United States District Court, W.D. Pennsylvania
August 30, 2005.
BETH LYNN BOYSZA, Plaintiff,
JOHN W. THOMPSON, individually and in his capacity as Superintendent of the City of Pittsburgh Public Schools and the PITTSBURGH BOARD OF PUBLIC EDUCATION and the CITY OF PITTSBURGH SCHOOL DISTRICT, Defendants.
The opinion of the court was delivered by: TERRENCE F. McVERRY, District Judge
Presently before the Court for disposition are the DEFENDANTS'
MOTION FOR RECONSIDERATION OF GRANT OF PARTIAL SUMMARY JUDGMENT
AND MOTION FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT IN FAVOR OF DEFENDANTS AS A
MATTER OF LAW (Document No. 82), the Plaintiff's Memorandum in
opposition (Document No. 84), and the Defendants' Reply Brief
(Document No. 85). For the reasons that follow, the Motion will
This matter was filed on October 9, 2003, and was referred to
United States Magistrate Judge Robert C. Mitchell on October 14,
2003 for pretrial proceedings in accordance with the Magistrates
Act, 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1)(A) and (B) and subsections 3 and 4 of
Local Rule 72.1 for Magistrate Judges. On August 2, 2004, Plaintiff filed a Renewed Motion for Partial
Summary Judgment, which, not surprisingly, Defendants vigorously
opposed. On September 23, 2004, Magistrate Judge Mitchell issued
an extensive Report and Recommendation in which he granted
Plaintiff summary judgment with respect to Count I of the First
Amended Complaint. Pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1), the parties
had ten days to serve and file written objections to the Report
and Recommendation. Defendants filed objections on October 4,
After a de novo review of the record of the matter and the
Report and Recommendation, and the timely objections thereto, on
October 29, 2004, the Court issued an Order in which it adopted
as the Opinion of the Court the Report and Recommendation issued
by Magistrate Judge Mitchell on September 24, 2004.
On December 27, 2004, Magistrate Judge Mitchell referred this
matter back to the undersigned.
On April 22, 2005, attorneys Mark R. Hornak, Gregory A. Miller,
and Lisa Passarello entered their appearances for Defendants. On
April 28, 2005, the Court conducted a Pretrial/Settlement
Conference at which all counsel attended. On May 6, 2005, the
Court issued a Pretrial Order in which a jury trial was set in
this matter for September 26, 2005.
On July 22, 2005, approximately nine months after the Order of
Court which adopted the Report and Recommendation and
approximately two months prior to the scheduled trial date in
this matter, Defendants filed the instant Motion for
Reconsideration. Defendants argue for the first time that
"applicable Third Circuit law precludes the assertion of any of
Plaintiff's claims in this forum" and that the October 2004 Order
be vacated and judgment be entered in favor of Defendants as a
matter of law. STANDARD
The Court will consider the Motion for Reconsideration as one
brought pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 59(e), to
alter or amend a judgment, which provides that "[a]ny motion to
alter or amend a judgment shall be filed no later than 10 days
after entry of the judgment." Generally a motion for
reconsideration will only be granted if: (1) there has been an
intervening change in controlling law; (2) new evidence, which
was not previously available, has become available; or (3)
necessary to correct a clear error of law or to prevent manifest
injustice. North 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 Lit., 158 F. Supp. 2d 565, 578
(E.D. Pa. 2001).
Defendants ask the Court to reconsider its October 29, 2004
Order in which it adopted as the Opinion of the Court the Report
and Recommendation issued by Magistrate Judge Mitchell on
September 24, 2004. Defendants acknowledge that the arguments
presented in their Motion for Reconsideration "have not been
previously presented to this court but because they rely on
settled Third Circuit law, and are dispositive of Plaintiff's
claims, the Court may, . . . consider them at this time." Mot. at
2. Further, Defendants concede that while the arguments "could be
presented in a motion for judgment as a matter of law under
Fed.R.Civ.P. Rule 50 at the close of Plaintiff's case," "equities
weigh in favor of the court's consideration of these arguments
now." It is not disputed that the issues and arguments presented in
the Motion for Reconsideration have not been previously presented
to the Court. Magistrate Judge Mitchell specifically detailed all
the arguments Defendants made in opposition to the Plaintiff's
Motion for Partial Summary Judgment. Both this Court and
Magistrate Judge Mitchell properly examined all of the arguments
Defendants made in response to Plaintiff's Motion for Partial
Summary Judgment. Importantly, Defendants never made the legal
arguments they now make in their Motion for Reconsideration.
There is no evidence that Defendants lacked the ability to raise
these arguments in their opposition to Plaintiff's Motion for
Partial Summary Judgment. Thus, the Court finds and rules that
the arguments now made by Defendants which form the basis for the
instant Motion are new legal arguments that were previously
available to Defendants. As set forth supra, 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, the Motion
for Reconsideration filed by Defendants will be denied.
The Court notes the Defendants are not prejudiced by this
ruling as they will not be precluded from raising the new legal
arguments in a motion for judgment as a matter of law under
Fed.R.Civ.P. Rule 50 at the close of Plaintiff's case.
An appropriate Order follows. ORDER OF COURT
AND NOW, this 30th day of August, 2005, upon consideration of
Defendants' Motion for Reconsideration (Document No. 82) and
the Memorandum in opposition, it is hereby ORDERED that the
Motion for Reconsideration is DENIED.
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