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Mainguth v. Packard

May 23, 2006

STEPHEN MAINGUTH, PLAINTIFF,
v.
SHAWN PACKARD AND BOROUGH OF RENOVO, DEFENDANTS.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Judge McClure

ORDER

BACKGROUND

Stephen Mainguth initiated this civil action against defendants Shawn Packard and the Borough of Renovo on February 7, 2005. In his complaint, Mainguth alleges violations of his rights under the Fourth and Fourteenth Amendments to the United States Constitution. On February 17, 2006, defendant Packard moved for partial summary judgment. By order dated April 27, 2006, we denied Packard's motion for partial summary judgment.*fn1

On May 16, 2006, Packard filed a motion for reconsideration and brief in support regarding our denial of his motion for partial summary judgment on the claim for damages arising out of Mainguth's incarceration following the revocation of his parole. (Rec. Doc. Nos. 40 & 41.) Attached to the motion is the court order revoking Mainguth's parole, due to Mainguth's admission "that he did consume alcoholic beverages on September 16, 2003." (Rec. Doc. No. 40, at 4.) This document was not included in Packard's motion for partial summary judgment due to an oversight.

We directed the plaintiff to expedite their filing of any opposition to the motion for reconsideration. In compliance with our order, plaintiff filed an opposition on May 22, 2006. The matter is now ripe for our review, and for the following reasons we will (1) grant the motion for reconsideration, (2) vacate that portion of our April 27, 2006 order denying defendant's motion for partial summary judgment on plaintiff's claim for damages arising out of his incarceration following revocation of his parole, and (3) grant defendant's motion for partial summary judgment in part, consistent with this order.

DISCUSSION

I. Legal Standard For Reconsideration Of An Interlocutory Order

As defendant Packard has recognized, this court recently set forth the standard for reconsideration of the denial of a motion for summary judgment. See Crawford v. Pennsylvania, No. 1:03-CV-00693, 2006 WL 148881, at *2-3 (M.D. Pa. Jan. 19, 2006) (McClure, J.). We reiterate that standard here.

The denial of a motion for summary judgment is an interlocutory order.Bines v. Kulaylat, 215 F.3d 381, 384 (3d Cir. 2000). A district court retaining jurisdiction over a case "possesses inherent power over interlocutory orders, and can reconsider them when it is consonant with justice to do so."Mohammad v. Kelchner, No. 03-CV-1134, 2005 WL 1138468, at *2 (M.D. Pa. Apr. 27, 2005) (Munley, J.) (quoting United States v. Jerry, 487 F.2d 600, 605 (3d Cir. 1973)); see also Johnson v. Bensalem Twp., 609 F. Supp. 1340, 1341 (E.D. Pa. 1985) (Pollak, J.) (same); A & H Sportswear Co., Inc. v. Victoria's Secret Stores, Inc. No. Civ.A. 94-7408, 2001 WL 881718, at *1 (E.D. Pa. 2001) (Van Antwerpen, J.) (same). Furthermore, because the court's prior order did not dispose of every claim before the court, it is "subject to revision at any time before the entry of judgment adjudicating all the claims and the rights and liabilities of the parties." Mohammad, 2005 WL 1138468, at *2 (quoting Fed. R. Civ. P. 54(b)); see also In re Eagle Enters., Inc., 259 B.R. 73, 77 (E.D. Pa. 2001) (noting availability of Rule 54(b) motion to reconsider an interlocutory order).

Although formally Rule 59 does not govern this motion, which is for reconsideration of an interlocutory order, "[c]courts tend to grant motions for reconsideration sparingly and only upon the grounds traditionally available under Fed. R. Civ. P. 59(e)." A & H Sportswear, 2001 WL 881718, at *1. As both parties are aware, in order to be entitled to relief under Rule 59(e) the "party seeking reconsideration must establish at least one of the following grounds: (1) an intervening change in the controlling law; (2) the availability of new evidence that was not available when the court granted the motion for summary judgment; or (3) the need to correct a clear error of law or fact or to prevent manifest injustice." Mack's Seafood Café v. Quinteros, 176 F.3d 669, 677 (3d Cir. 1999) (citing North River Ins. Co. v. CIGNA Reinsurance Co., 52 F.3d 1184, 1218 (3d Cir. 1995)).

Defendant Packard advances his argument under the third prong, asserting that reconsideration of our April 27, 2006 order is necessary to correct factual errors and to prevent manifest injustice.

II. Analysis

Plaintiff has lodged a claim for lost wages incurred during the period of his incarceration following the revocation of his parole after the September 16, 2003 incident. This claim is brought in tandem with plaintiff's state law claim for malicious prosecution, alleging that Packard filed baseless charges against Mainguth.

On the date of the incident, plaintiff was on parole for prior alcohol-related offenses. The conditions of his parole included mandates that he was to comply with all municipal, county, state and federal criminal laws, and to abstain from any consumption of alcohol. Plaintiff admits that he consumed two beers before his altercation with defendant Packard, in violation ...


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