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Brennan v. Roman Catholic Diocese of Syracuse New York, Inc.

United States District Court, Second Circuit

November 20, 2013

DENNIS BRENNAN, Plaintiff,
v.
THE ROMAN CATHOLIC DIOCESE OF SYRACUSE NEW YORK, INC., Defendant.

RAYMOND SCHLATHER, ESQ., DIANE V. BRUNS, ESQ., SCHLATHER STUMBAR PARKS & SALK, LLP, Ithaca, NY, Counsel for Plaintiff,

JOHN SCAROLA, ESQ., SEARCY DENNEY SCAROLA, BARNHART & SHIPLEY, P.A., West Palm Beach, FL, Co-Counsel for Plaintiff,

PAUL M. HANRAHAN, ESQ., MAUREEN E. MANEY, ESQ., JANET D. CALLAHAN, ESQ., HANCOCK & ESTABROOK, LLP, Syracuse, NY, Counsel for Defendant.

DECISION and ORDER

GLENN T. SUDDABY, District Judge.

Currently before the Court, in this breach-of-contract action filed by Dennis Brennan ("Plaintiff") against The Roman Catholic Diocese of Syracuse New York, Inc. ("Defendant"), is Plaintiff's motion for reconsideration of the Court's Decision and Order of August 14, 2013. (Dkt. No. 132.) For the reasons set forth below, Plaintiff's motion is denied.

I. RELEVANT BACKGROUND

A. Procedural History

Because this Decision and Order is intended primarily for the review of the parties, the Court will not recite in detail this action's procedural history, except to note the following events: (1) on October 10, 2007, Plaintiff filed his original Complaint in this action; (2) on June 29, 2009, Plaintiff filed an unauthorized Amended Complaint, and on June 2, 2010, he filed a (revised) Second Amended Complaint; (3) on January 10, 2012, the Court granted Defendant's motion to dismiss certain of Plaintiff's claims for failure to state a claim pursuant to Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(6), dismissing his Third, Fourth and Fifth Causes of Action (for fraud, negligence and breach of fiduciary duty), and leaving pending his First and Second Causes of Action (for declaratory judgment and breach of contract); (4) on July 26, 2012, Defendant filed a motion for summary judgment; (5) on August 10, 2012, Plaintiff moved for leave to file a Third Amended Complaint, and on August 27, 2012, he filed an opposition to Defendant's motion for summary judgment; (6) on September 10, 2012, Defendant filed an opposition to Plaintiff's motion to amend and a reply to Plaintiff's opposition; (7) on August 14, 2013, the Court issued a Decision and Order dismissing Plaintiff's First Cause of Action to the extent it was based on a tort theory of liability, and denying Plaintiff's motion to amend; (8) on August 28, 2013, Plaintiff filed a motion for reconsideration of the Court's Decision and Order of August 14, 2013; and (9) on September 16, 2013, Defendant filed an opposition to that motion. (See generally Docket Sheet.)

B. Parties' Briefing on Plaintiff's Motion for Reconsideration

1. Plaintiff's Memorandum of Law in Chief

Generally, in his motion for reconsideration, Plaintiff asserts two arguments. First, he argues, the Court should reconsider its Decision and Order of August 14, 2013, dismissing the tort-based portion of his First Cause of Action for declaratory judgment (on the ground of the law-of-the-case doctrine, specifically, the Court's Decision and Order of January 10, 2012, dismissing all of Plaintiff's tort claims), because of an intervening change of controlling law (namely, the Florida Supreme Court's decision of March 13, 2013, in Tiara Condo Assoc., Inc. v. Marsh & McLennan Co., Inc., 110 So.3d 399 [Fla. 2013], limiting the application of the economic-loss doctrine to products liability cases, and not permitting it to extend to other tort cases or to contract cases). (Dkt. No. 132, Attach. 3, at 3-6 [attaching pages "2" through "5" of Plf.'s Memo. of Law].)

Second, he argues, the Court should reconsider its Decision and Order of August 14, 2013, denying Plaintiff's motion for leave to file a Third Amended Complaint on the ground that Plaintiff's claim of fraud in the inducement in his Second Amended Complaint had already been rejected on the merits by the Court in its Decision and Order of January 10, 2012, because of both clear error and manifest injustice, specifically, (a) the fact that the Second Amended Complaint never intended to assert a claim of fraud in the inducement, and that such a claim was dismissed based only on a pleading deficiency (and not on the merits), and (b) the fact that, while the (PDF-formatted) version of the proposed Third Amended Complaint that was docketed did not identify the proposed amendments through a red-lined process or equivalent means, the (Word-formatted) version of the proposed Third Amended Complaint that was submitted contained proposed amendments that were "color-highlighted," demonstrating Plaintiff's goodfaith effort to comply with Local Rule 7.1(a)(4) of the Local Rules of Practice for this Court. (Id. at 4, 6-8 [attaching pages "3," and "5" through "7," of Plf.'s Memo. of Law].)

2. Defendant's Opposition Memorandum of Law

Generally, in its response, Defendant asserts two arguments. First, it argues, the Tiara Condo decision issued by the Florida Supreme Court did not effect a change in controlling law relevant to this action, because (a) while it limited the economic loss rule to cases involving products liability, it did not change the long-standing common-law rule that a party cannot maintain causes of action for both breach of contract and tort where they arise out of the exact same conduct, or where the allegations supporting the claim of breach of contract contradict the tort claim, (b) Plaintiff's First Cause of Action for declaratory judgment is not based on either fraud or fraud in the inducement, and (c) his request to revisit the Court's ...


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