United States District Court, E.D. Pennsylvania
August 24, 2004.
UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, et al., Plaintiffs,
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
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.
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.
"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)).
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
(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.
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.