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Parks v. Woodbridge Golf Club, Inc.

United States District Court, E.D. Pennsylvania

March 24, 2017



          R. BARCLAY SURRICK, J.

         Presently before the Court is Plaintiff's Motion for Reconsideration of the Court's July 22, 2016 Order Dismissing Claims Against Defendants Filippini, Zettlemoyer, and Graff. (ECF No. 26.) For the following reasons, Plaintiff's Motion will be denied.

         I. BACKGROUND[1]

         Plaintiff Megan Parks filed a complaint against her former employer, Woodbridge Golf Club, Inc.; her former supervisor, Thor Shaffer; and Woodbridge's three corporate officers: Helen Filippini, Carl Zettlemoyer, and Marlowe Graff. Plaintiff alleged that when she was employed from April 2008 through November 2008 and from May 2009 through July 25, 2009, she was subjected to a hostile work environment. (July 22 Mem. 1-2.) Plaintiff claims that Shaffer groped her, repeatedly attempted to restrain her, and discussed with her a series of lewd topics, including soliciting sexual favors and making inappropriate remarks about her body. Id. Plaintiff also alleges that Filippini, Zettlemoyer, and Graff were responsible for the hostile work environment and discriminatory employment practices at the golf club. (Id. at 2.) Plaintiff asserted the following claims against all Defendants: gender discrimination and hostile work environment under Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act, 42 U.S.C. § 2000e-2, (Count I); violations under the Pennsylvania Human Relations Act, 43 Pa. Stat. Ann. § 951 et seq., (Count II); intentional infliction of emotional distress (Count III); assault and battery (Count IV); and false imprisonment (Count V).

         On July 22, 2016, we granted summary judgment in favor of Defendants Filippini, Zettlemoyer, and Graff. (July 22 Mem.; July 22 Order, ECF No. 24.) We concluded that Plaintiff had failed to present any evidence justifying piercing the corporate veil to hold these shareholders/corporate officers liable. (July 22 Mem. 10-13.) On August 10, 2016, Plaintiff filed this Motion to Reconsider the July 22, 2016 Order. (Pl.'s Mot., ECF No. 26.) On August 22, 2016, Defendants Filippini, Zettlemoyer, and Graff responded to the Motion. (Defs.' Resp., ECF No. 28.)


         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)); see also Interdigital Comm., 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 quotation marks 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 WL 3367267, at *1 (E.D. Pa. July 3, 2013) (internal quotation marks omitted and citation omitted); see also Mash v. Twp. of Haverford Dep't of Codes Enforcement, No. 06-4479, 2007 WL 2692333, at *3 (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). “Because of the courts' interest in the finality of judgments, motions for reconsideration should be granted sparingly.” Tomasso v. Boeing Co., No. 03-4220, 2007 WL 2458557, at *2 (E.D. Pa. Aug. 24, 2007) (citation omitted).[2]


         Plaintiff requests that the Court reconsider its July 22, 2016 Order on the basis of alleged new evidence. In support of this request, Plaintiff submits an August 2, 2016 letter that was sent to her counsel by Defendants' counsel. The letter states:

Please be advised that Woodbridge Golf Club, Inc. has no assets and has been effectively dissolved. The bank previously initiated foreclosure on all assets of the corporation and the property and personalty were sold. We are asking that you withdraw the action based upon the Court's order dismissing the other parties. If we continue to participate in any trial, we will seek all attorneys' fees since this matter is for all intents and purposes non-justiciable.[3]

(Aug. 2, 2016 Ltr., Pl.'s Mot. Ex. D.) Defendants assert that the letter was sent to Plaintiff as a mere courtesy to advise Plaintiff that continued proceedings against the corporate Defendant would be futile. (Defs.' Resp. 7.)

         Plaintiff argues that this letter constitutes new evidence, which was previously unavailable during the time of discovery. Plaintiff argues that this new evidence supports piercing the corporate veil so that her claims against the individual Defendants-Filippini, Zettlemoyer, and Graff-should survive summary judgment. In their Brief in support of their Motion for Partial Summary Judgment, Defendants argued, inter alia, that Plaintiff had failed to plead facts or a cause of action that would justify piercing the corporate veil to impose personal liability on the corporate officers, Filippini, Zettlemoyer, and Graff. Plaintiff responded that she “is not attempting to pierce ‘the corporate veil.'” (Pl.'s SJ Resp. ¶ 3, ECF No. 20.)

         In any event, in the July 22 Memorandum, notwithstanding Plaintiff's failure to put forth any evidence to justify piercing the corporate veil, we discussed the law in the Third Circuit concerning the piercing of corporate veils as follows:

“A duly organized business corporation enjoys an identity separate and apart from its stockholders, directors, and officers.” Gottlieb v. Sandia Amer. Corp., 452 F.2d 510, 514 (3d Cir. 1971). As such, individuals do not bear personal liability for the malfeasance or torts of a corporation. See Pearson v. Component Tech. Corp., 247 F.3d 471, 484 (3d Cir. 2001). “In the absence of extraordinary circumstances, a court will not disregard the corporate fiction [to] hold a stockholder liable for the torts of the corporation.” Zubik v. Zubik, 384 F.2d 267, 273 n.14 (3d Cir. 1967). Piercing the corporate veil “is an equitable remedy whereby a court disregards the existence of the corporation to make the corporation's individual principals and their personal assets liable for the debts of the corporation.” Trustees of Nat'l Elevator Indus. Pension, Health Benefit and Educ. Funds v. Lutyk, 332 F.3d 188, 192 (3d Cir. 2003). Courts generally ...

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