

         Plaintiff initiated the present action in Sacramento Superior Court on August 25, 2017, claiming, in part, that UPSF and Liberty Mutual acted in concert to adopt an illegal pattern and practice of refusing to process Workers' Compensation claims for injured UPSF employees. The case was removed to this Court on October 24, 2017, (ECF No. 1) and the Initial Pretrial Scheduling Order (“PTSO”) was issued the following day (ECF No. 4).

         On November 2, 2017, Liberty Mutual filed a Motion to Dismiss Plaintiff's Complaint on grounds that the claims were barred by the exclusivity rule of the Workers' Compensation Act (“WCA”). ECF No. 8. On August 14, 2018, the Court granted Liberty Mutual's Motion to Dismiss Plaintiff's Sixth and Seventh Causes of Action with leave to amend, giving Plaintiff one opportunity to assert a viable cause of action against Liberty Mutual. ECF No. 31. On September 14, 2018, Plaintiff filed his FAC, adding new allegations and causes of action against UPSF. ECF Nos. 33, 34. On September 26, 2018, UPSF filed a Motion to Strike those additions to the FAC on grounds that Plaintiff failed to obtain leave to amend. ECF No. 36.

         On September 28, 2018, UPSF filed an Application for Lien, claiming a first lien against any settlement or judgment in this action, and in the amount of any additional sum which hereafter may be paid as workers' compensation benefits to or on behalf of Plaintiff. ECF No. 42. Plaintiff filed objections on December 12, 2018. ECF No. 64. On December 20, 2018, UPSF filed an Amended Application for Lien (ECF No. 75), and Plaintiff filed objections on December 31, 2018 (ECF No. 82). This Court granted UPSF's amended application on January 2, 2019; however, the Order was signed on December 30, 2018. ECF No. 83.

         On March 22, 2019, this Court dismissed Plaintiff's claims against Liberty Mutual without leave to amend and granted UPSF's Motion to Strike, finding that Plaintiff failed to seek leave to amend his complaint as to UPSF and must either meet and confer with UPSF or seek the Court's leave to file an amended complaint. ECF No. 96. On April 9, 2019, Plaintiff filed a Motion to Amend the FAC. ECF No. 101.

         STANDARD

         A. Motion for Reconsideration

         A court should not revisit its own decisions unless extraordinary circumstances show that its prior decision was wrong. Christianson v. Colt Indus. Operating Corp., 486 U.S. 800, 816 (1988). This principle is generally embodied in the law of the case doctrine. That doctrine counsels against reopening questions once resolved in ongoing litigation. Pyramid Lake Paiute Tribe of Indians v. Hodel, 882 F.2d 364, 369 (9th Cir. 1989) (citing 18 Charles Alan Wright & Arthur R. Miller, Federal Practice and Procedure § 4478). Nonetheless, a court order resolving fewer than all of the claims among all of the parties is “subject to revision at any time before the entry of judgment adjudicating all the claims and the rights and liabilities of all the parties.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 54(b). Where reconsideration of a non-final order is sought, the court has “inherent jurisdiction to modify, alter or revoke it.” United States v. Martin, 226 F.3d 1042, 1048-49 (9th Cir. 2000), cert. denied, 532 U.S. 1002 (2001). The major grounds that justify reconsideration involve an intervening change of controlling law, the availability of new evidence, or the need to correct a clear error or prevent manifest injustice. Pyramid, 882 F.2d at 369.

         B. Motion to ...


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