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Bangura v. Shulkin

United States District Court, D. Massachusetts

March 14, 2019

ROSALINE BANGURA, Plaintiff,
v.
DAVID J. SHULKIN, Secretary of the DEPARTMENT OF VETERANS AFFAIRS, Defendant.

          ORDER ON PLAINTIFF'S MOTION TO VACATE

          Judith Gail Dein United States Magistrate Judge

         I. INTRODUCTION

         This matter is presently before the court on “Plaintiff's Motion for the Court to Vacate its Erroneous and Impatient Order Made on or about January 10, 2019, Denying Plaintiff's Motion to Reconsider, and for the Court to Allow the Parties the Opportunity of Meeting and Complying with its Order of December 7, 2018.” (Docket No. 102). The plaintiff contends that this court erred in ruling on her motion for reconsideration without first giving the parties the opportunity to meet and confer. Upon consideration of the parties' submissions and after reviewing the transcript and audio recording of this court's hearing on December 7, 2018, the plaintiff's motion is DENIED.

         II. BACKGROUND

         The factual background relevant to the present motion is described in this court's September 26, 2018 Memorandum of Decision and Order on Cross-Motions for Summary Judgment (“Summary Judgment Order”). Familiarity with the substance of the Summary Judgment Order, including both the facts and legal analysis, is assumed and will not be repeated here.

         After this court issued its Summary Judgment Order, the plaintiff moved for reconsideration on October 10, 2018. (See Docket No. 86). In the plaintiff's motion for reconsideration, she argued, inter alia, that the existence of surveillance cameras in the plaintiff's workplace during the relevant period was a disputed issue of material fact, and that this court improperly made a credibility determination on that issue.

         This court held a hearing on the motion on December 7, 2018. (See Docket No. 96). During the hearing, plaintiff's counsel argued that the plaintiff had not received the defendant's evidence about the surveillance cameras - which attested that the cameras were installed after the events at issue in this case - until the defendant belatedly supplemented an interrogatory answer in connection with its motion for summary judgment.[1] (See Docket No. 79; see also Docket No. 81 at 31). Despite having received these affidavits before filing her opposition to the motion for summary judgment, the plaintiff had not requested additional discovery on the issue during the summary judgment briefing.

         At the hearing on the plaintiff's motion for reconsideration, this court asked the plaintiff what additional discovery she would have requested on the existence of the cameras if she had received the defendant's supplemental interrogatory answer sooner. When the plaintiff failed to identify anything specific at the hearing that she would have sought, this court instructed the parties as follows:

COURT: I will take [the motion for reconsideration] under advisement, but what I would like in the - - I would like you [the plaintiff] to submit something that says what you would, what discovery, if any, you would take on the issue of the cameras.
And why don't you [the defendant] look and see if there's any documentation or something that [reflects] when things were installed ....
So three weeks from today I'd like . . . supplemental submissions. And I, I don't want anybody to read into this though. I don't know where I would go. I don't know that it's necessary.
After learning that setting a deadline of three weeks would intersect with the holidays, the court adjusted the deadline:
THE COURT: Well, why don't we say by January 7th.
MS. BALAKRISHNA (Government's attorney): That should - - yeah. I mean, I - - THE COURT: If you can talk ...

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