The opinion of the court was delivered by: Sweet, District Judge.
Defendant Simpson and Brown ("SB") has moved, pursuant to Rule
59(e) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, for amendment of
the judgment rendered by this Court in this action on July 6,
1999. SB seeks reduction of the judgment to reflect amounts
recovered by plaintiffs in a post-verdict settlement with other
defendants. For the reasons set forth below, the motion is
Facts and Prior Proceedings
Plaintiffs Steven and Dolores Gravatt (the "Gravatts")
commenced this action on January 16, 1997 against the City of New
York, Massand, and SB, for personal injuries sustained by Steven
Gravatt ("Gravatt") at a construction site on January 31, 1996.
The City owned the construction site, Massand was the engineering
firm hired by the City to design the project, supervise
construction, and ensure that work was carried out safely, and SB
was the construction company hired to perform the work under the
City's and Massand's supervision and control. Gravatt worked for
SB at the time.
On April 6, 1998, summary judgment motions were determined in
favor of the Gravatts on their state Labor Law claims against the
City and Massand, against SB's motion to dismiss plaintiffs'
federal maritime claim under § 905(b) of the Longshore and Harbor
Workers' Compensation Act, 33 U.S.C.A. §§ 901-950 (West 1999)
("LHWCA"). The issue of contributory negligence was reserved for
trial, and other rulings were made which are not material to this
The case was tried to the bench from November 30 through
December 4, 1998. Thereafter, the parties submitted their
proposed findings of fact and conclusions of law. On March 3,
1999, the Court issued an opinion finding in favor of the
Gravatts' state Labor Law claims against the City and Massand and
their federal LHWCA § 905(b) claim against SB. The City prevailed
on its indemnity claims against Massand and SB, but Massand's
contribution claim against SB was denied. In addition, Gravatt
was awarded $200,000 in punitive damages against Massand, but
denied an award of punitive damages against SB. Gravatt was held
to be one-third contributorily negligent.
On May 24, 1999, the Gravatts' Rule 52(e) motion was decided
and the opinion of March 3, 1999 revised. The revised opinion
awarded Gravatt $400,000 in punitive damages against SB and
concluded that he was not contributorily negligent.
On July 6, judgment was entered in favor of Gravatt for
$2,024,529.73, and in favor of Dolores Gravatt for $230,327.75,
for a total award of $2,254,857.48, plus interest and costs. As
against the City and Massand, the judgment was not reduced to a
simple numerical figure, because it was entered pursuant to New
York's structured judgment statute, which requires part of the
judgment to be paid out over time. Defendants were held jointly
and severally liable for all damages, except for punitive
SB has moved for reconsideration of the judgment pursuant to
Rule 59(e). To prevail on a motion for reconsideration under Rule
59(e), the movant must present "[factual] matters or controlling
decisions the court overlooked that might materially have
influenced its earlier decision." Robins v. Max Mara, U.S.A.,
Inc., 923 F. Supp. 460, 472 (S.D.N.Y. 1996) (quoting Morser v.
AT&T. Info. Sys., 715 F. Supp. 516, 517 (S.D.N.Y. 1989)).
Alternatively, the movant must demonstrate "the need to correct a
clear error or prevent manifest injustice." Fruit of the Loom,
Inc. v. American Mktg. Enters., Inc., 97 Civ. 3510(HB), 1999 WL
527989, at *1 (S.D.N.Y. July 22, 1999) (quoting Morales v.
Quintiles Transnational Corp., 25 F. Supp.2d 369, 372 (S.D.N Y
1998)). These criteria are strictly construed against the moving
party so as to avoid repetitive arguments on issues that have
been considered fully by the court. See Monaghan v. SZS 33
Assocs., 153 F.R.D. 60, 65 (S.D.N.Y. 1994).
Since the settlement between the Gravatts, the City, and
Massand took place after this Court entered judgment, SB clearly
satisfies the threshold requirements for a 59(e) motion. Indeed,
Singer v. Olympia Brewing Company, 878 F.2d 596 (2d Cir. 1989),
the case upon which SB's motion is grounded, affirmed a district
court's granting of a 59(e) motion to reduce a judgment based on
a post-verdict settlement. See Singer, 878 F.2d at 601.
However, as set forth herewith, the current law does not support
a reduction of the judgment on the facts of this case.
Singer, decided by this Circuit in 1989, held that "under
[the one satisfaction rule], when a plaintiff receives a
settlement from one defendant, a nonsettling defendant is
entitled to a credit of the settlement amount against any
judgment obtained by the plaintiff against the nonsettling
defendant as long as both the settlement and judgment represent
common damages." Id. at 600. Singer did not distinguish
between pre- and post-judgment settlements. SB maintains that
Singer is still controlling in this circuit.
According to the Gravatts, Singer is no longer good law, in
light of the Supreme Court's subsequent decision in McDermott
Inc. v. AmClyde and River Don Castings Ltd., 511 U.S. 202, 114
S.Ct. 1461, 128 L.Ed.2d 148 (1994). McDermott squarely rejects
the one-satisfaction rule in favor of a proportionate share
approach, in which "the money paid [by the settling tortfeasors]
extinguishes any claim that the injured party has against the
[settling] tortfeasor[s] and also diminishes the claim that the
injured party has against the other ...