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Flaherty v. Filardi

September 12, 2008


The opinion of the court was delivered by: Pitman, United States Magistrate Judge


I. Introduction

By notice of motion dated August 31, 2007 (Docket Item 243), plaintiff moves for reconsideration of my Opinion and Order dated August 14, 2007 ("August 14 Order") (Docket Item 233). For the reasons set forth below, plaintiff's motion is denied in all respects.

II. Facts

This is a copyright infringement action in which plaintiff, an attorney who is proceeding pro se, claims that the motion picture Bringing Down the House, its screenplay and draft screenplays infringe a screenplay that she authored entitled Amoral Dilemma. Plaintiff's claims are discussed in detail in the opinion of the Honorable Laura Taylor Swain, United States District Judge, granting in part and denying in part defendants' motion for summary judgment. Flaherty v. Filardi, 388 F. Supp.2d 274 (S.D.N.Y. 2005). Familiarity with this decision is assumed.

My August 14 Order, familiarity with which is also assumed, resolved a number of scheduling and discovery disputes. Specifically, the August 14 Order denied plaintiff's applications for the following relief: (1) an extension of discovery; (2) an extension of the time within which discovery disputes could be raised; (3) to compel defendants to state the basis for a number of objections asserted at the deposition of Jason Filardi; (4) to compel Jason Filardi to answer certain questions posed at his deposition; (5) to compel defendants to produce original documents; (6) to compel defendants' and the Writers Guild of America's production of unredacted financial documents, and (8) for the entry of a default judgment and other sanctions based on defendants' counsels' misconduct at the Filardi deposition and unspecified alleged acts of misconduct.

With one exception discussed below, plaintiff does not cite any facts or legal authorities that I overlooked in my August 14 Order. Rather, the gravamen of plaintiff's application appears to be her general dissatisfaction with the fact that my August 14 Order denied all of her requests for relief. Such dissatisfaction, however, is simply not an appropriate basis for reconsideration.

III. Analysis

Motions for reconsideration are appropriate only in limited circumstances.

Motions for reargument "are granted when new facts come to light or when it appears that controlling precedents were overlooked." Weissman v. Fruchtman, 658 F. Supp. 547 (S.D.N.Y. 1987). The proponent of such a motion is not supposed to treat the court's initial decision as the opening of a dialogue in which that party may then use [Local Civil Rule 6.3] to advance new facts and theories in response to the court's rulings. The purpose of the rule 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." Lewis v. New York Telephone, No. 83 Civ. 7129, slip op. at 2, 1986 WL 1441 (S.D.N.Y. 1986) cited in Carolco Pictures Inc. v. Sirota, 700 F. Supp. 169 (S.D.N.Y. 1988).

McMahan & Co. v. Donaldson, Lufkin & Jenrette Sec. Corp., 727 F. Supp. 833, 833 (S.D.N.Y. 1989); see also Mahmud v. Kaufmann, 496 F. Supp.2d 266, 269-70 (S.D.N.Y. 2007). "A movant for reconsideration bears the heavy burden of demonstrating that there has been an intervening change of controlling law, that new evidence has become available, or that there is a need to correct a clear error or prevent manifest injustice." Quinn v. Altria Group, Inc., 07 Civ. 8783 (LTS)(RLE), 2008 WL 3518462 at *1 (S.D.N.Y. Aug. 1, 2008), citing Virgin Airways v. Nat'l Mediation Bd., 956 F.2d 1245, 1255 (2d Cir. 1992).

"[T]o be entitled to reargument under Local [Civil Rule 6.3, a party] must demonstrate that the Court overlooked controlling decisions or factual matters that were put before the Court on the underlying motion." Am. Alliance Ins. Co. v. Eagle Ins. Co., 163 F.R.D. 211, 213 (S.D.N.Y. 1995), rev'd on other grounds, 92 F.3d 57 (2d Cir. 1996), citing Ameritrust Co. Nat'l Ass'n v. Dew, 151 F.R.D. 237, 238 (S.D.N.Y. 1993); Fulani v. Brady, 149 F.R.D. 501, 503 (S.D.N.Y. 1993), aff'd sub nom., Fulani v. Bentsen, 35 F.3d 49 (2d Cir. 1994); East Coast Novelty Co. v. City of New York, 141 F.R.D. 245, 245 (S.D.N.Y. 1992); B.N.E. Swedbank, S.A. v. Banker, 791 F. Supp. 1002, 1008 (S.D.N.Y. 1992); Novak v. Nat'l Broad. Co., 760 F. Supp. 47, 48 (S.D.N.Y. 1991); Ashley Meadows Farm, Inc. v. Am. Horse Shows Ass'n, 624 F. Supp. 856, 857 (S.D.N.Y. 1985). Thus, "a party in its motion for reargument 'may not advance new facts, issues or arguments not previously presented to the court.'" In re Integrated Res. Real Estate Ltd. P'ships Sec. Litig., 850 F. Supp. 1105, 1151 (S.D.N.Y. 1994), quoting Litton Indus., Inc. v. Lehman Bros. Kuhn Loeb, Inc., 86 Civ. 6447 (JMC), 1989 WL 162315 at *4 (S.D.N.Y. Aug. 4, 1989), rev'd on other grounds, 967 F.2d 742 (2d Cir. 1992); accord Caribbean Trading & Fid. Corp. v. Nigerian Nat'l Petroleum Corp., 948 F.2d 111, 115 (2d Cir. 1991); see also Woodard v. Hardenfelder, 845 F. Supp. 960, 966 (E.D.N.Y. 1994). A party should not use a motion for reconsideration "to reargue those issues already considered when a party does not like the way the original motion was resolved." In re Houbigant, Inc., 914 F. Supp. 997, 1001 (S.D.N.Y. 1996).

Plaintiff asserts six purported bases for reconsideration. ...

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