United States District Court, E.D. Pennsylvania
F. KELLY, Sr. J.
before this Court is Plaintiff, Madison Gay's
(“Gay”), Motion for Reconsideration of this
Court's October 16, 2017 Order (“October 16th
Order”), and the Defendant, Edward Rorer's
(“Rorer”), Response in Opposition. For the
following reasons, Gay's Motion for Reconsideration is
denied as untimely.
driving on the morning of October 10, 2016, when Rorer struck
her motor vehicle. (Def.'s Mem. Supp. Mot. for Partial
Summ. J. at 3.) Gay filed a civil action against Rorer in the
Court of Common Pleas of Philadelphia County on November 18,
2016. (Id.) On December 20, 2016, Rorer filed an
Answer with New Matter. Rorer's New Matter claimed, in
part, that Gay was precluded from seeking non-economic
damages pursuant to the Motor Vehicle Financial
Responsibility Law (“MVFRL”), 75 Pa. Const. Stat.
§ 1705. (Id.) Shortly thereafter, the case was
properly removed to the United States District Court for the
Eastern District of Pennsylvania. (Id.)
filed a Motion for Partial Summary Judgment on July 24, 2017,
arguing that Gay must be deemed to have selected the limited
tort option because there was no evidence in the record to
support that Gay or the vehicle she was driving at the time
of the accident was insured. (Id. at 14-16.)
Therefore she could not be considered a full tort Plaintiff
under the MVFRL. (Id.) Gay responded by stating that
there was a dispute as to her limited tort or full tort
status and she should therefore be defaulted to full tort
status. (Pl.'s Mem. in Opp'n Def.'s Mot. for
Partial Summ. J. at 3-6.) Gay claims that she was merely
“listed as a permissive driver under her [father's
limited tort] policy covering the vehicle she was permitted
to drive.” (Id. at 6.) Gay argued that since
she was not an insured under the MVFRL and did not own the
vehicle she was driving, she should not be precluded from
claiming non-economic damages. (Id. at 5 (citing
McWeeney v. Strickler, 61 A.3d 1023, 1030 (Pa.
Super. Ct. 2013); 75 Pa. Const. Stat. § 1705(b)(3).)
filed a Brief in Response to the Opposition of Plaintiff to
the Motion for Summary Judgment, claiming Gay failed to
provide evidence showing that she did not own the vehicle or
that the vehicle was insured. (Def.'s Br. in Resp. to
Opp'n of Pl. to Mot. for Summ. J. at 2-4.) Rorer cited
Gay's verified Complaint and her deposition testimony
that supported the proposition that she owned the vehicle she
was driving at the time of the October 10, 2016 accident.
(Id. at 3-4.) Additionally, the vehicle in question
was not listed under the insurance declaration page Gay
filed. (Id. at 2-3.) Accordingly, in denying
Rorer's Motion for Partial Summary Judgment, this Court
found that the record indicated Gay was driving an uninsured
vehicle which she repeatedly claimed to have owned.
(See Doc. No. 12.) Therefore, this Court found her
“to have selected the limited tort alternative pursuant
to 75 Pa. Cons. Stat. § 1705(a)(5).”
November 3, 2017, Gay filed the Motion for Reconsideration
now before the Court. In it she claimed “new evidence
has come to light” in the form of vehicle registration
and insurance cards for a 1999 Ford Taurus. (Pl.'s Mot.
Recons. at 9-10.) Gay asserts that this evidence shows the
car was owned and insured by her father, Michael Gay, at the
time of the accident, therefore, refuting the foundation of
the finding in the October 16th Order that she owned the
vehicle involved in the accident and that said vehicle was
uninsured. (Id. at 10, Ex. E.) Gay argues that under
the MVFRL, this new evidence makes her an uninsured driver of
a car she does not own and, therefore, not subject to the
limited tort alternative election of her father's
insurance policy. (Id. at 10). Thus, Gay argues she
should not be precluded from maintaining an action for
noneconomic damages under the MVFRL. (Id.) Gay
requests this Court reconsider that finding and find that she
retains all recovery rights under the full tort alternative.
(Id. at 12.)
STANDARD OF REVIEW
for reconsideration filed in this Court are governed by Local
Rule 7.1(g), which states that such motions “shall be
served and filed within fourteen (14) days after the entry of
the order concerned . . . .” Local R. Civ. P. 7.1(g).
The United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit
(“Third Circuit”) has held that “local
rules play a significant role in the district courts'
efforts to manage themselves and their dockets” and
that it is “not an abuse of discretion for a district
court to impose a harsh result, such as dismissing a motion
or an appeal, when a litigant fails to strictly comply with
the terms of a local rule.” United States v. Eleven
Vehicles, Their Equip. and Accessories, 200 F.3d 203,
214 (3d. Cir. 2000) (citing Smith v. Oelenschlager,
845 F.2d 1182, 1184 (3d. Cir. 1988)). In United States v.
Eleven Vehicles, Their Equip. and Accessories, the Third
Circuit did, however, provide a framework for district courts
to depart from a local rule where “(1) it has a sound
rationale for doing so, and (2) so doing does not unfairly
prejudice a party who has relied on the local rule to his
United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit has held
that ‘the purpose of a motion of reconsideration is to
correct manifest errors of law or fact or to present newly
discovered evidence.'” Cohen v. Austin,
869 F.Supp. 320, 321 (E.D. Pa. 1994) (quoting Harsco
Corp. v. Zlotnicki, 779 F.2d 906, 909 (3d. Cir. 1985)).
Accordingly, a District Court should grant a party's
motion for reconsideration under any of the following
grounds: (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 ex rel.
Lou-Ann, Inc. v. Quinteros, 176 F.3d 669, 677 (3d. Cir.
1999). Federal courts have a strong interest in the finality
of judgments, and motions for reconsideration should be
granted sparingly. Continental Cas. Co. v. Diversified
Indus., Inc., 884 F.Supp. 937, 943 (E.D. Pa. 1995).
Dissatisfaction with the Court's ruling is not a proper
basis for reconsideration. Glendon Energy Co. v. Borough
of Glendon, 836 F.Supp. 1109, 1122 (E.D. Pa. 1993). Nor
may a party “submit evidence which was available to it
prior to a court's grant of summary judgment.”
Tobin v. Gen. Elec. Co., No. 95-4003, 1998 WL 31875,
at *2 (E.D. Pa. 1998) (citing Smith v. City of
Chester, 155 F.R.D. 95, 97 (E.D. Pa. 1994)). The Court
should consider “facts or legal issues properly
presented but overlooked” when deciding whether to
grant reconsideration. Blue Mountain Mushroom Co. v.
Monterey Mushroom, Inc., 246 F.Supp.2d 394, 398-99 (E.D.
moves for this Court to reconsider its October 16th Order
with respect to the finding that she is a limited tort
Plaintiff. We decline to consider this Motion due to it being
untimely. Local Rule 7.1(g) clearly states that Motions for
Reconsideration must be filed within fourteen days of the
Order concerned. Local R. Civ. P. 7.1(g). This Court's
Order was filed on October 16, 2017. (Doc. No. 12.) Gay filed