Motions for Reconsideration under Rule 59(e) — Standards — Third Circuit

From Peng v. Gabay, 2009 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 121004 (D.N.J. Dec. 29, 2009):

Motion for Reconsideration

A motion to reconsider, pursuant to FED. R. CIV. P. 59(e) and L. CIV. R. 7.1(i), is "an extremely limited procedural vehicle," and requests pursuant to these rules are to be granted "sparingly." P. Schoenfeld Asset Mgmt. LLC v. Cendant Corp., 161 F. Supp. 2d 349, 353 (D.N.J. 1992) (citing Maldonado v. Lucca, 636 F. Supp. 621, 630 (D.N.J. 1986)). The Third Circuit has held that the purpose of a motion to reconsider is to "correct manifest errors of law or fact or to present newly discovered evidence." Harsco Corp. v. Zlotnicki, 779 F.2d 906, 909 (3d Cir. 1985), cert. denied, 476 U.S. 1171 (1986).

A court may grant a motion to reconsider only if the moving party shows either: (1) an intervening change in the controlling law; (2) the existence of new evidence that was not available when the court issued its order; or (3) the need to correct a clear error of law or fact or to prevent manifest injustice. See North River Ins. Co. v. CIGNA Reinsurance Co., 52 F.3d 1194, 1218 (3d Cir. 1995). To satisfy its burden, the moving party must show "dispositive factual matters or controlling decisions of law" that were brought to the court's attention but not considered. P. Schoenfeld Asset Mgmt. LLC, 161 F. Supp. 2d at 353; see also Pelham v. United States, 661 F. Supp. 1063, 1065 (D.N.J. 1987). "The motion may not be used to re-litigate old matters or argue new matters that could have been raised before the original decision was reached." P. Schoenfeld Asset Mgmt., L.L.C. , 161 F. Supp. 2d at 352. "A party seeking reconsideration must show more than a disagreement with the Court's decision, and 'recapitulation of the cases and argument considered by the court before rendering its original decision fails to carry the moving party's burden.'" Id. (quoting G-69 v. Degnan, 748 F. Supp. 274, 275 (D.N.J. 1990) (internal citations omitted)).

The "proper ground for granting a motion to reconsider, therefore, is that the matters or decisions overlooked, if considered by the court, 'might reasonably have altered the result reached.'" G-69 v. Degnan, 748 F. Supp. 274, 275 (D.N.J. 1990) (quoting New York Guardian Mortgage Corp. v. Cleland, 473 F. Supp. 409, 420 (S.D.N.Y. 1979)).

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