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R.T. ex rel J.S. v. Southeastern York County School Dist.

February 23, 2007


The opinion of the court was delivered by: Judge Sylvia H. Rambo


Before the court is Plaintiff R.T's motion for reconsideration (Doc. 16) of the decision of this court dismissing this action for lack of subject matter jurisdiction (Doc. 15). Because Plaintiff fails to identify a manifest error of law or fact contained in the decision issued on February 20, 2007, the motion will be denied.

I. Background

A. Facts

The pertinent facts of this case are set forth in this court's Memorandum and Order issued on February 20, 2007 (Doc. 15). In that decision, it was not necessary to address the issue of J.S.'s residency. His residency is also unnecessary to this opinion, but because it was raised in the motion for reconsideration, the court will summarize the undisputed facts of that issue.

Before August of 2006, R.T. and J.S. lived at an address that was within the boundaries of the South Eastern School District ("South Eastern" or "School District"). In August 2006, they moved to 24 Potter Drive, Delta, Pennsylvania. This address is outside the boundaries of South Eastern School District. It is within the Red Lion School District ("Red Lion"). In spite of the move, R.T. sent J.S. to South Eastern Middle School -- East ("SEMS -- East"). R.T. informed the School District of the change of address and various administrators corresponded with R.T. The administration of the School District did not recognize the address as being outside of its boundaries until January 31, 2007. On that date, J.S. appeared for re-enrollment after his expulsion and subsequent reinstatement. Upon enrollment or re-enrollment, it is School District policy to check the address of a student against U.S. Census data to ensure that the student is a resident of the School District.

R.T. claims that he was unaware that he lived in Red Lion rather than South Eastern. Documentary evidence and past experience indicate, however, that he was on notice that Red Lion, not South Eastern, was the proper school district for his home address. The tax receipt attached to the deed of his house shows that, upon closing, R.T. and his mother (the co-purchaser of the house) paid $200 in taxes to the Red Lion Area School District. (Def.'s Ex. 13.) Further, R.T. testified that his older son, who previously lived at 24 Potter Drive, attended Red Lion schools. R.T. believed that he lived on the border between the school districts and could choose which district would educate his children.

B. Procedural History

The instant motion for reconsideration was filed on February 22, 2007. (Doc. 16.) Ordinarily, within ten days of filing a substantive motion, the moving party must file a brief in support thereof.*fn1 Loc. R. 7.5. The non-moving party has fifteen days from the date of service of such brief in support to file its response. Loc. R. 7.6 Once served with the responsive brief, the moving party may file a reply within ten days. Loc. R. 7.7. The court finds that allowing the normal schedule of briefing would further prolong J.S.'s absence from the public education that he is both entitled to and required to have. The court further finds that it has the facts and legal arguments at hand to address this motion without briefing by the parties.

II. Legal Standard: Motion for Reconsideration

A motion for reconsideration is governed by Federal Rule 59(e), which allows a party to move to alter or amend a judgment within ten days of its entry.*fn2

McDowell Oil Serv., Inc. v. Interstate Fire & Cas. Co., 817 F. Supp. 538, 541 (M.D. Pa. 1993). "The purpose of a motion for reconsideration is to correct 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 that was not available when the court [issued its judgment]; or (3) the need to correct a clear error of law or fact or to prevent manifest injustice." Max's Seafood Café, ex rel. Lou-Ann, Inc. v. Quinteros, 176 F.3d 669, 677 (3d Cir. 1999) (citing North River Ins. Co. v. CIGNA Reinsurance Co., 52 F.3d 1194, 1218 (3d Cir. 1995)).

These three narrow allowances are the only permissible grounds for a motion to reconsider. "A motion for reconsideration is not to be used as a means to reargue matters already argued and disposed of or as an attempt to relitigate a point of disagreement between the Court and the litigant." Ogden v. Keystone Residence, 226 F. Supp. 2d 588, 606 (M.D. Pa. 2002) (internal quotations omitted). Likewise, reconsideration motions may not be used to raise new arguments or present evidence that could have been raised prior to the entry of judgment. McDowell Oil Serv. Inc., 817 F. Supp. at 541. "Reconsideration of ...

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