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Hannon v. Lowe's Home Centers, Inc.

United States District Court, M.D. Pennsylvania

February 27, 2017

MATTHEW HANNON, Plaintiff
v.
LOWE'S HOME CENTER, INC. d/b/a LOWE'S HOME IMPROVEMENT, LOWE'S HOME CENTER, Defendant/Third-Party Plaintiff
v.
WE DO THAT CONSTRUCTION, TODD ROMANCZUK, KITCHEN & FLOORING CONTRACTOR, INC., and JEROME SAYLOR, Third-Party Defendants

          MEMORANDUM

          JAMES M. MUNLEY, United States District Court Judge

         Before the court for disposition is Plaintiff Matthew Hannon's (hereinafter “plaintiff”) motion for reconsideration. (Doc. 83). Plaintiff's motion challenges the court's January 17, 2017 order granting Defendant Lowe's Home Center, Inc.'s (hereinafter “Lowe's”) motion for summary judgment. (Doc. 80). For the following reasons, we will deny plaintiff's motion.

         Background

         This matter arises out of a June 8, 2012 personal injury incident at Lowe's Home Center Store in Bartonsville, Pennsylvania. At that time, Lowe's subcontracted with Third-Party Defendant We Do That Construction and its owner, Todd Romanczuk (collectively “WTDC”), to perform home construction and installation of decking and siding. (Doc. 76, Def. Lowe's Statement of Uncontested Facts (hereinafter “SOF”) ¶¶ 2, 5, 6).[1] Lowe's also generally contracted with Third-Party Defendant Kitchen & Flooring Contractor, Inc. and its owner, Jerome Saylor (collectively “Kitchen & Flooring”), to perform interior installation and remodeling work. (SOF ¶¶ 16, 20). Kitchen & Flooring never subcontracted work to WDTC. (SOF ¶ 15).

         Lowe's contacted WDTC and Kitchen & Flooring to build a display house for its store. Lowe's did not pay Kitchen & Flooring's owner, Defendant Saylor, for work on the display. (SOF ¶ 27). Similarly, WDTC agreed to work on the display voluntarily with the goal of obtaining future sales from Lowe's. (SOF ¶ 41). Plaintiff Matthew Hannon, an employee of WDTC, worked on the display house. (SOF ¶¶ 1, 51, 65). While lifting the roof of the display house, plaintiff broke his wrist when the roof fell on his arm. (SOF ¶¶ 65, 68). No Lowe's employees were present at the time of plaintiff's injury. (SOF ¶ 66).

         On November 14, 2014, plaintiff filed a complaint against Lowe's advancing one claim of negligence for failing to supervise, instruct, or otherwise monitor construction of the display house. (Doc. 1, Compl.). On January 16, 2015, Lowe's filed a third-party negligence complaint against WDTC and Kitchen & Flooring. (Doc. 9, Third-Party Compl.).

         On October 12, 2016, Lowe's filed a motion for summary judgment. (Doc. 63). We granted the motion on January 17, 2017. (Doc. 80). On January 31, 2017, plaintiff filed the instant motion for reconsideration. (Doc. 83). The parties have briefed their respective positions and the matter is ripe for disposition.

         Jurisdiction

         The court has jurisdiction pursuant to the diversity statute, 28 U.S.C. § 1332. Plaintiff is a citizen of Pennsylvania. (Doc. 1, Compl. ¶ 1). Defendant/Third-Party Plaintiff Lowe's “is incorporated under the laws of a state or jurisdiction other than the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, ” with its principal place of business in North Carolina. (Doc. 9, Third-Party Compl. ¶ 1). Third-Party Defendants WDTC and Kitchen & Flooring are citizens of Pennsylvania. (Id. ¶¶ 2-5). Because complete diversity of citizenship exists between the parties and the amount in controversy exceeds $75, 000, the court has jurisdiction over the case. See 28 U.S.C. § 1332 (“[D]istrict courts shall have original jurisdiction of all civil actions where the matter in controversy exceeds the sum or value of $75, 000, exclusive of interest and costs, and is between . . . citizens of different States[.]”). As a federal court sitting in diversity, the substantive law of Pennsylvania shall apply to the instant case. Chamberlain v. Giampapa, 210 F.3d 154, 158 (3d Cir. 2000) (citing Erie R.R. v. Tompkins, 304 U.S. 64, 78 (1938)).

         Standard of Review

         Plaintiff seeks reconsideration of the court's January 17, 2017 order granting Lowe's motion for summary judgment. “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, 799 F.2d 906, 909 (3d Cir. 1985); Max's Seafood Cafe ex rel. Lou-Ann, Inc. v. Quinteros, 176 F.3d 669, 677 (3d Cir. 1999). The movant must demonstrate one of three grounds for such a motion to be granted: (1) an intervening change in controlling law; (2) the availability of new evidence not previously available; or (3) the need to correct a clear error of law or to prevent manifest injustice. Max's Seafood Cafe, 176 F.3d at 677. A motion for reconsideration is not a proper vehicle merely to attempt to convince the court to rethink a decision it has already made. Glendon Energy Co. v. Borough of Glendon, 836 F.Supp. 1109, 1122 (E.D. Pa. 1993).

         Discussion

         Plaintiff's motion for reconsideration is not based on an intervening change in controlling law or new evidence not previously available. Rather, he infers that the court committed a manifest error of law or must intervene to prevent manifest injustice. Specifically, plaintiff asserts that the display house presented a “special danger, ” which the court did not consider when granting Lowe's motion for summary judgment. Lowe's argues that plaintiff has not established a clear error of law or manifest injustice warranting reconsideration. After a careful review, we agree with Lowe's.

         As previously stated, plaintiff filed a single-count negligence complaint against Lowe's asserting that Lowe's negligently failed to supervise, instruct, or otherwise monitor construction of the display house. In Pennsylvania, a cause of action in negligence requires a plaintiff to establish four elements: (1) the defendant had a duty to conform to a certain standard of conduct; (2) the defendant breached that duty; (3) such breach caused the injury in question; and (4) the plaintiff incurred actual loss or damage. Pyeritz v. Commonwealth, 32 A.3d 687, 692 (Pa. 2011) (citation omitted). In its motion for summary judgment, Lowe's challenged the existence of a duty, which “consists of one party's obligation to conform to a particular standard of care for the protection of another.” R.W. v. Manzek, 888 A.2d 740, 746 (Pa. 2005) ...


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