United States District Court, S.D. New York
OPINION AND ORDER
PAUL OETKEN United States District Judge.
Lans LLP (“Cohen Lans”) initiated this action
against David M. Naseman, an attorney proceeding pro
se, to recover unpaid legal fees and expenses in
connection with Cohen Lans' legal representation of
Naseman in a civil action from 2007 to 2009. (Dkt. No. 15
(“Compl.”).) In an Opinion and Order dated
February 3, 2017, this Court granted summary judgment in
favor of Cohen Lans. (Dkt. No. 153.) Naseman now moves for
reconsideration. (Dkt. No. 155.) For the reasons that follow,
the motion is denied.
with the facts of this case, as set out in the Court's
prior Opinion and Order, is presumed. See Cohen Lans LLP
v. Naseman, No. 14 Civ. 4045, 2017 WL 477775 (S.D.N.Y.
Feb. 3, 2017).
motion for reconsideration is an extraordinary remedy to be
employed sparingly in the interests of finality and
conservation of scarce judicial resources.” Pablo
Star Ltd. v. Welsh Gov't, No. 15 Civ. 1167, 2016 WL
2745849, at *1 (S.D.N.Y. May 11, 2016) (quoting Drapkin
v. Mafco Consol. Grp., Inc., 818 F.Supp.2d 678, 695
(S.D.N.Y. 2011)). In order to prevail on a motion for
reconsideration, a movant must demonstrate “(i) an
intervening change in controlling law; (ii) the availability
of new evidence; or (iii) the need to correct clear error or
prevent manifest injustice.” Id. (citing
Jacob v. Duane Reade, Inc., 293 F.R.D. 578, 580-81
first argument for reconsideration is that the Court
improperly denied him the special solicitude due to pro
se litigants. (Dkt. No. 156 at 3-6.) See
Naseman, 2017 WL 477775, at *3 n.1. Though Naseman
acknowledges that he is an attorney-the basis for the
Court's denial of special solicitude-he claims that he
nonetheless deserves pro se treatment because he has
“never personally represented a client in state or
federal court . . . performed only as a corporate and
telecommunications attorney during five decades of practice .
. . has been retired from active practice since 2012, and
does not maintain an office nor any form of litigating
systems, processes and related equipment.” (Dkt. No.
156 at 4.)
is well established that a court is ordinarily obligated to
afford a special solicitude to pro se
litigants.” Tracy v. Freshwater, 623 F.3d 90,
101 (2d Cir. 2010). “The rationale underlying this rule
is that a pro se litigant generally lacks both legal
training and experience and, accordingly, is likely to
forfeit important rights through inadvertence if he is not
afforded some degree of protection.” Id.
However, “the appropriate degree of special solicitude
is not identical with regard to all pro se
litigants.” Id. at 102. “[T]he degree of
solicitude may be lessened where the particular pro
se litigant is experienced in litigation and familiar
with the procedural setting presented.” Id.
“The ultimate extension of this reasoning is that a
lawyer representing himself ordinarily receives no
such solicitude at all.” Id. (emphasis added).
The decision of what degree of solicitude to offer a pro
se litigant is committed to the discretion of the trial
court. Id. at 102-03.
argues that as a retired corporate attorney, his is not the
ordinary case in which an attorney proceeding pro se
should be denied special solicitude. While it is true that
Tracy leaves some room for an attorney to receive
pro se solicitude, the Court is unconvinced that
Naseman, who has legal training and five decades of
experience, is at risk of “forfeit[ing] important
rights through inadvertence if he is not afforded some degree
of protection.” Id. at 101. Though he is not
an actively practicing litigator (that is, not counting the
five times he has been sued for non-payment of professional
services fees, Naseman, 2017 WL 477775, at *3),
Naseman's baseline familiarity with the law as an
experienced attorney is leagues greater than that of an
ordinary pro se litigant. Moreover, Naseman has not
adequately explained how the relatively slim degree of
solicitude to which he might be entitled would change the
Court's decision on summary judgment.
the Court's failure to consider this additional context
around the nature of Naseman's legal practice in
determining whether he is entitled to special solicitude as a
pro se litigant does not amount to a clear error or
manifest injustice so as to justify reconsideration.
to his arguments on the merits, Naseman has failed to
demonstrate any of the conditions under which the Court may
grant a motion for reconsideration. The bulk of his argument
for reconsideration rehashes the arguments Naseman made at
summary judgment. (Dkt. No. 156 at 6-32.) He revisits the
allegations surrounding the failure of the December
Settlement, the nature of his contract with Cohen Lans, and
the adequacy of Cohen Lans' representation (id.
at 6-20), all of which the Court addressed in its prior
Opinion, Naseman, 2017 WL 477775, at *4, *11-12.
Naseman also reargues the breach of contract and account
stated claims (Dkt. No. 156 at 20-27), both of which the
Court decided on summary judgment, Naseman, 2017 WL
477775, at *4-7. Finally, Naseman argues that he was
prejudiced by Cohen Lans' delays in this litigation (Dkt.
No. 156 at 27-31); this argument in part overlaps with his
prior claims of equitable estoppel and unclean hands, decided
on summary judgment, and in part raises new arguments that
should have been raised on summary judgment,
Naseman, 2017 WL 477775, at *8-9. Naseman does not
argue that a change in controlling law or the availability of
new evidence justifies reconsideration; rather, he seeks a
“second bite at the apple, ” but has not
demonstrated either clear error or manifest injustice.
See Analytical Surveys, Inc. v. Tonga Partners,
L.P., 684 F.3d 36, 52 (2d Cir. 2012) (quoting Sequa
Corp. v. GBJ Corp., 156 F.3d 136, 144 (2d Cir. 1998)).
foregoing reasons, Naseman's motion for reconsideration
is DENIED. The Clerk of Court is directed to close the motion
at Docket Number 155.