The opinion of the court was delivered by: Marrero, District Judge.
On June 27, 2002, the Court entered an Order in the
above-captioned matter granting the National Broadcasting
Company's ("NBC") and Rosalyn Weinman's ("Weinman")
(collectively, the "Defendants") motion for summary judgment
pursuant to Rule 56(c) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure.
Subsequently, the Court issued a Decision and Amended Order on
July 18, 2002 setting forth the Court's rationale for granting
the Defendants' motion for summary judgment. See Montanile v.
National Broadcast Company, No. 00 Civ. 8946, 2002 WL 1628866
(S.D.N.Y. July 23, 2002) (the "Decision"). Plaintiff Leslie
Hausner Montanile ("Montanile") has moved for reconsideration
pursuant to Rule 59(e) contending that the Court "made numerous
errors with respect to findings of fact" and "`overlooked
matters . . . which might have materially influenced the earlier
decision.'" (Memorandum of Law in Support of Plaintiffs
Rule 59(e) Motion for Reconsideration, dated Aug. 2, 2002 ("Pl.'s
Memo"), at 1.) Montanile's contentions are baseless and merely
reiterate the same arguments that she made in her opposition to
the Defendants' motion for summary judgment. For the reasons set
forth below, the motion for reconsideration is denied.
Reconsideration of a court's previous order is an
"extraordinary remedy to be employed sparingly in the interests
of finality and conservation of scarce judicial resources." In
re Health Management Sys. Inc. Secs. Litig., 113 F. Supp.2d 613,
614 (S.D.N.Y. 2000). Under Local Rule 6.3, which governs motions
for reconsideration, the moving party must demonstrate
controlling law or factual matters put before the court on the
underlying motion that the movant believes the court overlooked
and that might reasonably be expected to alter the court's
decision. See Lichtenberg v. Besicorp Group Inc., 28 Fed.Appx.
73, 2002 WL 109483, *1 (2d Cir. Jan. 25, 2002); SEC v. Ashbury
Capital Partners, L.P., No. 00 Civ. 7898, 2001 WL 604044, *1
(S.D.N.Y. May 31, 2001) (citing AT & T Corp. v. Comty. Network
Servs., Inc., No. 00 Civ. 316, 2000 WL 1174992, at *1 (S.D.N.Y.
Aug. 18, 2000) and Local Rule 6.3). Reconsideration may be
granted to correct clear error, prevent manifest injustice or
review the court's decision in light of the availability of new
evidence. See Virgin Atlantic Airways, Ltd. v. Nat'l Mediation
Bd., 956 F.2d 1245, 1255 (2d Cir. 1992).
A Rule 59(e) motion, however, is not intended as a vehicle for
a party dissatisfied with the Court's ruling to advance new
theories that the movant failed to advance in connection with
the underlying motion, nor to secure a rehearing on the merits
with regard to issues already decided. See Griffin Ind., Inc.
v. Petrojam, Ltd., 72 F. Supp.2d 365, 368 (S.D.N.Y. 1999).
Consistent with these objectives, Local Rule 6.3 is designed to
"ensure the finality of decisions and to prevent the practice of
a losing party [from] examining a decision and then plugging the
gaps of a lost motion with additional matters." See id.
(citing Carolco Pictures, Inc. v. Sirota, 700 F. Supp. 169, 170
(S.D.N.Y. 1988)). A Court must narrowly construe and strictly
apply Local Rule 6.3, so as to avoid duplicative rulings on
previously considered issues, and to prevent the rule from being
used as a substitute for appealing a final judgment. See Shamis
v. Ambassador Factors Corp., 187 F.R.D. 148, 150 (S.D.N.Y.
1999); In re Houbigant, Inc., 914 F. Supp. 997, 1001 (noting
that a motion for reconsideration is not an opportunity for the
moving party "to argue those issues
already considered when a party does not like the way the
original motion was resolved.").
Here, the Court did not overlook the issues Montanile relies
upon as grounds for reconsideration. Montanile urges
reconsideration, in part, due to certain factual findings which
remain in dispute between the parties, such as the actual date
of Montanile's termination from NBC. Rather than glossing over
these factual disputes, the Court unequivocally acknowledged
that "[a]lthough at times the parties offer different versions
of certain of the events involved in this case, these
differences are not material so as to preclude summary judgment
as a matter of law." Id. at *2. The Court was mindful of all
of the factual disputes between the parties and took care to
distinguish those disputes that impacted the case in a
meaningful and material way.
As to the date of Montanile's termination, the Court noted
that Montanile herself attested, in sworn pleadings, that the
date of her termination was September 21, 1999. In the charge
she filed with the federal Equal Employment Opportunity
Commission, Montanile asserted that she was terminated on
September 21, 1992. In her complaint filed in the New York State
Supreme Court, New York County, Montanile unambiguously averred
that "[i]n and around the morning of September 21, 1999 and upon
leaving Weinman's office, plaintiff immediately reported
Weinman's conduct to NBC's Employee Relations and that plaintiff
had been fired for having filed a complaint." (Compl. at 78.) In
her opposition to the Defendants' summary judgment motion,
Montanile claimed "that she was fired on the morning of
September 21, 1999 by Weinman." (Plaintiffs Memorandum of Law in
Opposition to Defendant's Rule 56 Motion for Summary Judgment,
dated Oct. 22, 2001, at 22.) Given her own unambiguous
assertions, it is surprising that Montanile now claims that the
Court erred in its factual findings. In any event, the date of
Montanile's termination proved meaningless in the final
analysis, as Montanile failed to show that an alternate date of
termination, by itself, would substantiate a genuine issue of
material fact warranting trial as to any of her claims.
As to her claim of retaliation in violation of Title VII of
the Civil Rights Act of 1964, 42 U.S.C. § 2000e, et seq.,
Montanile points to one lone allegation in support of her
contention that Weinman had knowledge of her complaint to NBC's
Employee Relations Department and, consequently, that Weinman
had unlawfully terminated her. Montanile alleges that Weinman
said she did not "`care if [plaintiff] complained about her.'"
(Plaintiffs Reconsideration, at 1.)*fn1 This lone statement
that Montanile seeks to attribute to Weinman falls far short of
substantiating retaliation. It indicates nothing about what
Weinman knew or did not know about an actual complaint, or about
the substance of Montanile's complaint. On its face, the
statement appears to be a
general remark made in a dispute between two persons in the
Insofar as Montanile contends that the Court ignored this
alleged statement by Weinman, she is mistaken. The Court
recognized that Montanile had alleged one isolated incident that
fell short of substantiating Weinman's knowledge of Montanile's
complaint to NBC's Employee Relations Department. Against this,
the Court weighed the sworn statements of Weinman that she had
no knowledge of any institutional complaint filed by Montanile
and of Alex McCauley who testified that NBC's Executive Vice
President of Employee Relations specifically instructed all
relevant parties not to discuss the complaint with Weinman and
that none of them did so. Montanile, 2002 WL 1628866, at *5.
Thus, even affording Montanile all reasonable inferences in her
favor, the evidence that Montanile cites in support of her claim
is limited to her own speculations and assumptions.
As to Montanile's claim of employment discrimination, the
Court found that Montanile had failed to present any evidence of
circumstances giving rise to an inference of discrimination.
Id. at *4. Montanile's motion raises nothing to warrant
reconsideration on this claim. None of the alleged changes in
Montanile's terms and conditions of employment — minor changes
in job responsibilities, the relocation of her desk and
cessation of over-time pay — were related in any cognizable way
to Montanile's claims of discrimination.
Furthermore, Montanile appears to ignore the critical analysis
set forth in St. Mary's Honor Ctr. v. Hicks, 509 U.S. 502,
506-08, 113 S.Ct. 2742, 125 L.Ed.2d 407 (1993). The Defendants
not only demonstrated that Montanile had failed to make out a
prima facie case of discrimination, they also offered convincing
evidence of legitimate, non-discriminatory reasons for their
actions. Thus, in order to survive summary judgment, Montanile
was obliged to present evidence suggesting that the Defendants'
stated reasons were merely a pretext for discrimination. Id.
at 507-08, 113 S.Ct. 2742. In her opposition papers and in her
motion for reconsideration, Montanile merely rested on her
inferential leaps and speculative assertions. Throughout the
burden-shifting analysis in Title VII cases, the ultimate burden
of proving intentional discrimination lies with the plaintiff.
Montanile failed to carry her burden and the Court found no
evidence that would even suggest circumstances giving rise to an
inference of discrimination.
For the reasons set forth above, it is hereby
ORDERED that Montanile's motion for reconsideration pursuant
to Rule 59(e) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure ...