United States District Court, S.D. New York
OPINION AND ORDER
HENRY P TMAN, Magistrate Judge.
By notice of motion dated April 9, 2014 (Docket Item 236), plaintiff moves for reconsideration or clarification of my Opinion and Order dated March 26, 2014 (Docket Item 235) ("3/26/14 Order"). For the reasons set forth below, plaintiff's motion is denied.
The reader's familiarity with the 3/26/14 Order is assumed. Stated briefly, that Order granted defendants' motion to strike an expert declaration - Fourth Declaration of Dr. Jianqing Fan ("Fourth Fan Decl.") - except to the extent that AAI sought to use paragraphs 257-73 of the Fourth Fan Decl. to oppose Defendants' Rule 702/Daubert motion or in support of a sanctions motion contemplated by plaintiff. Plaintiff now seeks a ruling that the Fourth Fan Declaration can be used to impeach certain testimony offered by defendants with respect to the merits of he case.
As a motion for reconsideration or clarification, plaintiff's motion is procedurally defective. Motions for reconsideration are appropriate only in very limited circumstances. As explained by the Honorable Michael B. Mukasey, United States District Judge, now retired, in McMahan & Co. v. Donaldson, Lufkin & Jenrette Sec. Corp. , 727 F.Supp. 833, 833 (S.D.N.Y. 1989):
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).
See also Mahmud v. Kaufmann , 496 F.Supp.2d 266, 269-70 (S.D.N.Y. 2007) (Conner, D.J.). "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 Grp., Inc. , 07 Civ. 8783 (LTS)(RLE), 2008 WL 3518462 at *1 (S.D.N.Y. Aug. 1, 2008) (Swain, D.J.), 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) (Sweet, D.J.), 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) (Sweet, D.J.); Fulani v. Brady , 149 F.R.D. 501, 503 (S.D.N.Y. 1993) (Sweet, D.J.), aff'd sub nom., Fulani v. Bentsen , 35 F.3d 49 (2d Cir. 1994); E. Coast Novelty Co. v. City of N.Y. , 141 F.R.D. 245, 245 (S.D.N.Y. 1992) (Sweet, D.J.); B.N.E., Swedbank, S.A. v. Banker , 791 F.Supp. 1002, 1008 (S.D.N.Y. 1992) (Sweet, D.J.); Novak v. Nat'l Broad. Co. , 760 F.Supp. 47, 48 (S.D.N.Y. 1991) (Sweet, D.J.) and Ashley Meadows Farm, Inc. v. Am. Horse Shows Ass'n , 624 F.Supp. 856, 857 (S.D.N.Y. 1985) (Sweet, D.J.). 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. 1993) (Sweet, D.J.), 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) (Cannella, D.J.); 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). "These limitations serve to ensure finality and to prevent losing parties from using motions for reconsideration as a vehicle by which they may then plug the gaps of a lost motion with additional matters." In re City of N.Y., as Owner & Operator of the M/V Andrew J. Barberi, 03 Civ. 6049 (ERK)(VVP), 2008 WL 1734236 at *1 (E.D.N.Y. Apr. 10, 2008), citing Zoll v. Jordache Enter. Inc. , 01 Civ. 1339 (CSH), 2003 WL 1964054 at *2 (S.D.N.Y. Apr. 24, 2003) (Haight, D.J.); Cohn v. Metro. Life Ins., Co. , 07 Civ. 0928 (HB), 2007 WL 2710393 at *1 (S.D.N.Y. Sept. 7, 2007) (Baer, D.J.); In re Rezulin Prods. Liab. Litig. , 224 F.R.D. 346, 349 (S.D.N.Y. 2004) (Kaplan, D.J.); Horsehead Res. Dev. Co., Inc. v. B.U.S. Envtl. Servs., Inc. , 928 F.Supp. 287, 289 (S.D.N.Y. 1996) (Scheindlin, D.J.).
Although I am sure that plaintiff disagrees with my 3/26/14 Order, its present motion does not identify any controlling factual or legal matters that were called to my attention in connection with defendants' motion to strike the Fourth Fan Decl. and that I overlooked. In its opposition to defendants' motion to strike the Fourth Fan Decl., plaintiff never even suggested that the Fourth Fan Decl. might be admissible for the limited purpose of impeachment. Rather, plaintiff chose to address the admissibility of the Fourth Fan Decl. with respect to defendants' summary judgment motion as an "all-or-nothing" proposition, and never suggested that the declaration might be admissible for limited purposes. Because plaintiff is now making a new argument and seeking new relief that it could have (and should have) sought in response to defendants' motion to strike, its application is not properly brought as a motion for reconsideration or clarification. In re Refco Capital Mkts., Ltd. Brokerage Customer Secs. Litig. , 06 Civ. 643 (GEL), 07 Civ. 8686 (GEL), 07 Civ. 8688 (GEL), 2008 WL 4962985 at *1 (S.D.N.Y. Nov. 20, 2008) (Lynch, D.J.) ("A motion for reconsideration is not an opportunity for a losing party to advance new arguments to supplant those that failed in the prior briefing of the issue."); accord Sahu v. Union Carbide Corp. , 04 Civ. 8825 (JFK), 2010 WL 909074 at *2 (S.D.N.Y. Mar. 15, 2010) (Keenan, D.J.).
Even if it were not procedurally defective, plaintiff's motion is nothing more than legal legerdemain. My 3/26/14 Order struck the Fourth Fan Decl. for all purposes, other than its use in plaintiff's opposition to defendants' Rule 702/Daubert motion or in support of plaintiff's contemplated motion for sanctions, because it was untimely and served in violation of Rule 26(a)(2). Accordingly, I concluded that neither the Fourth Fan Declaration nor the opinions expressed therein could be used in connection with the merits of the case.
In its newly-minted argument, plaintiff claims that it seeks to use the opinions expressed in the Fourth Fan Decl. to impeach defendants' witnesses. Although a witness can be impeached by contradiction, plaintiff is seeking to impeach defendants' witnesses by contradicting them not on collateral matters but with respect to the merits of the case by offering the very testimony that I precluded in my 3/26/14 Order. Defendants' testimony would be impeached, however, only if the fact finder credited Dr. Fan's opinions on merits issues - the precise use that I have already precluded. Plaintiff is merely seeking to do indirectly what I previously ruled it could not do directly.
In support of its argument, plaintiff relies in part on the Eight Circuit's decision in Wegener v. Johnson , 527 F.3d 687 (8th Cir. 2008). However, the decision in that case actually mandates denial of plaintiff's motion. In Wegener, the plaintiff in a medical malpractice case appealed from an adverse judgment, arguing that the trial court erred by excluding testimony from one of plaintiff's experts. Two and one-half weeks before trial and long after the deadline for expert disclosure, plaintiff served a supplemental expert report. The trial court concluded that the plaintiff's expert could not testify, either as part of plaintiff's direct case or in rebuttal, to ...