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East Coast Resources, LLC v. Town of Hempstead

July 19, 2010

EAST COAST RESOURCES, LLC, PLAINTIFF(S),
v.
TOWN OF HEMPSTEAD, DEFENDANT(S).



The opinion of the court was delivered by: E. Thomas Boyle United States Magistrate Judge

MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER

Before the court is the plaintiff, East Coast Resources, LLC's ("ECR"), motion for reconsideration of the Court's prior Memorandum Opinion and Order, dated April 21, 2010, in which it granted summary judgment to the defendant, the Town of Hempstead (the "Town"). ECR only challenges that portion of the prior decision that pertains to ECR's claim for lost profits for the two option years of the parties' contract that were ultimately not exercised. ECR does not seek reconsideration of the remaining portions of the prior decision. For the following reasons, ECR's motion is denied.

FACTS

Familiarity with the facts of the underlying action is presumed. By Memorandum Opinion and Order dated April 21, 2010, the Court granted the Town's motion for summary judgment and found that, as a matter of law, ECR was not entitled to seek lost profits for the two option years of the parties' contract that were not exercised. (Mem. Op. and Order 13.) The Court based its decision on the fact that although the Town sought to exercise the second of the three option years in January 2007, ECR refused to do so and formally advised the Town by letter dated March 28, 2007 that it would not continue to perform under the parties' contract as of March 31, 2007. (Mem. Op. and Order 11-13.) Accordingly, the Court found that the contract between the parties ceased - at ECR's direction - as of March 31, 2007 and therefore ECR was not entitled to seek damages for lost profits for the two option years that were not exercised, since it had refused to perform. (Mem. Op. and Order 13.)

ECR now seeks reconsideration of that decision on the grounds that the Court overlooked controlling legal precedent by the Second Circuit, i.e., Koufakis v. Carvel, 425 F.2d 892 (2d Cir. 1970). The Town opposes ECR's request for reconsideration and argues that ECR has not met the strict standard required for reconsideration.

DISCUSSION

I. Legal Standard

Motions for reconsideration in this district are governed by Local Civil Rule 6.3 and are committed to the sound discretion of the district court. See Ehrlich v. Inc. Village of Sea Cliff, No. CV 04-4025, 2007 WL 1593241, at *1 (E.D.N.Y. June 1, 2007) ("A motion for reconsideration is within the sound discretion of the district court."); Hunt v. Enzo Biochem, Inc., No. 06 Civ. 170, at *1 (S.D.N.Y. May 7, 2007) ("Motions for reconsideration are governed by Local Civil Rule 6.3 and are committed to the sound discretion of the district court."). "Reconsideration is an 'extraordinary remedy to be employed sparingly in the interests of finality and conservation of scarce judicial resources.'" Hunt, 2007 WL 1346652, at *1 (quoting In re Health Mgmt. Sys., Inc. Sec. Litig., 113 F. Supp. 2d 613, 614 (S.D.N.Y. 2000)). For this reason, Local Civil Rule 6.3 is "narrowly construed and strictly applied so as to avoid repetitive arguments on issues that have been considered fully by the court." Dietrich v. Bauer, 76 F. Supp. 2d 312, 327 (S.D.N.Y. 1999); see also Ehrlich, 2007 WL 1593241, at *2 (stating that it is well settled in the Second Circuit that the standard for granting a motion for reconsideration is "strict"); Church of Scientology Int'l v. Time Warner, Inc., No. 92 Civ. 3024, 1997 WL 538912, at *2 (S.D.N.Y. Aug. 27, 1997) ("The standards for reargument are strictly applied in order to preserve scarce judicial resources and avoid piecemeal litigation.").

"To prevail on a motion for [reconsideration], the movant 'must demonstrate that the Court overlooked controlling decisions or factual matters that were put before it on the underlying motion.'" Church of Scientology, 1997 WL 538912, at *2 (quoting Gill v. Gilder, No. 95 Civ. 7933, 1997 WL 419983, at *2 (S.D.N.Y. July 28, 1997)). "A motion for reconsideration is not a substitute for appeal . . . Nor is it 'a second bite at the apple for a party dissatisfied with a court's ruling.'" Hunt, 2007 WL 1346652, at *1 (quoting Pannonia Farms, Inc. v. USA Cable, No. 03 Civ. 7841, 2004 WL 1794504, at *2 (S.D.N.Y. Aug. 10, 2004)). Accordingly, a party may not merely offer the same arguments that were previously submitted to the court when seeking reconsideration. See Giordano v. Thomson, No. 03-CV-5672, 2006 WL 1882917, at *1 (E.D.N.Y. June 26, 2006) ("This Court cannot merely consider the same arguments that were previously submitted.") (citing Ruiz v. Comm'r of the D.O.T. of New York, 687 F. Supp. 888, 890 (S.D.N.Y. 1988), modified on other grounds, 934 F.2d 450 (2d Cir. 1991)). Moreover, a party is not permitted to "advance new facts, issues or arguments not previously presented to the Court" on a motion for reconsideration. Caribbean Trading & Fid. Corp. v. Nigerian Nat'l Petroleum Corp., 948 F.2d 111, 115 (2d Cir. 1991) (quotation omitted).

"Indeed, a party requesting [reconsideration] 'is not supposed to treat the court's initial decision as the opening of a dialogue in which that party may then use Rule [6.3] to advance new facts and theories in response to the court's rulings.'" Church of Scientology, 1997 WL 538912, at *2 (quoting Woddard v. Hardenfelder, 845 F. Supp. 960, 966 (E.D.N.Y. 1994) (additional citation omitted); see also Hunt, 2007 WL 1346652, at *1 ("The restrictive application of Local Rule 6.3 helps to prevent the practice of a losing party examining a decision and then plugging the gaps of a lost motion with additional matters.") (quotation omitted).

II. ECR's Motion for Reconsideration

A. Submission of New Evidence by ECR

As a threshold matter, the Town asserts that ECR has submitted new evidence in connection with its motion for reconsideration. (Def. Mem. of Law 4-5.) ECR does not dispute this claim. Such evidence includes excerpts from deposition transcripts as well as the report of ECR's expert, Greg Bingham, (Pl. Mem. of Law Ex. A-G); most, if not all, of which was not submitted to the Court in connection with the underlying summary judgment motion. The submission of new evidence is not proper on a motion for reconsideration and therefore, will not be considered by the Court. See Caribbean Trading & Fid. Corp., 948 F.2d at 115 (noting that a party is not permitted to "advance new facts . . . not previously presented to the Court" on a motion for reconsideration); Bank Leumi Trust Co. v. Istim, Inc., 902 F. Supp. 46, 49 (S.D.N.Y. 1995) (denying motion for reconsideration and holding that information that movant sought to proffer as "new" was not actually new where the movant had access to the information prior to the underlying motion and where the ...


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