United States District Court, S.D. Indiana, Indianapolis Division
ERIC S. TESLER, Plaintiff,
MILLER/HOWARD INVESTMENTS, INC., a Delaware Corporation, Defendant.
ENTRY ON DEFENDANT'S MOTION TO
WALTON PRATT, JUDGE
matter is before the Court on a Motion to Reconsider the
Court's Entry on its Motion for Summary Judgment filed by
Defendant Miller/Howard Investments, Inc.
(“Miller/Howard”) (Filing No. 118). The
Court previously determined that factual disputes precluded
summary judgment on Plaintiff Eric S. Tesler's
(“Tesler”) breach of contract claim, and that
claim should be permitted to go to trial (Filing No.
111). Miller/Howard asks the Court to reconsider its
summary judgment entry. For the following reasons, the Court
grants in part and denies in part
Miller/Howard's Motion to Reconsider.
detailed recitation of the facts of this case is provided in
the Court's Entry on Defendant's Motion for Summary
Judgment. (Filing No. 111.) The Court provides a
brief summary of the facts below.
was formerly employed as a marketer of financial services for
Miller/Howard-a financial management corporation that sells
securities. Miller/Howard hired Tesler in October 2010 after
recruiting him and negotiating the terms of his employment.
Upon the initiation of his employment, Miller/Howard provided
Tesler with a document called “Terms of employment and
compensation”. (Filing No. 85-1 at 9.) Tesler
alleges this document and other documents Miller/Howard
provided to him when he was hired constitute a contract
obligating Miller/Howard to pay him an “ongoing”
3% commission on accounts he generated while employed there.
He asserts Miller/Howard continues to owe him this commission
even after his employment endedso long as the accounts he
generated remain open. Miller/Howard disputes that it signed
a contract with Tesler; it refuses to pay him the 3%
commission beyond the termination of his employment.
March 2016, Tesler brought this action against Miller/Howard
seeking to recover the unpaid commissions he alleges to have
earned after his employment ended plus some additional money
for commissions he contends were improperly calculated during
his employment. Tesler's Second Amended Complaint asserts
claims for violation of Indiana's Wage Payment Statute,
unjust enrichment, conversion, negligence, breach of
fiduciary duty, fraud, and breach of contract. (Filing
No. 35.) The claims under the Wage Payment Statute and
for conversion and fraud were abandoned or dismissed.
Miller/Howard moved for summary judgment on all remaining
claims. (Filing No. 84.) The Court granted summary
judgment on Tesler's claims for unjust enrichment,
negligence, and breach of fiduciary duty, but denied
Miller/Howard's motion on Tesler's breach of contract
claim, leaving that claim to be resolved at trial.
(Filing No. 111.) Miller/Howard asks the Court to
reconsider that order. (Filing No. 118.)
Motion is properly classified as a motion to reconsider under
Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 54(b) because no final
judgment has been entered in this case. See Fed. R.
Civ. P. 54(b) (“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
Court applies a similar standard as applied to a motion to
alter or amend a judgment under Rule 59(e). Motions to
reconsider filed pursuant to Rule 54(b) or Rule 59(e) are for
the purpose of correcting manifest errors of law or fact or
to present newly discovered evidence not available at the
time of briefing. H.E. McGonigal, Inc. v. Harleysville
Lakes States Ins. Co., 2017 WL 1382764 at *1 (S.D. Ind.
April 18, 2017).
to reconsider “serve a limited function: to correct
manifest errors of law or fact or 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.” Bank of Waunakee v. Rochester Cheese
Sales, Inc., 906 F.2d 1185, 1191 (7th Cir. 1990)
purpose of a motion for reconsideration is to ask the court
to reconsider matters “properly encompassed in a
decision on the merits.” Osterneck v. Ernst &
Whinney, 489 U.S. 169, 174 (1989). The motion
“will be successful only where the movant clearly
establishes: (1) that the court committed a manifest error of
law or fact, or (2) that newly discovered evidence precluded
an entry of judgment.” Cincinnati Life Ins. Co. v.
Beyrer, 722 F.3d 939, 954 (7th Cir. 2013) (citation and
quotation marks omitted). A manifest error “is not
demonstrated by the disappointment of the losing party. It is
the wholesale disregard, misapplication, or failure to
recognize controlling precedent.” Oto v.
Metropolitan Life Ins. Co., 244 F.3d 601, 606 (7th Cir.
2000) (citation and quotation marks omitted).
is not an appropriate forum for rehashing previously rejected
arguments or arguing matters that could have been heard
during the pendency of the previous motion.” Ahmed
v. Ashcroft, 388 F.3d 247, 249 (7th Cir. 2004) (citation
and quotation marks omitted). Relief pursuant to a motion to
reconsider is an “extraordinary remed[y] reserved for
the exceptional case.” Foster v. DeLuca, 545
F.3d 582, 584 (7th Cir. 2008).
makes two arguments in support of its Motion to Reconsider.
First, it argues that the Court was required to construe the
alleged contract as a matter of law. And second, that ...