Obtaining Immediate Review of Discovery Order by Dismissing Case with Prejudice — Motions for Reconsideration: Proper Use (Good Quote), Standard of Review, “New Evidence”

Reisinger v. City of Wilkes-Barre, 2013 U.S. App. LEXIS 6301 (3 Cir. Mar. 29, 2013):

The District Court had jurisdiction to hear the case pursuant to 28 U.S.C. §§ 1331 and 1343. We have jurisdiction to hear this appeal pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1291.

Footnote 3. Ordinarily, a District Court's discovery-related decisions are not final rulings under 28 U.S.C. § 1291. Bacher v. Allstate Ins. Co., 211 F.3d 52, 53 (3d Cir. 2000). In the instant case, however, Appellant chose to voluntarily terminate his suit -- with prejudice -- in order to take immediate appeal from the District Court's ruling regarding the motion to reconsider. See Fed. R. Civ. P. 41(a)(2).

Ordinarily, "the denial of a motion for reconsideration is reviewed for an abuse of discretion." N. River Ins. Co. v. CIGNA Reinsurance Co., 52 F.3d 1194, 1203 (3d Cir. 1995) (citing Koshatka v. Phila. Newspapers, Inc., 762 F.2d 329, 333 (3d Cir. 1985)). Thus, we look to see whether the decision was "'arbitrary, fanciful or clearly unreasonable.'" Democratic Nat'l Comm. v. Republican Nat'l Comm., 673 F.3d 192, 201 (3d Cir. 2012) (quoting Moyer v. United Dominion Indus., Inc., 473 F.3d 532, 542 (3d Cir. 2007)).

However, "[b]ecause an appeal from a denial of a Motion for Reconsideration brings up the underlying judgment for review, the standard of review varies with the nature of the underlying judgment." McAlister v. Sentry Ins. Co., 958 F.2d 550, 552-53 (3d Cir. 1992) (citing Fed. Kemper Ins. Co. v. Rauscher, 807 F.2d 345, 348-49 (3d Cir. 1986)). Thus, where "the underlying judgment was based in part upon the interpretation and application of a legal precept, our review is plenary." United States v. Herrold, 962 F.2d 1131, 1136 (3d Cir. 1992) (citing Koshatka, 762 F.2d at 333). However, "to the extent that the district court's order was based on its factual conclusions, we review under a 'clearly erroneous' standard." Id. (citing Ram Constr. Co. v. Am. States Ins. Co., 749 F.2d 1049, 1053 (3d Cir. 1984)). In reviewing a district court's rulings regarding discovery, we look for an abuse of discretion. See Gallas v. Supreme Ct. of Pa., 211 F.3d 760, 778 (3d Cir. 2000).

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[M]otions to reconsider have a very limited scope: they are not "to be used as an opportunity to relitigate the case; rather, they may be used only to correct manifest errors of law or fact or to present newly discovered evidence." Blystone v. Horn, 664 F.3d 397, 415 (3d Cir. 2011). Moreover, "new evidence" for purposes of this inquiry "does not refer to evidence that a party . . . submits to the court after an adverse ruling. Rather, new evidence in this context means evidence that a party could not earlier submit to the court because that evidence was not previously available." Howard Hess Dental Labs. Inc. v. Dentsply Int'l, Inc., 602 F.3d 237, 252 (3d Cir. 2010).

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