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Great American Insurance Co. v. Usf Holland, Inc.

United States District Court, Second Circuit

April 30, 2013

GREAT AMERICAN INSURANCE COMPANY OF NEW YORK, INC., Plaintiff,
v.
USF HOLLAND, INC., Defendant.

MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER

KATHERINE B. FORREST, District Judge.

Defendant USF Holland, Inc. seeks reconsideration of the Court's Memorandum Decision and Order of March 27, 2013. That Decision granted in part and denied in part cross-motions for summary judgment brought by defendant and plaintiff Great American Insurance Company of New York, Inc. ("Great American") relating to an interstate shipment of vaccines that froze while in the defendant's care. It also granted plaintiffs motion to exclude the proposed expert testimony of Wesley Chused, Esq. For purposes of this opinion, the Court assumes general familiarity with the underlying facts of the case. A full factual summary can be found in the March 27, 2013 Decision. (ECF No. 69.)

In its March 27, 2013, Decision, the Court granted summary judgment to plaintiff as to defendant's liability under the Carmack Amendment, 49 U.S.C. ยง 14706, but found that a liability limitation contained in the pricing agreement negotiated between the parties capped damages at $100, 000. The Court also granted plaintiffs motion in limine to exclude the Chused testimony.

Defendant seeks reconsideration pursuant to Local Civil Rule 6.3, and Fed. RR. Civ. P. 52, 59(e), and 60(b). For the reasons set forth below, defendant's motion for reconsideration is DENIED.

Standard of Review

As an initial matter, the Court will not consider defendant's request for relief pursuant to Fed.R.Civ.P. 60 as defendant fails to make any argument that could support relief under that rule.[1]

As to the remaining grounds for defendant's request for relief-Local Rule 6.3, and Fed. RR. Civ. P. 59(e) and 52(b)-the applicable standards of review are identical. R.F.M.A.S., Inc. v. Mimi So , 640 F.Supp.2d 506, 509 (S.D.N.Y. 2009)(standard identical for Rule 59(e) and Local Rule 6.3); Sank v. City Univ. of New York, 2003 WL 21403682 (S.D.N.Y. June 19, 2003)(same standard for 52(b), which requests revised findings of fact, and Local Rule 6.3).

Under these rules, the movant must show that the Court overlooked "controlling decisions or factual matters" that had been previously put before it. R.F.M.A.S., Inc. , 640 F.Supp.2d at 509 (discussion in the context of both Local Civil Rule 6.3 and Fed.R.Civ.P. 59(e)); see also Padilla v. Maersk Line, Ltd. , 636 F.Supp.2d 256, 258-59 (S.D.N.Y. 2009). "Such motions must be narrowly construed and strictly applied in order to discourage litigants from making repetitive arguments on issues that have been thoroughly considered by the court." Range Road Music, Inc. v. Music Sales Corp. , 90 F.Supp.2d 390, 391-92 (S.D.N.Y. 2000); see also SimplexGrinnell LP v. Integrated Sys. & Power, Inc. , 642 F.Supp.2d 206 (S.D.N.Y. 2009) ("A motion for reconsideration is not an invitation to parties to treat the court's initial decision as the opening of a dialogue... to advance new theories or adduce new evidence in response to the court's ruling.") (internal quotation and citations omitted); United States v. Local 1804-1, Int'l Longshoreman's Ass'n , 831 F.Supp. 167, 169 (S.D.N.Y.1993) (Rule 52(b) motions should be granted where necessary to correct "manifest errors of law or fact, " but they cannot be used to "relitigate old issues, to advance new theories, or to secure a rehearing on the merits").

Analysis

Defendant has failed to demonstrate that the Court overlooked any "manifest errors of law or fact"; rather it merely rehashes the precise arguments that the Court rejected in considering plaintiffs motion in limine and the cross-motions for summary judgment.

Motion in Limine

This failure is especially clear as regards reconsideration of the motion in limine that excluded the Chused testimony and report. The entirety of defendant's briefing relating to Chused's testimony simply repeats the arguments considered and rejected by the Court in its previous decision.[2] Defendant has made no showing that the Court overlooked any controlling decisions or factual matters with respect to the motion in limine.

Summary Judgment

The same is true for defendant's arguments relating to the Court's partial grant of summary judgment. Of these arguments, only one merits substantial discussion: defendant's assertion that the Court erred in finding that a "guaranteed delivery" sticker placed by the shipper (plaintiffs insured, Novartis) merely constituted an offer to purchase guaranteed delivery services. The Court found that defendant never agreed to provide these services (as evidenced by defendant's email to Novartis stating that such services were unavailable due to a winter storm and by defendant's failure to provide or charge for the service). Without a manifestation of acceptance by defendant, well-established contract principles dictate that no contract to provide ...


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