United States District Court, S.D. Indiana, Indianapolis Division
ORDER ON PENDING MOTIONS
TANYA WALTON PRATT, District Judge.
There are several motions pending before the Court including: Plaintiff's and Third Party Defendants', Wine & Canvas Development LLC ("Wine & Canvas") and Tamara Scott ("Ms. Scott"), Donald McCracken ("Mr. McCracken"), and Anthony Scott ("Mr. Scott") (collectively, "Wine & Canvas"), Motion in Limine (Filing No. 348), Motion for Reconsideration (Filing No. 353), and Motion for Extension of Time (Filing No. 361); also Defendant and Third Party Plaintiff's, Christopher Muylle ("Mr. Muylle"), Motion in Limine (Filing No. 345). The Court makes the following rulings on the pending motions.
I. Motion for Extension of Time
On October 8, 2014, according to the parties' Case Management Plan and deadlines established on November 15, 2012, the parties' final pretrial filings were due. These filings were to include an exhibit list, witness list, any stipulations of fact, any deposition designations, and trial briefs. Wine & Canvas filed a Motion for Extension of time to October 10, 2014, because of a staffing change in Wine & Canvas' counsel's office.
It has come to the Court's attention that preceding the filing of this motion at 7:09 p.m. on October 8, 2014, counsel for Wine & Canvas and Mr. Muylle had communicated about if an extension would be requested, who had responsibility for filing said extension, and the timeliness of the filing of an extension. As has become typical in this litigation, the parties did not reach a mutually agreeable solution and Wine & Canvas filed its motion after the close of Court business, preventing a ruling on the extension prior to the deadline passing. Mr. Muylle timely filed his final pretrial documents in accordance with the deadline.
Mr. Muylle now objects to Wine & Canvas' extension, reminding the Court of the various instances in which Wine & Canvas has missed prior deadlines and violated Court rulings or rules. He seeks sanction against Wine & Canvas, including prohibiting Wine & Canvas from presenting witnesses or exhibits at trial. See In re Matter of Maurice, 21 F.3d 767, 773 (7th Cir. 1994) ("Under Fed.R.Civ.P. 37 a wide range of sanctions are available to a judge including (1) refusing to allow the disobedient party from supporting or opposing designated claims or defenses, or from prohibiting that party from introducing certain matters into evidence; and (2) the most drastic penalty of rendering a judgment of default against the disobedient party." (citations omitted)).
The Court finds that such harsh sanctions are not appropriate, given Wine & Canvas' reason given for requesting an extension, that it did not completely ignore the deadline, and Mr. Muylle's initial stance of not objecting, assuming the extension was reciprocal. Rather, the Court again warns Wine & Canvas and its counsel that Court deadlines, rules, and orders are to be strictly adhered to and given the quickly impending trial date no further extensions will be granted. Parties will be expected to meet the remaining deadlines, barring exceptional circumstances. Wine & Canvas' motion is GRANTED and their final pretrial documents are due NO LATER THAN 5 P.M. FRIDAY, OCTOBER 10, 2014.
II. MOTION FOR RECONSIDERATION
The Court entered its order on summary judgment on August 15, 2014, disposing of several of Wine & Canvas' claims. Wine & Canvas filed its motion to reconsider the Court's ruling on September 18, 2014. This motion falls under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 54(b), as no final judgment has been entered in this case. See Fed.R.Civ.P. 54(b) ("Otherwise, any order or other decision, however designated, that adjudicates fewer than all the claims or the rights and liabilities of fewer than all the parties does not end the action as to any of the claims or parties and may be revised at any time before the entry of a judgment adjudicating all the claims and all the parties' rights and liabilities."). However, the Court applies a similar standard as applied to motions to alter or amend a judgment under Rule 59(e).
Motions to reconsider "serve a limited function: to correct manifest errors of law or fact to present newly discovered evidence." State Farm Fire & Cas. Co. v. Nokes, 263 F.R.D. 518, 526 (N.D. Ind. 2009). The motion is to be used "where the Court has patently misunderstood a party, or has made a decision outside the adversarial issues presented to the Court by the parties, or has made an error not of reasoning but of apprehension." Davis v. Carmel Clay Sch., 286 F.R.D. 411, 412 (S.D. Ind. 2012) (quoting Bank of Waunakee v. Rochester Cheese Sales, Inc., 906 F.2d 1185, 1191 (7th Cir. 1990)) (additional quotations omitted).
Although Rule 54(b) does not impose a time limit to seek reconsideration of an order, it is still good practice to seek reconsideration in a timely fashion and in consideration of upcoming deadlines. Here, Wine & Canvas' motion was filed 34 days after the Court's entry of summary judgment, 3 weeks before final pretrial filings were due, 5 weeks before the final pretrial conference, and 2 months before trial. The Court finds that justice does not require the Court to reconsider its summary judgment order at this late date. The motion has taxed the parties' resources and preparation for trial, and the contents of the motion rehash previously addressed arguments, or raise arguments that should have been raised in the initial summary judgment motion. Therefore, the motion is DENIED.
III. MOTIONS IN LIMINE
The court excludes evidence on a motion in limine only if the evidence clearly is not admissible for any purpose. See Hawthorne Partners v. AT&T Technologies, Inc., 831 F.Supp. 1398, 1400 (N.D. Ill. 1993). Unless evidence meets this exacting standard, evidentiary rulings must be deferred until trial so questions of foundation, relevancy, and prejudice may be resolved in context. Id. at 1400-01. Moreover, denial of a motion in limine does not necessarily mean that all evidence contemplated by the motion is admissible; ...