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CHATTERJEE v. PHILADELPHIA FEDERATION OF TEACHERS

United States District Court, E.D. Pennsylvania


February 11, 2004.

DR. BASANT CHATTERJEE, Plaintiff,
v.
PHILADELPHIA FEDERATION OF TEACHERS, et al. Defendants; DR. BASANT CHATTERJEE, Plaintiff' v. THE MATHEMATICS, CIVICS AND SCIENCES CHARTER SCHOOL OF PHILADELPHIA, et al., Defendants

The opinion of the court was delivered by: LOUIS POLLAK, Senior District Judge

MEMORANDUM/ORDER

Before the court are three motions filed by Dr. Bassant Chatterjee. The first is a request to reconsider this court's July 15, 2003 Memorandum/Order which directed the clerk's office to cease efforts to appoint counsel for Dr. Chatterjee because such efforts had proven fruitless. The Page 2 court's July 15 Memorandum/Order further directed Dr. Chatterjee to proceed pro se if he were unable to obtain counsel and file a response to the defendant school district's Motion to Dismiss in case 01-5626, enabling the court to resolve the motion expeditiously. Dr. Chatterjee's second motion asks the court to reconsider Magistrate Judge Angell's July 18, 2003 Order scheduling a Conference/Hearing for August 21, 2003. Dr. Chatterjee's third motion requests a court order to collect "unpaid wages [and] compensation" from the School District of Philadelphia.

Dr. Chatterjee's motions for reconsideration were filed nearly four months after the entry of the orders concerned. Local Rule of Civil Procedure 7.1(g) provides that "Motions for reconsideration or reargument shall be served and filed within ten (10) days after the entry of the judgment, order, or decree concerned." E.D. Pa. Loc. R. Civ. P. 7.1(g). Since Dr. Chatterjee's motions for reconsideration were filed on November 24, 2003 and reference orders entered on July 15 and July 18, 2003, his motions are untimely.

  Even if timeliness were not at issue, the possibility of entertaining Dr. Chatterjee's motions for reconsideration is precluded on several grounds. First, because Magistrate Judge Angell issued the July 18, 2003 Order, a motion requesting reconsideration in this court is inappropriate. Furthermore, the July 18, 2003 Order was rendered moot by Dr. Chatterjee's failure to appear at the scheduled Conference/Hearing and subsequent orders issued by Magistrate Judge Angell providing for, and eventually cancelling, a hearing to show cause why case 99-4122 should not be dismissed.

  Dr. Chatterjee's motion to reconsider the July 15, 2003 order simply lacks merit. As the Third Circuit has stated,

  "The purpose of a motion for reconsideration," we have held, "is to correct Page 3 manifest errors of law or fact or to present newly discovered evidence." Harsco. Corp. v. Zlotnicki, 779 F.2d 906, 909 (3d Cir. 1985). Accordingly, a judgment may be altered or amended if the party seeking reconsideration shows at least one of the following grounds: (1) an intervening change in the controlling law; (2) the availability of new evidence . . . or (3) the need to correct a clear error of law or fact or to prevent manifest injustice. See North River Ins. Co. v. CIGNA Reinsurance Co., 52 F.3d 1194, 1218 (3d Cir. 1995).

 Max's Seafood Cafe by Lou-Ann, Inc. v. Quinteros, 176 F.3d 669, 677 (3d Cir. 1999). Dr. Chatterjee argues that his chances of obtaining representation have improved, though he cannot necessarily afford the costs associated with this litigation. This argument not only fails to meet the standard articulated by the Third Circuit in Max's Seafood Cafe, but also ignores crucial facts pointed out by this court's July 15, 2003 Order: that over the course of nearly a year, and after at least 10 attorneys have reviewed his case, Dr. Chatterjee has been unable to obtain representation.

  Dr. Chatterjee's final motion, requesting a court order to collect "unpaid wages [and] compensation" from the School District of Philadelphia is not one that is properly addressed to this court at this stage of this litigation. Counsel for the School District of Philadelphia, in a letter to this court, suggests that Dr. Chatterjee's claim can be addressed through the grievance process provided for by Article XV of the Collective Bargaining Agreement between the School District of Philadelphia and the Philadelphia Federation of Teachers. The court recommends that Dr. Chatterjee explore this option.

  Accordingly, it is hereby ORDERED that plaintiff Dr. Basant Chatterjee's two motions for reconsideration (Case No. 01-5626, Docket No. 15 and Case No. 99-4122, Docket No. 58) and his motion requesting an order for collection of "unpaid wages [and] compensation" from defendant School District of Philadelphia (Case No. 99-4122, Docket No. 58 and Case No. 01-5626, Page 4 Docket No. 15) are DENIED.

20040211

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