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Greenberg v. Caesars Entertainment Corp.

United States District Court, E.D. Pennsylvania

May 5, 2015

ALAN GREENBERG
v.
CAESARS ENTERTAINMENT CORP., ET AL

MEMORANDUM

R. BARCLAY SURRICK, District Judge.

Plaintiff Alan Greenberg files this Motion for Partial Reconsideration (ECF No. 25), requesting the Court to reconsider its Order entered on February 2, 2015, which granted Defendant Caesars Entertainment Corp.'s Motion to dismiss Plaintiff's state law claims against the individual Commonwealth Defendants on the basis of sovereign immunity. For the following reasons, Plaintiff's Motion will be denied.

I. BACKGROUND[1]

Plaintiff Alan Greenberg filed a complaint against Defendants Chester Downs and Marina, LLC d/b/a Harrah's Philadelphia ("Harrah's"), and two Pennsylvania State Troopers, Michael Gaines and William Shores (the "Commonwealth Defendants"), relating to an incident that occurred when Plaintiff was playing poker at Harrah's on December 6, 2012. Plaintiff alleges that he was falsely accused of being overpaid $100 by Harrah's, threatened that he would be jailed if he didn't return the money, and unlawfully detained by the Commonwealth Defendants and agents of Harrah's, working in concert. See Greenberg v. Caesars Entm't Corp., No. 14-4796, 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 12350, at *2-3 (E.D. Pa. Feb. 2, 2015). Feeling under duress, Plaintiff paid $100 to the Commonwealth Defendants, and later brought this lawsuit. Id. at *3. Plaintiff asserted the following claims against the Commonwealth Defendants: due process violations under the Fourth and Fourteenth Amendments, and state law (Count I); violations of Pennsylvania's Fair Credit Extension Uniformity Act ("FCEUA"), 73 Pa. Stat. Ann. § 2270.1 et seq., (Count III); conspiracy, aiding and abetting, and acting in concert (Count IV); false arrest under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 and under state law (Count V); and wrongful seizure under § 1983 and under state law (Count VI).

On February 2, 2015, we dismissed as against the Commonwealth Defendants the substantive due process claim, the claim under the FCEUA, and the civil conspiracy claim. See Greenberg, 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 12350, at *9-11.

On February 17, 2015, Plaintiff filed this Motion to Reconsider the Court's February 2, 2015 Order dismissing certain of Plaintiff's claims. (Pl.'s Mot., ECF No. 25.) On February 18, 2015, the Commonwealth Defendants responded to the Motion. (Defs.' Resp., ECF No. 26.)

II. LEGAL STANDARD

A party is entitled to have a court reconsider a judgment in the following circumstances: "(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." Max's Seafood Cafe by Lou-Ann, Inc. v. Quinteros, 176 F.3d 669, 677 (3d Cir. 1999) (citing N. River Ins. Co. v. CIGNA Reinsurance Co., 52 F.3d 1194, 1218 (3d Cir. 1995)); s ee also Interdigital Commc'ns, Corp. v. Fed. Ins. Co., 403 F.Supp.2d 391, 392 (E.D. Pa. 2005). Motions to reconsider will only be granted for "compelling reasons... not for addressing arguments that a party should have raised earlier." United States v. Dupree, 617 F.3d 724, 732 (3d Cir. 2010) (internal quotations omitted). "A motion to reconsider judgment is not 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." Gavaghan v. Said, No. 12-3689, 2013 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 94073, at *3 (E.D. Pa. July 3, 2013) (internal quotation marks omitted); see also Mash v. Twp. of Haverford Dep't of Codes Enforcement, No. 06-4479, 2007 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 67265, at *8 (E.D. Pa. Sept. 11, 2007) ("It is improper on a motion for reconsideration to ask the court to rethink what it has already thought through-rightly or wrongly.") (citations omitted).

III. DISCUSSION

Plaintiff requests that the Court reconsider its February 2, 2015 Order dismissing Plaintiff's state law claims against the Commonwealth Defendants. The Court determined that Plaintiff's statutory state law claims under the FCEUA, and his common law claims for conspiracy, aiding and abetting, and acting in concert, were barred by the doctrine of sovereign immunity. Plaintiff's Motion is difficult to understand. We presume that he argues that the Court erred in concluding that sovereign immunity shields the Commonwealth Defendants from claims based on intentional conduct.[2] In other words, Plaintiff seems to argue that when Commonwealth officials are sued in their individual and not official capacity, claims based on intentional conduct-whether statutory or common law-are exempted from the sovereign immunity doctrine. Plaintiff is simply wrong. His argument reveals a misunderstanding about sovereign immunity.

The sovereign immunity doctrine derives from Pennsylvania statute, 1 Pa. Cons. Stat. § 2310, which provides as follows:

Pursuant to section 11 of Article 1 of the Constitution of Pennsylvania, it is hereby declared to be the intent of the General Assembly that the Commonwealth, and its officials and employees acting within the scope of their duties, shall continue to enjoy sovereign immunity and official immunity and remain immune from suit except as the General Assembly shall specifically waive the immunity.

1 Pa. Cons. Stat. § 2310.

The statute does not distinguish between claims sounding in intentional conduct and claims sounding in negligence. Instead, Section 2310 shields the Commonwealth and its officials acting within the scope of their duties from any and all claims asserted against them, ...


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