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Hamzah v. Woodman's Food Market, Inc.

United States District Court, W.D. Wisconsin

July 28, 2016

SHARIF HAMZAH, Plaintiff,
v.
WOODMAN’S FOOD MARKET, INC., Defendant.

          OPINION AND ORDER

          WILLIAM M. CONLEY, DISTRICT JUDGE

         Following entry of summary judgment, plaintiff Sharif Hamzah once again seeks to revive his breach of contract claim against defendant Woodman’s Food Market, Inc. (“Woodman’s”), with a motion for reconsideration of the court’s earlier order denying him leave to amend. (Dkt. #81.) As explained in the court’s previous order addressing plaintiff’s breach of contract claim, a party seeking to alter or amend a judgment under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 59(e) must “present either newly discovered evidence or establish a manifest error of law or fact.” Oto v. Metro. Life Ins. Co., 224 F.3d 601, 606 (7th Cir. 2000). Plaintiff argues he is entitled to relief under the former route, asserting that “[n]ew evidence discovered during the depositions of Martinson and Bemis permit a jury to reasonably conclude, using the newly discovered Woodman’s definition of what constitutes disobeying a supervisor’s order, that Martinson decided to discharge Hamzah because he inferred, without any supporting evidence, that Hamzah disobeyed [supervisor Jacob] Bemis’ order.” (Pl.’s Opening Br. (dkt. #87) at 5.)

         This supposed new evidence is now offered to overcome the court’s finding that Hamzah was fired for committing a Group I violation for insubordination, which the court already addressed in detail in its earlier opinions in this case. Specifically, Hamzah asserts he was until recently unaware that Woodman’s does not consider an employee to be insubordinate if he responds “no” to a supervisor’s command to do something yet “then [goes] on [to] comply with the supervisor’s order through his actions.” (Id. at 8.) This newfound knowledge is apparently the product of the following exchange at the deposition of Dale Martinson, the individual who made the ultimate decision to fire Hamzah:

Q: What if the employee actually did the job after that, told a supervisor no, just because he wanted to -- he wanted to resist, and then he actually followed the order?
A: That’s insubordination to the supervisor.
Q: Even if he actually followed the order?
A: The order was not to do a job.
Q: Right. And if -- A: Pulling the carts off the wall. If he continued to do it, in my book, that’s insubordination.
Q: What if he said “no” and then stopped?
A: If he said “no” and he stopped doing it?
Q: Right.
A: Then he’s fine.
Q: So that’s not ...

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