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UNIVERSAL ACUPUNCTURE PAIN v. STATE FARM MUTUAL AUTO.

United States District Court, Southern District of New York


May 8, 2003

UNIVERSAL ACUPUNCTURE PAIN SERVICES, P.C., PLAINTIFF, AGAINST STATE FARM MUTUAL AUTOMOBILE INSURANCE COMPANY, DEFENDANT. STATE FARM MUTUAL AUTOMOBILE INSURANCE COMPANY, COUNTER-PLAINTIFF, AGAINST UNIVERSAL ACUPUNCTURE PAIN SERVICES, P.C., DIPAK NANDI, AND DONGXING SUN, COUNTER-DEFENDANTS.

The opinion of the court was delivered by: Shira A. Scheindlin, United States District Judge

MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER
By letter dated April 28, 2003, Quadrino & Schwartz, P.C. ("Q&S"), former counsel for plaintiff Universal Acupuncture Pain Services, P.C. ("Universal") and counter-defendant Dr. Dipak Nandi ("Nandi"), requested reconsideration of this Court's November 12, 2002 Opinion and Order in Universal Acupuncture Pain Servs., P.C. v. State Farm Mut. Auto. Ins. Co., 232 F. Supp.2d 127 (S.D.N.Y. 2002), denying Q&S's motion to fix and determine attorney's liens.*fn1 See 4/28/03 Letter to the Court from Richard J. Quadrino ("Q&S Ltr."). For the reasons set forth below, Q&S's motion for reconsideration is denied.*fn2

I. BACKGROUND

In May 2001, Universal retained Q&S to represent it in a suit against State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Company ("State Farm") for payment of overdue claims. See Universal Acupuncture, 232 F. Supp.2d at 129. The Retainer Agreement ("Retainer") provided for compensation on a contingency fee basis. See id. State Farm asserted counterclaims against Universal and third-party defendants Nandi, the founder of Universal, and Dongxing Sun, a licensed acupuncturist. See id. Q&S agreed to represent Nandi on the counterclaims as well, also on a contingency basis. See id.

On August 19, 2002, Universal and Nandi discharged Q&S as counsel. See id. By letter dated September 4, 2002, Q&S advised Universal and Nandi that it elected to be compensated on a quantum meruit basis for the reasonable value of the legal services rendered on their behalf. See id. Universal and Nandi refused to pay the amount due. See id.

On September 18, 2002, Q&S filed a motion seeking immediate compensation in quantum meruit for the reasonable value of the legal services it provided to Universal and Nandi. See id. at 128. This Court denied Q&S's fee application, holding that, because "[t]he Retainer between Q&S and Universal clearly provides that Q&S is not entitled to legal fees if there is no recovery on Universal's claims, making this a typical contingency case," the determination of Q&S's legal fees must await the conclusion of the litigation. Id. at 132.

In April 2002, the underlying case settled and the action was discontinued. Q&S nonetheless requests that this Court reconsider its prior ruling.

II. LEGAL STANDARD

A motion for reconsideration is governed by Local Rule 6.3 and is appropriate where a court overlooks "controlling decisions or factual matters that were put before it on the underlying motion . . . and which, had they been considered, might have reasonably altered the result before the court." Range Road Music, Inc. v. Music Sales Corp., 90 F. Supp.2d 390, 392 (S.D.N.Y. 2000) (internal quotation marks and citation omitted); see also Shrader v. CSX Transp., Inc., 70 F.3d 255, 257 (2d Cir. 1995) ("The standard for granting . . . a motion [for reconsideration] is strict, and reconsideration will generally be denied unless the moving party can point to controlling decisions or data that the court overlooked — matters, in other words, that might reasonably be expected to alter the conclusion reached by the court."). Alternatively, a motion for reconsideration may be granted to "correct a clear error or prevent manifest injustice." Doe v. New York City Dep't of Soc. Servs., 709 F.2d 782, 789 (2d Cir. 1983). There is a ten-day time limit for bringing motions for reconsideration. See S.D.N.Y. R. 6.3 (requiring that a motion for reconsideration or reargument be served within ten days after the docketing of the court's determination of the original motion).

Local Rule 6.3 should be "narrowly construed and strictly applied so as to avoid repetitive arguments on issues that have been considered fully by the Court." Dellefave v. Access Temps. Inc., No. 99 Civ. 6098, 2001 WL 286771, at *1 (S.D.N.Y. Mar. 22, 2001); see also In re Houbigant Inc., 914 F. Supp. 997, 1001 (S.D.N.Y. 1996) (a Local Rule 6.3 motion "is not a motion to reargue those issues already considered when a party does not like the way the original motion was resolved"); Carolco Pictures, Inc. v. Sirota, 700 F. Supp. 169, 170 (S.D.N.Y. 1988) (purpose of Local Rule 6.3 is to "ensure the finality of decisions and to prevent the practice of a losing party examining a decision and then plugging the gaps of a lost motion with additional matters").

III. DISCUSSION

Q&S seeks in this motion for reconsideration to reargue issues that were carefully considered by this Court more than five months ago. It does not raise any issues of fact or law overlooked by this Court. Nor does it argue that reconsideration is necessary here to prevent manifest injustice. To the contrary, justice requires that Q&S not be permitted to reargue issues that were fully considered by this Court several months ago and are now on appeal. Because there is absolutely no basis for Q&S's untimely motion, it is hereby denied.*fn3

IV. CONCLUSION

For the reasons set forth above, Q&S's motion for reconsideration is denied.


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