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Murphy v. Glencore Ltd.

United States District Court, D. Connecticut

October 25, 2018

ERIN MURPHY Plaintiff,
v.
GLENCORE LTD., Defendant.

          OMNIBUS RULING ON PLAINTIFF'S MOTION FOR RECONSIDERATION AND MOTION TO STRIKE

          Charles S. Haight, Jr. Senior United States District Judge.

         Pending before the Court is Plaintiff Erin Murphy's Motion to Strike Defendant's Reply Memorandum of Law in Further Support of its Motion to Compel Arbitration [Doc. 31] (the "Motion to Strike"). Plaintiff argues that Defendant's Memorandum of Law in Further Support of its Motion to Compel Arbitration [Doc. 27] (the "August 23 Memorandum"), submitted in response to Plaintiff's Memorandum in Opposition to Defendant's Motion to Compel Arbitration [Doc. 26] (the "Opposition Brief"), should be stricken in its entirety because it contains new arguments and was filed without conferring with Plaintiff's counsel or seeking leave from the Court. [Doc. 31 at 1.] In the alternative, Plaintiff seeks permission to file a surreply. [Id.] Defendant Glencore Ltd. ("Glencore" or "Defendant") opposes Plaintiff's Motion to Strike. [Doc. 32.]

         Plaintiff has also moved for the Court to reconsider and vacate its Order dated September 7, 2018 [Doc. 29], in which the Court reserved judgment on Plaintiff's Motion Seeking Permission to File First Amended Complaint [Doc. 23] (the "Motion to Amend") pending resolution of Defendant's Motion to Compel Arbitration [Doc. 13] (the "Motion to Compel Arbitration"). Defendant also opposes Plaintiff's Motion for Reconsideration. [Doc. 34.]

         For the reasons stated herein, Plaintiff's Motion for Reconsideration [Doc. 33] and Motion to Strike [Doc. 31] are both denied.

         I. Plaintiff's Motion for Reconsideration

         Plaintiff seeks reconsideration of an Order issued on September 7, 2018 [Doc. 29] (the "September 7th Order"), in which the Court reserved judgment on Plaintiff's Motion to Amend pending resolution of Defendant's Motion to Compel Arbitration.[1] Plaintiff asks the Court to vacate the September 7th Order and grant leave to file the proposed Amended Complaint [Doc. 23, Ex. A] (the "Proposed Amended Complaint") submitted with Plaintiff's Motion to Amend. Because Plaintiff has failed to raise any controlling law or facts that the Court overlooked in its September 7th Order, Plaintiff's Motion for Reconsideration is DENIED.

         A. Background

         Plaintiff filed her initial Complaint on June 18, 2018, alleging discrimination and retaliation in violation of Title VII, the Connecticut Fair Employment Practices Act, and the Pregnancy Discrimination Act. [Doc. 1.] At the time, one of the two discrimination charges that Plaintiff had filed with the Connecticut Commission on Human Rights and Opportunities (CHRO) remained pending, and Plaintiff had not received a Release of Jurisdiction authorizing suit on the second charge. [Id. at ¶ 11.] Shortly thereafter, Defendant filed a motion seeking to compel arbitration of Plaintiff's claims and stay the proceedings pending completion of the arbitration. [Doc. 13.] The Motion to Compel Arbitration is now fully briefed.

         The CHRO issued a Release of Jurisdiction for Plaintiff's second charge on July 30, 2018 [Doc. 23, Ex. A at ¶12], and Plaintiff subsequently sought leave to amend her Complaint to "include [the] additional claims" released by the CHRO [Id. at 1]. Plaintiff's Proposed Amended Complaint stated that the Release of Jurisdiction letter had been received and appended a copy of the letter. [Id., Ex. A at ¶12, Ex. D.] It did not, however, include any additional factual allegations or new claims for relief arising from the newly released charges. [See id.] The Proposed Amended Complaint also added factual allegations concerning the enforceability of the arbitration provision (Count IX of the Complaint), which were unrelated to the CHRO's Release of Jurisdiction. [See id.] These include allegations that Ms. Murphy had never seen the employment application form she was asked to sign prior to her job interview, that Ms. Murphy was not asked if she would like to consult an attorney prior to signing the application, and that Ms. Murphy had been unfamiliar with what an arbitration agreement was. [Id. at ¶¶ 199-215.] The proposed Amended Complaint included no additional charges or other material changes. Defendant opposed Plaintiff's Motion to Amend. [Doc. 34.]

         On September 7, 2018 the Court entered an electronic order staying proceedings and reserving judgment on Plaintiff's Motion to Amend pending resolution of Defendant's Motion to Compel Arbitration [Doc. 29.] The Court explained that because Plaintiff's Motion to Amend would become moot if Defendant's pending Motion to Compel were granted, judicial economy counseled in favor of staying the Motion to Amend. [Id.] Plaintiff then filed the present Motion for Reconsideration. [Doc. 33.]

         B. Standard for Reconsideration

         The standard for granting a motion for reconsideration is "strict," and reconsideration will "generally be denied unless the moving party can identify controlling decisions or data that the court overlooked-matters, in other words, that might reasonably be expected to alter the conclusion reached by the court." Shrader v. CSX Transp., Inc., 70 F.3d 255, 257 (2d Cir. 1995) (citing Schonberger v. Serchuk, 742 F.Supp. 108, 119 (S.D.N.Y. 1990)). This exacting standard is codified in the District of Connecticut Local Rules of Civil Procedure, which dictate that motions for reconsideration "shall satisfy the strict standard applicable to such motions" and "will generally be denied unless the movant can point to controlling decisions or data that the court overlooked in the initial decision or order." D. Conn. Civ. R. 7(c). The Second Circuit has identified three major grounds that may justify reconsideration: "an intervening change of controlling law, the availability of new evidence, or the need to correct a clear error or prevent manifest injustice." Virgin Atl. Airways, Ltd. v. Nat'l Mediation Bd., 956 F.2d 1245, 1255 (2d Cir. 1992) (quotation marks and citation omitted); see also Kolel Beth Yechiel Mechil of Tartikov, Inc. v. YLL Irrevocable Trust, 729 F.3d 99, 104 (2d Cir. 2013) (same).

         Importantly, a motion for reconsideration is not a "second bite at the apple" for a party dissatisfied with a court's ruling, 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)), nor is it an opportunity to "advance new facts, issues, or arguments not previously presented to the court," Nat'l Union Fire Ins. Co. of Pittsburg, PA v. Las Vegas Prof'l Football Ltd. P'ship, 409 Fed.Appx. 401, 403 (2d Cir. 2010) (quoting Davidson v. Scully, 172 F.Supp.2d 458, 461 (S.D.N.Y. 2001)). "A motion for reconsideration may not treat the court's initial decision as the opening of a dialogue in which that party may then use such a motion to advance new theories or adduce new evidence in response to the court's rulings." Ambac Assur. Corp. v. EMC Mortg. Corp., No. 08 CIV. 9464 RMB THK, 2011 WL 308276, at *2 (S.D.N.Y. Jan. 28, 2011) (quotation marks and citation omitted). Rather, the "sole function of a proper motion for reconsideration is to call to the Court's attention dispositive facts or controlling authority that were plainly presented in the prior proceedings but were somehow overlooked in the Court's decision; in other words, an obvious and glaring mistake. Motions for reconsideration allow the district court to correct its own mistakes, not those of the [p]arties." Id. (quoting Levin v. Gallery 63 Antiques Corp., No, 04 Civ. 1504 (KMK), 2007 WL 1288641, at *2 (S.D.N.Y. Apr. 30, 2007); see also Lopez v. Smiley, 375 F.Supp.2d 19, 21-22 (D. Conn. 2005) ("A motion for reconsideration may not be used to plug gaps in an original argument or to argue in the alternative once a decision has been made." (quotation marks and citation omitted)); Range Rd. Music, Inc. v. Music Sales Corp., 90 F.Supp.2d 390, 392 (S.D.N.Y. 2000) ("[A] motion for reconsideration is appropriate only where the movant demonstrates that "the Court has overlooked controlling decisions or factual matters that were put before it on the underlying motion . . . and which, had they been considered, might have reasonably altered the result before the court." (citation and quotation marks omitted)).

         C. ...


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