United States District Court, M.D. Pennsylvania
H. RAMBO United States District Judge
before the court is Defendant JB Hunt Transport, Inc.'s
Motion for Reconsideration (Doc. 108) of this court's
October 3, 2016 memorandum and order (Docs. 105 & 106),
in which the court denied Defendant's motion for summary
judgment. For the reasons stated below, the court will deny
motion for reconsideration may be filed under Local Rule 7.10
within fourteen days after the entry of the order concerned.
M.D. Pa. Local Rule 7.10. The Third Circuit has held that
such a motion may be granted if the party seeking
reconsideration establishes at least one of the following
grounds: “(1) an intervening change in 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
Café, by Lou-Ann, Inc., v. Quinteros, 176 F.3d
669, 677 (3d Cir. 1999). Mere dissatisfaction with the
court's ruling is not a proper basis for reconsideration.
Progressive Cas. Ins. Co. v. PNC Bank, N.A., 73
F.Supp.2d 485, 487 (E.D. Pa. 1999). A motion for
reconsideration is not to be used as a vehicle for the losing
party to rehash legal arguments previously considered and
rejected. Dougherty v. Farmers New Century Ins. Co.,
Civ. No. 06-cv-0098, 2007 WL 1074756, * 2 (M.D. Pa. Apr. 9,
2007); Qazizadeh v. Pinnacle Health Sys.,
14-cv-2037, 2016 WL 5787352, *2 (M.D. Pa. Oct. 4, 2016). In
addition, “[a] party's failure to present [its]
strongest case in the first instance does not entitle [it] to
a second chance in the form of a motion [for
reconsideration].” Id. (citations omitted).
Therefore, such motions are not appropriate if the movant
only intends that the court hear new arguments or supporting
facts. Id. (citing Van Skiver v. United
States, 952 F.2d 1241, 1243 (10th Cir. 1991)). The
reconsideration of a judgment is an extraordinary remedy, and
such motions should be granted sparingly. D'Angio v.
Borough of Nescopeck, 56 F.Supp.2d 502, 504 (M.D. Pa.
facts and procedural history of this case are well known to
the parties and are described in detail in the court's
October 3, 2016 memorandum and order. (Docs. 105 & 106).
As such, the court need not recite them here.
JB Hunt Transport, Inc. (“JB Hunt”) argues that
the court's October 3, 2016 memorandum and order should
be reconsidered on three grounds: (1) newly obtained
documents explain the role of JB Hunt as broker; (2) the
court misapplied section 411 of the Restatement (Second) of
Torts; and (3) the court misapplied Pennsylvania's frolic
and detour principle. (Doc. 109, pp. 12-18 of 19.) As to JB
Hunt's first argument, the court has already ruled that
the contracts between JB Hunt and Walmart are not new
evidence for purposes of JB Hunt's motion for
reconsideration. (See Doc. 112.) The court will
not address that issue again here, and will instead discuss
JB Hunt's remaining arguments in turn.
Application of Section 411 of the Restatement (Second) of
to JB Hunt, Defendant Ricky L. Hatfield
(“Hatfield”) was not working or performing a duty
at the time of the accident. (Doc. 109, pp. 14-15 of 19.) JB
Hunt argues that the court, in holding that JB Hunt could be
found liable under section 411 of the Restatement (Second) of
Torts for negligent hiring, ignored the fact that an
independent contractor has to be performing work at the time
of the accident before any potential liability can be
incurred. (Id. at 13 of 19.) Plaintiffs respond by
arguing that JB Hunt is ignoring relevant facts of record
indicating that Hatfield was indeed working when the accident
occurred. (Doc. 113, pp. 11-13 of 16.)
October 3, 2016 memorandum, the court held that the Federal
Motor Carrier Safety Regulations (“FMCSRs”) do
not preempt Plaintiffs' negligent hiring claim. (Doc.
105, p. 13-15.) The court did not hold that JB Hunt is liable
for the negligent hiring of Hatfield, rather that JB Hunt
could be held liable. (Id.) JB
Hunt's liability naturally depends upon whether Hatfield
was working at the time of the accident. While the law in
Pennsylvania for a negligent hiring claim is well-settled,
whether Hatfield was working at the relevant time is a fact
disputed by the parties. (See, e.g., Doc. 85,
¶¶ 39-45 and exhibits cited therein; Doc. 91,
¶¶ 39-45 and exhibits cited therein.)
counsel is well aware, summary judgment can only be granted
where “there is no genuine dispute as to any material
fact.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(a). A factual dispute is
“material” if it might affect the outcome of the
suit under the applicable substantive law. Anderson v.
Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 248 (1986). The
documents submitted in support of each party's summary
judgment arguments revealed a genuine dispute as to whether
Hatfield was working at the time of the accident. It is
indisputable that this fact is material to the outcome of
this lawsuit and affects the resolution of Plaintiffs'
negligent hiring claim. Because of this factual dispute, the
court could not grant summary judgment in favor of JB Hunt
and will not reconsider its decision now. The resolution of
this factual dispute can only be resolved by a jury.
JB Hunt previously raised this argument in its reply brief in
support of its motion for summary judgment. (Doc. 94, pp.
11-12.) As stated above, JB Hunt cannot use a motion for
reconsideration to rehash arguments that were previously
rejected by this court. See Dougherty, 2007 WL
1074756 at * 2.
The Principle of Frolic and Detour
court previously held that JB Hunt's contention that
Hatfield was using Hatfield Trucking's tractor as a
personal conveyance while on a frolic and detour was moot
because Plaintiffs abandoned the theory of a master-servant
relationship between JB Hunt and Hatfield. (Doc. 105, pp.
15-16.) JB Hunt asserts that the court inappropriately placed
a higher standard upon persons and entities that retain
independent contractors than employers who hire employees.
(Doc. 109, pp. at 15-18 of 19.) JB Hunt argues that the court
should reconsider this holding stating, “simply because
there is no longer an alleged master-servant relationship
between [JB Hunt] and Ricky Hatfield and/or Hatfield
Trucking, does not mean that Ricky Hatfield's off-duty
behavior can now be imputed upon [JB Hunt].”
(Id. at 15 of 19.) ...