United States District Court, Southern District of Indiana
Hon. Jane Magnus-Stinson, Judge United States District Court Southern District of Indiana
Presently pending before the Court are: (1) a Motion to Reconsider/or Mediate Dispute Based on Newly Discovered Evidence filed by pro se Plaintiffs Brian Shifrin and Melanie Shifrin (the “Shifrins”), [Filing No. 115]; (2) a Motion to Reconsider/Mediate Dispute Based on Excusable Neglect filed by the Shifrins, [Filing No. 116]; and (3) a Motion for Extension of Time for Filing a Notice of Appeal filed by the Shifrins, [Filing No. 117]. The Court has reviewed the motions and concluded they should be denied, so has not waited for a response. Further, given the pendency of the motion seeking an extension of time to file an appeal, the Court found no reason to delay.
This case involves an insurance coverage dispute between the Shifrins, whose home was damaged during a tornado in February 2011, and Defendant Liberty Mutual Insurance (“Liberty”), the Shifrins’ homeowners insurance carrier at the time. [See Filing No. 113, at ECF pp. 3-11.] The Shifrins filed two Motions for Reconsideration after the Court granted Liberty’s Mo- tion for Summary Judgment, denied the Shifrins’ Cross-Motion for Summary Judgment, and entered judgment in favor of Liberty. [Filing No. 113; Filing No. 114.]
A. Motions to Reconsider
The Shifrins bring their Motion to Reconsider Based on Newly Discovered Evidence, [Filing No. 115], under Federal Rules of Civil Procedure 59(e), 59(a)(2), and 60(b), and their Motion to Reconsider Based on Excusable Neglect, [Filing No. 116], under Rule 60(b). A motion for reconsideration serves a very limited purpose in federal civil litigation; it should be used only “to correct manifest errors of law or fact or to present newly discovered evidence.” Roth-well Cotton Co. v. Rosenthal & Co., 827 F.2d 246, 251 (7th Cir. 1987) (quoting Keene Corp. v. Int’l Fidelity Ins. Co., 561 F.Supp. 656, 665-66 (N.D. Ill. 1983), aff’d 736 F.2d 388 (7th Cir. 1984)). “A party may not use a motion for reconsideration to introduce new evidence that could have been presented earlier.” Oto v. Metropolitan Life Ins. Co., 224 F.3d 601, 606 (7th Cir. 2000); see also Spencer County Redevelopment Comm’n v. AK Steel Corp., 2011 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 7985, *4 (S.D. Ind. 2011).
Affording relief through granting a motion for reconsideration brought pursuant to Rule 59(e) is an “extraordinary remed[y] reserved for the exceptional case.” Foster v. DeLuca, 545 F.3d 582, 584 (7th Cir. 2008). Rule 59 motions are for the limited purpose of correcting a “manifest error, ” which “‘is not demonstrated by the disappointment of the losing party’; rather, ‘[i]t is the wholesale disregard, misapplication, or failure to recognize controlling precedent.’” United States v. ITT Educ. Servs., 2012 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 10512, *23-24 (S.D. Ind. 2012) (citations omitted).
Under Rule 60(b), reconsideration is appropriate only “where the court has misunderstood a party, where the court has made a decision outside the adversarial issues presented to the court by the parties, where the court has made an error of apprehension (not of reasoning), where a significant change in the law occurred, or where significant new facts have been discovered.” Nerds On Call, Inc. (Ind.) v. Nerds On Call, Inc. (Cal.), 598 F.Supp.2d 913, 916 (S.D. Ind. 2008). Like motions brought under Rule 59(e), “[r]elief under Rule 60(b) is an extraordinary remedy and is granted only in exceptional circumstances.” Rickabaugh v. Stanley Steemer of Evansville, Inc., 2012 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 29490, *4 (S.D. Ind. 2012) (citing Eskridge v. Cook Cnty., 577 F.3d 806, 809 (7th Cir. 2009)). Arguments that the court has already considered and rejected “should be directed to the court of appeals.” ITT Educ. Servs., 2012 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 10512 at *24.
1. Motion to Reconsider Based on Newly Discovered Evidence
In their Motion to Reconsider Based on Newly Discovered Evidence, the Shifrins request that the Court alter, amend, or vacate its judgment in favor of Liberty based on “newly discov-ered evidence that became available many months after filing the summary judgment final reply.” [Filing No. 115, at ECF p. 1.] Specifically, the Shifrins base their motion on a document from the Madison County Assessor which shows, they claim, that the fair market value of their house in 2011 was only approximately $63, 000. [Filing No. 115, at ECF pp. 5-6.] They argue that the document shows that “full permanent roof replacement was never a reasonable and necessary repair[;] The true cost of a roof replacement…exceed[ed] the undamaged value [of] the house.” [Filing No. 115, at ECF p. 6 (emphasis omitted).]
This “new evidence” does not warrant alteration or amendment of the Court’s judgment in favor of Liberty. First, the Shifrins state that they obtained the document shortly after Ms. Shifrin contacted the assessor on November 19, 2013. [Filing No. 115-1, at ECF p. 3.] This was over a month before the Court ruled upon the cross-motions for summary judgment and entered judgment in Liberty’s favor. The Shifrins could have attempted to submit the document for the Court’s consideration during that time, but they did not. See Caisse Nationale de Credit Agricole v. CBI Indus., Inc., 90 F.3d 1264, 1269-70 (7th Cir. 1996) (a ...