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Kovarikova v. Wellspan Good Samaritan Hospital

United States District Court, M.D. Pennsylvania

May 7, 2018



          John E. Jones III United States District Judge

         Presently pending before the Court is Defendants' Motion for Reconsideration, (Doc. 63), of our order denying Defendants' Motion for Summary Judgment. (Doc. 62). For the reasons that follow, we shall grant Defendants' Motion for Reconsideration.

         I. BACKGROUND

         This case involved a claimed breach of fiduciary duty pursuant to § 409(a) of the Employment Retirement Income Security Act of 1974, 29 U.S.C. § 1109(a), the facts of which were fully set forth in our order denying summary judgment. (Doc. 62). In sum, Plaintiff, Daria Kovarikova, alleged that Defendants, through agents and co-fiduciaries, misrepresented to her that her retirement benefit plan would not change or would only change to her advantage when Defendants terminated the residency program of which she was a part. Plaintiff claimed she relied on the misrepresentation and suspended her search for a new job under the mistaken belief that, in addition to receiving a retention bonus for remaining employed with Defendants, her existing benefits would not change.

         Defendants ultimately filed a motion for summary judgment, which we denied. In the memorandum accompanying our order, we found that the representations Plaintiff relied on were not material at the time because changes to the retirement plan were not yet being seriously considered. However, we found that Defendants had a duty to correct Plaintiff's misunderstanding once the plan changes were being seriously considered.

         Defendants now seek reconsideration of our order. The motion has been fully briefed, (Docs. 64, 65, 66), and is ripe for our review.


         “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, 779 F.2d 906, 909 (3d Cir. 1985). Thus, the moving party must show “(1) an intervening change in the controlling law; (2) the availability of new evidence that was not available when the court granted the [underlying motion]; or (3) the need to correct a clear error of law or fact or to prevent manifest injustice.” Max's Seafood Café ex rel. Lou-Ann, Inc. v. Quinteros, 176 F.3d 669, 677 (3d Cir. 1999). “‘A motion for reconsideration is not to be used as 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.'” Rearick v. Spanier, No. 4:11-cv-624, 2011 WL 5920713, at *1 (M.D.Pa. Nov. 28, 2011) (quoting Ogden v. Keystone Residence, 226 F.Supp.2d 588, 606 (M.D.Pa. 2002)). “[T]he reconsideration of a judgment is an extraordinary remedy, and such motions should be granted sparingly.” Id. (citing D'Angio v. Borough of Nescopeck, 56 F.Supp.2d 502, 504 (M.D.Pa. 1999)).


         Defendants acknowledge from the outset that their motion is untimely. Per our Local Rule 7.10, motions for reconsideration must be filed within fourteen days of the date of the pertinent order. Defendants' motion, in this case, was filed seven days late. Plaintiff argues that, on this basis alone, Defendants' motion should be denied. Defendants argue that the delay was excusable and Plaintiff is not prejudiced by the late filing. We will begin by considering the timeliness issue and then proceed to analyze the merits of Defendants' motion.

         A. Timeliness of Motion

         As noted above, Defendants' motion was seven days late. “Noncompliance with a local rule governing timeliness is enough to warrant denial of the requested relief.” Nittany Outdoor Advertising, LLC v. College Township, 179 F.Supp.3d 436, 439 (M.D.Pa. 2016). Nevertheless, “courts are permitted, where appropriate, to accept late filings even where caused by inadvertence, mistake, or carelessness, as well as by intervening circumstances beyond a party's control.” In re Cendant Corp. PRIDES Litigation, 235 F.3d 176, 181 (3d Cir. 2000). This is commonly referred to as an “excusable neglect” analysis.

         The United States Supreme Court had delineated four factors in conducting an “excusable neglect” analysis: “the danger of prejudice to the [nonmovant], the length of delay and its potential impact on judicial proceedings, the reason for the delay, including whether it was within the reasonable control of the movant, and whether the movant acted in good faith.” Id. (quoting Pioneer Investment Services Co. v. Brunswick Associates Limited Partnership, 507 U.S. 380, 395 (1993)). Defendants explain that their late filing is a result of an inadvertent diary mistake. We fail to see how Plaintiff is prejudiced by a motion for reconsideration filed seven days late. As Defendants correctly note, pretrial deadlines had been continued to accommodate medical treatment for Plaintiff's lead counsel. Furthermore, the delay was merely one week and has little to no impact on the judicial proceedings. Finally, as noted, the delay was due to a careless mistake, not to anything suggesting bad faith. We find, therefore, that the seven-day delay is excusable and shall consider the merits of Defendants' motion.

         B. Merits of ...

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