United States District Court, D. Connecticut
L. LEE WHITNUM Plaintiff,
TOWN OF WOODBRIDGE, ET AL., Defendants.
RULING RE: PLAINTIFF'S MOTIONS FOR
RECONSIDERATION (DOC. NOS. 139, 145, 147, AND 153).
C. HALL UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
before the court are the plaintiff's Motions for
Reconsideration of several of this court's prior Orders.
Specifically, L. Lee Whitnum's (“Whitnum”)
seeks reconsideration of the following Order: (1) Order
Granting Motions to Quash Subpoenas for Rule 31 Depositions
(Doc. No. 131); (2) Order Denying Motion to Compel Full
Report (Doc. No. 134); (3) Order Granting in Part and Denying
in Part Motion to Compel and for Sanctions (Doc. No. 135);
and (4) Order Denying Motion to Cite in John Whalen and Jane
Emons (Doc. No. 136).
reasons stated below, the Motions for Reconsideration are
granted in part and denied in part.
filed Notices of Appeal to the Second Circuit as to each of
the Rulings for which she also moves this court for
reconsideration. See Clerk's Certificate Re:
Index and Record on Appeal (Doc. No. 173). Generally,
"the filing of a notice of appeal is an event of
jurisdictional significance-it confers jurisdiction on the
court of appeals and divests the district court of its
control over those aspects of the case involved in the
appeal." United States v. Rodgers, 101 F.3d
247, 251 (2d Cir. 1996). However, the Federal Rules of
Appellate Procedure provide that, if a party files a notice
of appeal after the district court enters judgment “but
before it disposes of any motion listed in [Federal] Rule [of
Appellate Procedure] 4(a)(4)(A)[, ] the notice becomes
effective to appeal a judgment or order, in whole or in part,
when the order disposing of the last such remaining motion is
entered.” Fed. R. App. P. 4(a)(4)(B). Included in the
list of motions in Rule 4(a)(4)(A) are motions to
“alter or amend the judgment under [Federal] Rule [of
Civil Procedure] 59.” Fed. R. App. P. 4(a)(4)(A).
Therefore, where a party files a motion for reconsideration
pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 59, before it
files a notice of appeal, the district court retains
jurisdiction to rule on the motion for reconsideration.
filed her Motions for Reconsideration before she filed her
Notices of Appeal. While Whitnum did not state the rule under
which she sought reconsideration, the District of Connecticut
Local Rules provide for such motions under Rule 7(c).
See D. Conn. L. Civ. R. 7(c). The Second Circuit has
held that motions for reconsideration under the Local Rules
are “as a practical matter the same thing as motions
for amendment of judgment under Fed.R.Civ.P. 59(e). City
of Hartford v. Chase, 942 F.2d 130, 133 (2d Cir. 1991).
The Second Circuit has further held that, for purposes of
Federal Rule of Appellate Procedure 4(a)(4), a motion for
reconsideration under the District of Connecticut Local Rules
must be treated the same as a motion under Rule 59.
Id. Because Whitnum filed her Motions for
Reconsideration prior to filing her Notices of Appeal, the
Notices will become effective to appeal from this court's
rulings when this court has disposed of the last of the
pending motions for reconsideration. See Fed. R.
App. P. 4(a)(4)(B) This court therefore has jurisdiction to
resolve the pending motions.
for reconsideration require the movant to set "forth
concisely the matters or controlling decisions which [the
movant] believes the Court overlooked in the initial decision
or order." D. Conn. L. Civ. R. 7(c). "The major
grounds justifying reconsideration are 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 omitted). The standard for granting a motion
for reconsideration is strict. Reconsideration will be
granted only if the moving party can identify controlling
decisions or data that the court overlooked and that would
reasonably be expected to alter the court's decision.
See Analytical Surveys, Inc. v. Tonga Partners, 684
F.3d 36, 52 (2d Cir. 2012) (citing Shrader v. CSX
Transp., Inc., 70 F.3d 255, 257 (2d Cir. 1995)). A
motion for reconsideration “is not a vehicle for
relitigating old issues, presenting the case under new
theories, securing a rehearing on the merits, or otherwise
taking a second bite at the apple.” Analytical
Surveys, 684 F.3d at 52 (quotation marks omitted).
Motion for Reconsideration of Order Granting Motions to
Quash Subpoenas for Rule 31 Depositions (Doc. No.
seeks reconsideration of this court's Order (Doc. No.
131) granting the defendants' Motion to Quash Subpoenas
addressed to former Superior Court Judge Jane Emons and
Supervisory Assistant State's Attorney John Whalen.
See Mot. for Reconsideration (Doc. No. 145). The
court quashed the subpoenas for failure to comply with the
requirement, under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 31, that a
plaintiff first serve a copy of her written questions to a
non-party upon the defendants. See Order (Doc. No.
131) at 2-3; Fed.R.Civ.P. 31. Further, the court determined
that the non-parties were entitled to a protective order
because “[a]lmost every question, in each of the
subpoenas, relate to events in 2013 and the plaintiff's
divorce proceeding, are argumentative, and are not
discoverable under the Rules in this case, which involves
claims arising from a 2015 arrest.” Id. at 3.
argues that she complied with Federal Rule of Civil Procedure
31 because the “deposition by written question for
Emons and Whalen were given . . . . [and] was also
served.” Mot. for Reconsideration (Doc. No. 145) at 1
¶ 2. The attached Affidavit, on which Whitnum relies for
support, does not establish that Whitnum complied with Rule
31 by serving a copy of written questions upon the
defendants. See Affidavit (Doc. No. 145-1). The
Affidavit merely states that the affiant accompanied Whitnum
to the Office of the State Prosecutor to review records
“in compliance with a duly served subpoena.”
Id. Assuming that the document is referring to the
same subpoenas at issue in the Motions to Quash, which is not
clear from the face of the Affidavit, the Affidavit assumes
that the subpoenas were properly served, but does not provide
any basis for such a finding. Because the Affidavit cannot
reasonably be expected to alter the court's earlier
Ruling, the Motion for Reconsideration (Doc. No. 145) is
denied, insofar as it seeks reconsideration of this
court's grant of the defendants' Motions to Quash.
Motion for Reconsideration of Ruling Denying Motion to
Compel Full ...