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Lori Jo Vincent, et al v. the Money Store

November 29, 2011

LORI JO VINCENT, ET AL., PLAINTIFFS,
v.
THE MONEY STORE, ET AL., DEFENDANTS.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: John G. Koeltl, District Judge:

MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER

The plaintiffs, Lori Jo Vincent, Ruth Ann Gutierrez (also known as Ruth Ann Alamillo), Linda U. Garrido, and John Garrido (collectively "the plaintiffs") move pursuant to Rule 6.3 of the Local Civil Rules of the Southern District of New York for reconsideration of this Court's order dated September 29, 2011, declining to exercise supplemental jurisdiction over the plaintiffs' state law claims after dismissing the plaintiffs' federal claim under § 1666d of the Truth in Lending Act ("TILA"), 15 U.S.C. § 1601 et seq., which was the only remaining federal claim in the action.

I.

The standard to be applied to a motion for reconsideration under Local Rule 6.3 is well-established. It is the same as the standard that was applied under former Local Civil Rule 3(j). See United States v. Letscher, 83 F. Supp. 2d 367, 382 (S.D.N.Y. 1999) (collecting cases). The moving party is required to demonstrate that "the Court [] overlooked 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." Nakano v. Jamie Sadock, Inc., No. 98 Civ. 0515, 2000 WL 1010825, at *1 (S.D.N.Y. July 20, 2000) (citation omitted).

The decision to grant or deny a motion for reconsideration "rests within the sound discretion of the district court." Id. The rule "is narrowly construed and strictly applied so as to avoid repetitive arguments on issues that have been fully considered by the court." Walsh v. McGee, 918 F. Supp. 107, 110 (S.D.N.Y. 1996) (internal quotation marks and citation omitted); see also Eaton Vance Mut. Funds Fee Litig., 403 F. Supp. 2d 310, 313 (S.D.N.Y. 2005), aff'd Bellikoff v. Eaton Vance Corp., 481 F.3d 110 (2d Cir. 2007); Nakano, 2000 WL 1010825, at *1.

II.

The plaintiffs brought the underlying action ("the Vincent case") against The Money Store, TMS Mortgage, Inc., HomEq Servicing Corp. (collectively "The Money Store Defendants") and Moss, Codilis, Stawiarski, Morris, Schneider & Prior, LLP ("Moss Codilis") alleging violations of TILA, as well as other claims including breach of contract, fraud, unjust enrichment, and other state law claims. The plaintiffs alleged, among other things, that they were charged improper legal fees and expenses by the defendants in connection with mortgage loans they had taken out on their homes and that they were the victims of improper debt collection practices.

In a related case, also before this Court, plaintiff Joseph Mazzei alleged that the same Money Store Defendants sued in the Vincent case violated TILA and other federal statutes, and California state law by charging unauthorized fees and expenses in connection with his loan agreement ("the Mazzei case"). Mazzei did not bring any claims against Moss Codilis.

On September 29, 2011, the Court issued a Memorandum Opinion and Order in the Mazzei case denying the Money Store Defendants' motion for summary judgment dismissing the plaintiff's TILA claim. Mazzei v. Money Store, No. 01 Civ. 5694, 2011 WL 4501311 (S.D.N.Y. Sept. 29, 2011). On that same day, the Court issued a Memorandum Opinion and Order in the Vincent case, which order is the subject of this motion for reconsideration. Vincent v. Money Store, No. 03 Civ. 2876, 2011 WL 4501325 (S.D.N.Y. Sept. 29, 2011). In this decision, the Court granted summary judgment dismissing the plaintiffs' claim under TILA, concluding that The Money Store Defendants did not qualify as "creditors" under TILA and therefore could not be held liable under the statute. Id. at *5. Only state law claims were asserted against Moss Codilis. The Court denied Moss Codilis' motion for summary judgment, which sought to dismiss the state law claims, concluding that issues of fact remained as to whether the law firm had engaged in the unauthorized practice of law. Id. at *7. The Court, however, declined to exercise supplemental jurisdiction over the plaintiffs' state law claims against The Money Store Defendants and Moss Codilis on the basis that the only federal claim remaining in the action, the TILA claim, had been dismissed, and it was therefore appropriate to decline to exercise supplemental jurisdiction under 28 U.S.C. § 1367(c)(3). Id. at *5-7. The plaintiffs now move for reconsideration of this decision to decline to exercise supplemental jurisdiction.

III.

A district court's exercise of supplemental jurisdiction is governed by 28 U.S.C. § 1367. Under subsection (a) of that section:

[I]n any civil action of which the district courts have original jurisdiction, the district courts shall have supplemental jurisdiction over all other claims that are so related to claims in the action within such original jurisdiction that they form part of the same case or controversy under Article III of the United States Constitution.

28 U.S.C. § 1367(a). If a district court has supplemental jurisdiction over a claim under § 1367(a), it may only decline to exercise such jurisdiction if one of the bases set forth in subsection 1367(c) is present. See Shahriar v. Smith & Wollensky Rest. Grp., Inc., 659 F.3d 234, 245 (2d Cir. 2011);

Itar-Tass Russian News Agency v. Russian Kurier, Inc., 140 F.3d 442, 448 (2d Cir. 1998) ("[T]he discretion to decline supplemental jurisdiction is available only if founded upon an enumerated category of subsection 1367(c)."). Subsection 1367(c) enumerates four such ...


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