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Legal Memorandum: Standards Governing a Motion for Reconsideration

Issue: What are the standards governing a motion for reconsideration, when the issue at hand is whether the court should reconsider and correct one of its orders?

Area of Law: Litigation & Procedure
Keywords: Motion for reconsideration; Prevent manifest injustice; Error of law
Jurisdiction: Virgin Islands
Cited Cases: 779 F.2d 906; 807 F.2d 345; 372 F.3d 193; 959 F. Supp. 270; 661 F. Supp. 1063; 293 F. Supp. 2d 430
Cited Statutes: Rule 59(e)
Date: 04/01/2006

The motion for reconsideration or to amend, alter, correct or modify a judgment is appropriate if the court failed to give relief on a claim on which it found that the party is entitled to relief, or if the judgment is wrong as a matter of law.  Creque v. Cintron, 17 V.I. 69, 73 (Terr. Ct. 1980).  A motion for reconsideration is the functional equivalent of a Rule 59(e) motion to alter or amend a judgment.  Fed. Kemper Ins. Co. v. Rauscher, 807 F.2d 345, 348 (3d Cir. 1986).

One purpose of the motion for reconsideration is to correct a clear error of law or prevent manifest injustice.  Selaras v. M/V Cartagena De Indias, 959 F. Supp. 270 (E.D. Pa. 1997) (quoting Harsco Corp. v. Zlotnicki, 779 F.2d 906, 909 (3d Cir. 1985)).  See Gutierrez v. Ashcroft, 289 F. Supp. 2d 555, 561 (D.N.J. 2003) (Rule 59(e) motion is to correct manifest error of law or fact, or to present newly discovered evidence), aff’d on other grounds by Gutierrez v. Gonzales, No. 03-4798 (March 16, 2005).  Accord Bostic v. AT & T of the V.I., 312 F. Supp. 2d 731, 733 (D.V.I. 2004).  A Rule 59 motion for reconsideration also may be granted “when ‘dispositive factual matters or controlling decisions of law were brought to the court’s attention, but not considered.'”  Gutierrez v. Ashcroft, 289 F. Supp. 2d at 561 (quoting Pelham v. United States,