United States District Court, S.D. Ohio, Western Division
DECISION AND ENTRY OVERRULING DEFENDANT INTERNATIONAL
PAPER COMPANY'S MOTION FOR RECONSIDERATION (DOC.
H. RICE, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
matter is currently before the Court on Defendant
International Paper Company's ("IPC's")
Motion for Reconsideration, Doc. #282, of this Court's
March 25, 2019, Decision and Entry, Doc. #260. In relevant
part, that Decision and Entry sustained Defendant Brownfield
Charities, Inc.'s Motion for Summary Judgment, and
overruled Defendant IPC's Motion for Summary Judgment.
Background and Procedural History
relevant facts and procedural history are set forth in this
Court's March 25, 2019, Decision and Entry, Doc. #260,
and will not be repeated here. Generally, Plaintiffs Garrett
Day, LLC ("Garrett Day"), and the Ohio Development
Services Agency ("ODSA") seek to recover expenses
incurred in cleaning up hazardous waste at the site of the
former Howard Paper Mill in Dayton, Ohio. Plaintiffs seek
relief under the Comprehensive Environmental Response,
Compensation, and Liability Act ("CERCLA"), 42
U.S.C. § 9607, and Ohio's Voluntary Action Program
("VAP"), Ohio Revised Code § 3746.23.
Motions for Reconsideration
Federal Rules of Civil Procedure do not specifically provide
for motions for reconsideration. Motions for reconsideration
are often treated as motions to alter or amend a judgment
under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 59(e), if filed within
28 days after the entry of judgment. In this case, however,
because no final judgment has been entered, Rule 59(e) is
inapplicable. See Russell v. GTE Gov't Sys.
Corp., 141 Fed.Appx. 429, 436 (6th Cir. 2005) (holding
that because there was no final judgment when the court
entertained the motion for reconsideration, Rule 59(e) did
"[d]istrict courts have authority both under common law
and [Federal Rule of Civil Procedure] 54(b) to reconsider
interlocutory orders and to reopen any part of a case before
entry of final judgment." Rodriguez v. Tenn.
Laborers Health & Welfare Fund, 89 Fed.Appx. 949,
959 (6th Cir. 2004). See also Am. Civil Liberties Union
of Ky. v. McCreary Cty., Ky., 607 F.3d 439, 450 (6th
Cir. 2010) (noting that where the district court has not yet
entered final judgment, it is "free to reconsider or
reverse its decision for any reason.").
however, courts will reconsider an interlocutory order only
when there is "(1) an intervening change of controlling
law; (2) new evidence available; or (3) a need to correct a
clear error or prevent manifest injustice."
Louisville/ Jefferson Cty. Metro Gov't v. Hotels.com,
LP., 590 F.3d 381, 389 (6th Cir. 2009) (quotation
omitted). See also Northeast Ohio Coalition for Homeless
v. Brunner, 652 F.Supp.2d 871, 877 (S.D. Ohio 2009)
("Motions for reconsideration are not intended to
re-litigate issues previously considered by the Court or to
present evidence that could have been raised earlier.").
Motion for Reconsideration, IPC argues that several portions
of the Court's March 25, 2019, Decision and Entry are
clearly erroneous and must be rectified to prevent manifest
injustice. For the reasons set forth below, the Court
overrules IPC's motion in its entirety.
Timeliness of Motion
Plaintiffs note, IPC waited almost five months after the
Court's Decision and Entry was issued to move for
reconsideration. Although there are no time limits for filing
a motion for reconsideration, the fact that IPC waited so
long to file the motion undermines its claims of clear error
and manifest injustice.
IPC's Motion for Summary Judgment
first argues that the Court erred in overruling its Motion
for Summary Judgment without prejudice to renewal after
expert discovery is completed. It maintains that, given
Plaintiffs' lack of evidence that hazardous substances
were "disposed of" at the site during the time that
IPC's predecessors owned and operated the paper mill, the
Court should have simply sustained the motion. The Court
rejects this argument.
often does in CERCLA cases, the Court, in this case, directed
two rounds of summary judgment motions -one for motions based
solely on factual or legal issues that do not require any
expert witness testimony, and the other for motions that do
require expert witness testimony. The Court's March 25,