Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

Big Chief Plant Services, LLC v. Panhandle Maintenance, LLC

United States District Court, D. New Mexico

April 3, 2019

BIG CHIEF PLANT SERVICES, LLC, Plaintiff/Counter-defendant,
v.
PANHANDLE MAINTENANCE, LLC, Defendant/Counterclaimant/Third-Party Plaintiff,
v.
3 BEAR DELAWARE OPERATING-NM, LLC, Third-Party Defendant.

          MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER DENYING DEFENDANT'S MOTION TO RECONSIDER

          STEPHAN M. VIDMAR UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE.

         THIS MATTER is before the Court on Defendant's Motion to Alter, Amend and/or Set Aside Order [Doc. 29], with supporting Memorandum [Doc. 30], filed on March 4, 2019. Plaintiff responded on March 7, 2019. [Doc. 31]. Defendant replied on March 21, 2019. [Doc. 41]. The parties consented to have the undersigned conduct dispositive proceedings in this matter. [Doc. 17]. The Court, having considered the briefing and the relevant law, and being otherwise fully advise in the premises, finds that the Motion is not well-taken and shall be DENIED.

         BACKGROUND

         Plaintiff Big Chief Plant Services, LLC (“Big Chief”) agreed to perform contractor's services on two properties owned by Third-Party Defendant 3 Bear Delaware Operating-NM, LLC (“3 Bear”). [Doc. 18] at 2; [Doc. 8] at 5. Plaintiff hired Defendant Panhandle Maintenance, LLC as its painting subcontractor for the projects, including one project at the “Outland location[].” [Doc. 8] at 5. Plaintiff refused to pay Defendant on the grounds that Defendant had overbilled for its services. Id. at 5-6. Defendant filed a mechanics' and materialmen's lien on the Outland property on October 19, 2018. Id. at 6, 11; see [Doc. 18] at 13-15. The County Clerk of Lea County recorded the lien on the same date. [Doc. 18] at 13.

         Plaintiff sued Defendant in New Mexico state court on November 20, 2018. [Doc. 1] at 4. Defendant removed to federal court based on diversity jurisdiction on December 27, 2018 and filed an Amended Notice of Removal on January 9, 2019. Id. at 1-2; [Doc. 8] at 1. Plaintiff asserts several claims arising from Defendant's alleged overbilling, including breach of contract, unjust enrichment, and violations of the New Mexico Unfair Practices Act. [Doc. 8] at 8-10. Defendant, in turn, has counterclaimed against Plaintiff for Plaintiff's failure to pay the disputed invoices. [Doc. 3] at 3-5.

         New Mexico law allows either the owner of the property at issue or an original contractor having a contract with that owner to petition the court for an order cancelling a lien. Plaintiff filed a petition requesting cancellation of the mechanics' and materialmen's lien (“the Petition”), [Doc. 8] at 10-11, alleging that it had statutory authority to do so because it was the original contractor on 3 Bear's property. [Doc. 18] at 4. Plaintiff advanced four substantive arguments for why the Court should cancel the lien. Id. at 4-7. In its Response to the Petition, Defendant advanced only one argument: that Plaintiff lacked the statutory authority to move to cancel the lien because it was not the owner of the underlying property. [Doc. 18-1] at 1-2. Defendant disputed neither Plaintiff's status as an original contractor nor the substance of the Petition. See Id. In its Reply, Plaintiff again maintained that it was an original contractor. [Doc. 18-2] at 3. Defendant never requested leave to file a surreply. The Court granted Plaintiff's Petition on February 4, 2019, finding that Plaintiff had the statutory authority to move to cancel the lien. [Doc. 20] at 3-4. Defendant filed the instant Motion on March 4, 2019. [Doc. 29].

         ANALYSIS

         Defendant now argues that the Court should “reconsider” its February 4, 2019 Memorandum Opinion and Order (the “Order”) under Federal Rules of Civil Procedure 59(e) and 60(b). [Doc. 29] at 1; [Doc. 30] at 7. It argues that a different company-Valerus Field Solutions LP-was the original contractor for the Outland location. [Doc. 30] at 3; see [Doc. 18-1] at 4. Defendant also argues that, had it contested the merits of the Petition, it would have prevailed. Id. at 5-8, 10-12. The Court rejects each of Defendant's arguments.

         Defendant's Motion is properly construed under Rule 59(e). The Federal Rules of Civil Procedure do not recognize motions for reconsideration. Ysais v. Richardson, 603 F.3d 1175, 1178 n.2 (10th Cir. 2010). Instead, a party seeking reconsideration of an order may file a motion to alter or amend judgment pursuant to Rule 59(e) or a motion seeking relief from judgment under Rule 60(b). Id. (citing Van Skiver v. United States, 952 F.2d 1241, 1243 (10th Cir. 1991)). A motion for reconsideration filed within 28 days of the challenged order must be construed under Rule 59(e). Hinzo v. N.M. Dep't of Corr., No. 10-cv-0506 JB/CG, 2012 WL 13081961, at *1 n.2 (D.N.M. May 29, 2012). As Defendant filed its Motion on March 4, 2019-exactly 28 days after the Court's February 4, 2019 Order-the Court construes it under Rule 59(e).

         Rule 59(e) allows a party to move to alter or amend a judgment. Fed.R.Civ.P. 59(e). But the judgment must be a final judgment. United States v. City of Albuquerque, No. 14-cv-1025 RB/SMV, 2018 WL 4815541, at *1 (D.N.M. Oct. 3, 2018); see N.M. Health Connections v. U.S. Dep't of Health & Human Servs., 340 F.Supp.3d 1112, 1149 (D.N.M. 2018). “Finality is judged by the standards applicable to determining [appellate] jurisdiction under 28 U.S.C. § 1291.” Wheeler Mach. Co. v. Mountain States Mineral Enters., Inc., 696 F.2d 787, 789 (10th Cir. 1993) (per curiam). Section 1291 states that “[t]he courts of appeals . . . shall have jurisdiction of appeals from all final decisions of the district courts of the United States.” 28 U.S.C. § 1291 (2018). “A final decision [under § 1291] must dispose of all claims by all parties, except a decision may otherwise be considered final if it is properly certified as a final judgment under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 54(b).” New Mexico v. Trujillo, 813 F.3d 1308, 1316 (10th Cir. 2016). Therefore, an order is final only if § 1291 and Rule 54(b) classify it as such. Id.

         Under Rule 54(b), if the court does not expressly state in its order deciding one (but not all) of the plaintiff's claims that “there is no just reason to delay” entering final judgment on the claim, then the order is not considered a final judgment. Fed R. Civ. P. 54(b). Rather, it is an interlocutory order. See State Nat'l Ins. Co. v. Cty. of Camden, 824 F.3d 399, 406 (3d Cir. 2016) (holding that the district court's order dismissing one defendant, but not all of them, “was not a final order . . . it was an interlocutory order that was not immediately appealable unless the District Court certified it under Rule 54(b), which it refused to do”); Interstate Power Co. v. Kan. City Power & Light Co., 992 F.2d 804, 807 (8th Cir. 1993)).

         In this case, Rule 59(e) offers no relief from the Order. The Court did not expressly certify the Order as final under Rule 54(b). Plaintiff and Defendant have other claims pending after cancellation of the lien. See [Doc. 1-1] at 8-10. The Order therefore is not a final judgment or order under § 1291 and Rule 54(b); it is an interlocutory order. As Rule 59(e) offers no relief from interlocutory orders, the Court will deny Defendant's Motion.

         Even if Rule 59(e) applied to the Order, Defendant's Motion would fail on the merits. “Grounds warranting a [Rule 59(e)] motion to reconsider include (1) an intervening change in the controlling law, (2) new evidence previously unavailable, and (3) the need to correct clear error or prevent manifest injustice.” Servants of the Paraclete v. Does, 204 F.3d 1005, 1012 (10th Cir. 2000). Courts should not grant relief under Rule 59(e) where the movant seeks only to “revisit issues already addressed or advance arguments that could have been raised in prior briefing.” Id. (citing Van Skiver, 952 F.2d at 1243). Defendant does not argue that there has been an intervening change in the controlling law, so the issue is whether either of the other two grounds are present here.

         Defendant incorrectly contends that new evidence has surfaced in the form of (1) an “Affidavit of Release and Payment of Debts and Claims, ” and (2) an affidavit from Defendant's employee, Edward Rodriguez. [Doc. 30] at 3-5. Defendant believes that these documents prove that Plaintiff was not an original contractor but, rather, a subcontractor, thereby eliminating Plaintiff's alleged statutory authority to move to cancel the lien. Id.; see [Doc. 30-1] at 7. These documents are not “new” evidence. “When supplementing a Rule 59(e) motion with additional evidence, the movant must show . . . that the evidence is newly discovered [and] if the evidence was available at the time of the decision being challenged, that counsel made a diligent yet unsuccessful effort to discover the evidence.” Grynberg v. Ivanhoe Energy, Inc., 490 Fed.Appx. 86, 101 (10th Cir. 2012) (unpublished) (alteration in original) (quoting Comm. for the First Amendment v. Campbell, 962 F.2d 1517, 1523 (10th Cir. 1992)). First, the “Affidavit of Release” was signed ...


Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.