United States District Court, E.D. Pennsylvania
DARNELL JONES, II J.
before the Court is Defendant's Motion for
Reconsideration (ECF No. 20) of this Court's Order dated
September 11, 2018 (ECF No. 19), which denied Defendant's
Motion to Open Confession of Judgment (ECF No. 2). Defendant
contends that: 1) newly discovered evidence, 2) caselaw
previously overlooked, and 3) a misinterpretation of an
agreement at issue warrant reconsideration. The Court agrees
with Defendant's final argument, and will grant the
Motion for Reconsideration, in part, and deny it, in part.
FACTUAL BACKGROUND AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY
Complete Business Solutions Group, Inc.
(“Plaintiff”) is a limited liability company
formed under the laws of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.
Removal Notice at Ex. A ¶ 1 (ECF No. 1.) Defendant
Suess, a resident of the State of California, owns C.R.
Stelling Insurance Agency - a sole proprietorship formed and
operating under California law (collectively, the
“Defendant”). (ECF No. 1 ¶¶ 2, 3.)
Plaintiff entered into two “factoring agreements”
with Defendant in December 2016 and April 2017 (collectively,
the “Agreements”), whereby Plaintiff purchased
certain of Defendant's accounts receivable for an
interest rate of 106% and 133%, respectively. Opp'n Mot.
Set Aside J. ¶ 2 (ECF No. 5.); Mem. ISO Mot. Open at pp.
7, 15, 20 (ECF No. 2-1.) The Agreements were individually
guaranteed by Defendant Suess. (ECF No. 1 ¶ 7.) Under
the Agreements, if Defendant failed to make a payment to
Plaintiff, Defendant would be in default and Plaintiff would
be entitled to a confession of judgment. (ECF No. 2-1, p. 6.)
In July 2017, Defendant failed to tender payment to Plaintiff
in accordance with the Agreements. Consequently, Plaintiff
commenced this action by filing a complaint in confession of
judgment for $254, 510.33 (the “Confessed
Judgment”) in the Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas.
Confession J. at 2 (ECF No. 5-5)
Plaintiff commenced this action on July 11, 2017, Defendant
properly removed the case to this Court. (ECF No. 1, p. 1).
Subsequently, on September 20, 2017, Defendant filed a Motion
to Open the Confessed Judgment (the “Motion to
Open”). Mot. Open (ECF No. 2.) Defendant argued that
the Agreements at issue are in fact loans that charge
usurious interest rates in violation of California and New
York usury laws. (ECF No. 2-1, pp. 9, 15.)
September 12, 2018, this Court denied Defendant's Motion
to Open for failing to state a meritorious defense under
Pennsylvania law. Order Denying Mot. Open (ECF No. 19, p. 1.)
The Court reached this decision as to the December 2016
agreement after conducting a choice-of-law analysis between
California and Pennsylvania. Importantly, the Court
thoroughly considered whether applying Pennsylvania law would
be contrary to a fundamental policy of California law or
diminish the protection afforded to California citizens. (ECF
No. 19, pp. 1-2.) The Court determined it would not.
(Id.) The Court applied Pennsylvania law to the
April 2017 agreement because it interpreted that contract as
providing for either the application of New York
or the law of the forum where Plaintiff chose to initiate a
suit. (ECF No. 19, p. 2.) As Plaintiff initiated suit in the
Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas, the Court applied
Pennsylvania law to that agreement as well. (Id.)
with this outcome, Defendant filed a Motion for
Reconsideration of the denied Motion to Open based on
purportedly: 1) newly discovered evidence that supports a
public policy argument for the application of California law
to the December 2016 agreement, 2) new law demonstrating an
error in the Court's choice-of-law analysis with respect
to the December 2016 agreement, and 3) an inaccurate
interpretation of the governing law provision in the April
2017 agreement, which led to an incorrect application of
Pennsylvania law rather than New York law. Mot. Recons. (ECF
No. 20, pp. 4, 7, 8.) The Court will grant the Motion for
Reconsideration, in part, and deny it, in part. Defendants
have not provided the Court with any new evidence or
identified any misapplication of law with respect to the
Court's application of Pennsylvania law to the December
2016 agreement. However, the Court agrees with Defendant that
an incorrect interpretation of the April 2017 agreement
warrants the application of New York law.
STANDARD OF REVIEW
Motion for Reconsideration
purpose of a motion for reconsideration is to correct
manifest errors of law or fact or to present newly discovered
evidence. United States ex rel. Schumann v. AstraZeneca
Pharm. L.P., 769 F.3d 837, 849 (3d Cir. 2014) (internal
citation omitted). Consequently, and in accordance with Rule
59(e) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure,
reconsideration of a judgment will be granted only when there
is 1) an intervening change in controlling law, 2) newly
available evidence, or 3) a need to correct an error of law
or fact or to prevent manifest injustice. Generally, motions
for reconsideration are highly disfavored by courts and are
granted sparingly. Eichelberger v. City of Phila.,
No. 17-5795, 2018 WL 3730691, at *1 (E.D. Pa. Aug. 3, 2018).
Mere dissatisfaction with a court's ruling will not
warrant reconsideration. Jarzyna v. Home Props.,
L.P., 185 F.Supp.3d 612, 622 (E.D. Pa. 2016).
Motion to Open a ...