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U.S. v. NATIONAL RAILROAD PASSENGER CORPORATION

United States District Court, E.D. Pennsylvania


August 24, 2004.

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, et al., Plaintiffs,
v.
NATIONAL RAILROAD PASSENGER CORPORATION, et al., Defendants/Third Party Plaintiffs, v. AMERICAN PREMIER UNDERWRITERS, INC., Third Party Defendant.

The opinion of the court was delivered by: ROBERT KELLY, Senior District Judge

MEMORANDUM

Presently before this Court is the Third Party Defendant's, American Premier Underwriters, Inc. ("APU"), Motion for Reconsideration. APU asks this Court to reconsider a portion of one of the Memorandum Opinions issued by this Court on June 15, 2004. For the following reasons, APU's Motion will be denied.

I. BACKGROUND

  This case arises from PCB contamination at the Paoli Rail Yard.*fn1 On June 15, 2004, this Court issued three separate Memorandum Opinions. In one of these Opinions, this Court granted the Third Party Plaintiffs', National Railroad Passenger Corporation ("Amtrak"), Consolidated Rail Corporation ("Conrail") and Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority ("SEPTA") (collectively the "Rail Companies"), Motion for Partial Summary Judgment on the Liability of APU under the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act ("CERCLA"), as well as under the Pennsylvania Hazardous Sites Cleanup Act ("HSCA").*fn2 This Court found that the Rail Companies satisfied all of the necessary elements to illustrate that APU is a liable party under the HSCA. The Rail Companies noted the purpose of that Motion (and subsequent June 15, 2004 Memorandum Opinion issued by this Court) only sought a declaration as to APU's liability under the HSCA and CERCLA. The Rail Companies stated that the amount of recoverable response costs, if any, would be determined at a later date. Thus, while this Court found APU liable under the HSCA, it withheld any monetary judgment against it since the applicable recovery by the Rail Companies against APU, if any, would be determined later.

  APU, through the instant Motion, asks this Court to reconsider the June 15, 2004 Memorandum Opinion which found that it was a liable party under the HSCA. Specifically, APU argues for the first time that the HSCA should not be applied against it because the effective date of the HSCA was December 13, 1988. APU states it had transferred the Paoli Rail Yard in 1976 and, thus, APU argues that the HSCA should not be retroactively applied.

  II. STANDARD

  "The purpose of a motion for reconsideration is to correct manifest errors of law or fact or to present newly discovered evidence." McNeal v. Maritank Phila, Inc., No. 97-0890, 1999 WL 80268, at *4 (E.D. Pa. Jan. 29, 1999) (citations omitted). Thus, "[a] motion for reconsideration is appropriate only where: (1) there has been an intervening change in controlling law; (2) new evidence is available; or (3) there is [a] need to correct a clear error of law or prevent manifest injustice." Wojtunik v. Kealy, No. 02-8410, 2003 WL 22238952, at * 1 (E.D. Pa. Sept. 30, 2003) (citing N. River Ins. Co. v. Cigna Reinsurance Co., 52 F.3d 1194, 1218 (3d Cir. 1995)). Additionally, "`[a] motion for reconsideration is not an opportunity for a party to present previously available evidence or new arguments.'" Federico v. Charterers Mut. Assurance Ass'n Ltd., 158 F. Supp.2d 565, 578 (E.D. Pa. 2001) (quoting Fed. Deposit Ins. Corp. v. Parkway Executive Office Ctr., No. 96-121, 97-122, 1997 WL 611674, at *1 (E.D. Pa. 1997) (citing Corrigan v. Methodist Hosp., 885 F. Supp. 127, 127 (E.D. Pa. 1995))); see McNeal, 1999 WL 80268, at *4 ("A motion for reconsideration may not be used to present a new legal theory for the first time or to raise new legal arguments that could have been made in support of the original motion.") (citing Vaidya v. Xerox Corp., No. 97-547, 1997 WL 732464, at *2 (E.D. Pa. Nov. 25, 1997)).

  III. DISCUSSION

  APU asks this Court to reconsider its June 15, 2004 Memorandum Opinion which held that APU is a liable party under the HSCA's statutory scheme. Specifically, APU argues that:

[h]ere, it is proper for the Court to reconsider its earlier decision granting partial summary judgment as to liability on the Rail Companies' HSCA claim against APU because granting partial summary judgment was a clear error of law. Specifically, the effective date of HSCA was December 23, 1988. It is undisputed that APU's predecessors deeded the Paoli Railyard to Conrail on April 1, 1976, almost 13 years prior to the effective date of HSCA, and, as of that date, APU's predecessors had no further involvement with Paoli.
(Mem. in Supp. of APU's Mot. for Reconsideration, at 2). APU argues that the HSCA should not be applied retroactively. This marks the first time that APU has made such a legal argument. In the June 15, 2004 Memorandum Opinion, this Court specifically detailed the arguments APU made in opposing the Rail Companies Motion for Partial Summary Judgment as to the Liability of APU under CERCLA and the HSCA. This Court properly examined all of the arguments APU made in response to the Rail Companies Motion for Partial Summary Judgment. Importantly, APU never made the legal argument it now makes in its Motion for Reconsideration. There is no evidence that APU lacked the ability to raise this argument in its opposition to the Rail Companies Motion for Partial Summary Judgment as to the liability of APU under the HSCA. Thus, APU's argument which forms the basis for the instant Motion is a new legal argument that was previously available to APU. As set forth in supra Part II, raising a new legal argument in a motion for reconsideration that could have been made in opposing the original motion is not the proper basis for bringing a motion for reconsideration. Therefore, APU's Motion for Reconsideration will be denied.

  An appropriate Order follows.

  ORDER

  AND NOW, this 24th day of August, 2004, upon consideration of the Third Party.

  Defendant's, American Premier Underwriters, Inc. ("APU"), Motion for Reconsideration (Doc. No. 77) and the Response thereto, it is hereby ORDERED that APU's Motion is DENIED.


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