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FASANO v. FEDERAL RESERVE BANK OF NEW YORK

August 5, 2005.

MAUREEN FASANO, Plaintiff,
v.
FEDERAL RESERVE BANK OF NEW YORK, et al., Defendants.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: JOSE LINARES, District Judge

OPINION & ORDER

INTRODUCTION

This matter comes before this Court on a motion by Defendants Federal Reserve Bank of New York ("FRB"), Ron Henry, Cynthia Ramos, Leroy Hope, Dottie Boyd, Kim Russo, Lisa Young, and Mertha Jakubiszen (hereinafter collectively "Defendants"), for reconsideration of this Court's March 31, 2004 Opinion and Order pursuant to L. Civ. R. 7.1(g), or certification of an interlocutory appeal pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1292(b). This Court considered submissions in support and opposition of the motion. This matter is resolved without oral argument. Fed.R.Civ.P. 78. For the reasons set forth below, Defendants' motion for reconsideration is DENIED. Alternatively, Defendants' motion for certification of interlocutory appeal is GRANTED.

  STATEMENT OF FACTS AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY

  A detailed factual background of this case is set forth in an earlier Opinion and Order of this Court entered March 31, 2004 ("Op. & Order"), and will not be repeated here, except where necessary to provide context for the pending motion for reconsideration and request for certification of an interlocutory appeal. On December 18, 2001, Plaintiff Maureen Fasano (hereinafter "Fasano" or "Plaintiff") initiated suit against Defendants in New Jersey Superior Court, for retaliation and failure to accommodate in violation of the New Jersey Conscientious Employment Act ("CEPA"), N.J.S.A. 34:19-1 et. seq., and the New Jersey Law Against Discrimination ("LAD"), N.J.S.A. 10:5-1 et. seq.. After removal to this Court, Defendants moved to dismiss for lack of subject matter jurisdiction pursuant to Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(1) and failure to state a claim on which relief can be granted pursuant to Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(6). In the March 31 Opinion and Order, this Court denied Defendants' motions, holding that the FRB is a private corporation subject to state employment claims. (Op. & Order at 6-12). Furthermore, applying the preemption test for private employers, this Court determined that Defendants had not met their burden of demonstrating field preemption. (Id. at 12-14). In addition, analyzing the relevant state and federal laws,*fn1 this Court determined that they did not conflict sufficiently to warrant preemption. (Id. at 14-23).

  LEGAL DISCUSSION

  I. Motion for Reconsideration

  A. Legal Standard

  Prior to reaching the merits of a motion for reconsideration, the Court "must decide whether the arguments are properly raised under Local [Civil] Rule 7.1(g)". Holten v. Chevron U.S.A., 2002 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 17600, at *5 (D.N.J. Oct. 3, 2001). This rule provides in relevant part:
A motion for reargument shall be served and filed within 10 days after the entry of the order or judgment on the original motion by the Judge or Magistrate Judge. There shall be served with the notice a brief setting forth concisely the matters or controlling decisions which counsel believed the Judge or Magistrate Judge has overlooked.
L.Civ.R. 7.1(g). The motion may not be used to re-litigate old matters, or argue new matters that could have been raised before the original decision was reached. P. Schoenfeld Assets Mgmt., L.L.C. v. Cendant Corp., 161 F. Supp. 2d 349, 352 (D.N.J. 2001); NL Indust., Inc. v. Commercial Union Ins. Co., 935 F. Supp. 513, 516 (D.N.J. 1996). Rather, "the motion may address only those matters of fact or issues of law which were presented to, but not considered by, the court in the course of making the decision at issue." Holten, 2002 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 17600, *6 (citing Student Pub. Interest Research Group of N.J. v. Monsanto Co., 727 F. Supp. 876, 878 (D.N.J.), aff'd, 891 F.2d 283 (3d Cir. 1989).

  Relief by way of motion for reargument is "an extraordinary remedy" that is to be granted "very sparingly." Yurecko v. Port Auth. Trans-Hudson Corp., 279 F. Supp. 2d 606, 608 (D.N.J. 2003); Sagaral v. Mountainside Hosp., 2001 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 6872, at *3 (D.N.J. Mar 28, 2001); NL Indus., Inc., 935 F. Supp. at 516. The purpose of a motion for reargument is "to correct manifest errors of law or fact or to present newly discovered evidence." Harasco Corp. v. Zlotnicki, 779 F.2d 906, 909 (3d Cir. 1985), cert. denied, 476 U.S. 1171 (1986); Tischio v. Bontex, Inc., 16 F. Supp. 2d 511, 532 (D.N.J. 1998). Only in circumstances "where matters were overlooked and which, if considered by the Court, might reasonably have resulted in a different conclusion, will the Court entertain such a motion." Bowers v. Nat'l Collegiate Athletic Ass'n, 130 F. Supp. 2d 610, 613 (D.N.J. 2001). On the other hand, mere disagreement with the Court's decision is inappropriate on a motion for reargument, and should instead be raised through the normal appellate process. Holten, 2002 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 17600, at *6. Accordingly, reconsideration motions "will be granted only where (1) an intervening change in the law has occurred, (2) new evidence not previously available has [e]merged, or (3) the need to correct a clear error of law or prevent a manifest injustice arises." Id. at * 7 (citing North River Ins. Co. v. CIGNA Reinsurance Co., 52 F.3d 1194, 1218 (3d Cir. 1995)). With this legal framework in mind, the Court will now consider Defendant's motion for reconsideration. B. Entitlement to Reconsideration

  Before evaluating the merits of the motion for reconsideration, the Court must first determine whether Defendants' arguments are properly raised under Local Rule 7.1 (g). In order for an argument to be considered properly raised, Defendants must concisely set forth dispositive facts or controlling decisions of law which they claim this Court has overlooked. This Court finds that all arguments now raised by Defendants were previously raised and already considered by this Court in deciding Defendants' original motion to dismiss. Furthermore, Defendants have failed to demonstrate that there has either been an intervening change in law or a controlling decision that this Court overlooked. Accordingly, Defendants are not entitled to reconsideration of the decision.

  Initially, Defendants move for reconsideration on the grounds that this Court committed error in overlooking the significance of cases that distinguish the concepts of federal agency and federal instrumentality. In fact, this Court has already considered, and rejected, Defendants' argument that the FRB is an instrumentality. (Op. & Order at 6-12). In the original analysis of Defendant's motion to dismiss, this Court cited an abundance of authority to support the holding that the FRB is a private corporation rather than an instrumentality. (Id.). Furthermore, this Court discussed and distinguished cases that found the FRB to be an instrumentality. (Id. at 10-12) (distinguishing Goodyear v. Miller, 486 U.S. 174 (1988); Fed. Reserve Bank of St. Louis v. Metrocentre Improvement Dist., 657 F.2d 183 (8th Cir. 1981); Hancock v. Train, 426 U.S. 167 (1976)); and Fed. Reserve Bank of Boston v. Comm'r of Corps. & Taxation, 499 F.2d 60 (1st Cir. 1974)).

  In their brief in support of the motion for reconsideration, Defendants rely heavily on McCulloch v. Maryland, 17 U.S. 316 (1819), arguing that this Court overlooked the Supremacy Clause in the March 31, Opinion. Specifically, Defendants contend that the holding of McCulloch is not limited solely to taxation. Rather, Defendants argue that the McCulloch holding was designed to keep federal government activity free from any type of state interference, absent clear Congressional authorization. However, this argument was never raised in Defendants' original memorandum in support of their motion to dismiss. In their initial memorandum, Defendants assert that "[t]he McColloch holding is unambiguous: `the law passed by the legislature of Maryland, imposing a tax on the Bank of the United States, is unconstitutional and void.'" (Defs.' Mem. in Supp. of Mot. to Dismiss at 9) (citing McCulloch, 17 U.S. at 436 (emphasis added)). This Court has already distinguished the instant case from cases involving the issue of state taxation of Federal Reserve Banks. (Op. & Order at 10). Moreover, at no point in their original memorandum did Defendants' argue that the preemption analysis of McCulloch extended beyond taxation claims to cover "any attempt by states to `retard, impede, burden or in any matter control' the operations of the United States and its instrumentalities, including the nation's central banks." (Defs.' Mem. in Supp. of Mot. for Recons. & Req. for Interlocutory Appeal at 8) (quoting McCulloch, 17 U.S. at 436). Since this argument was not raised before the original decision was reached, it cannot be entertained by this Court in the context of this motion for reconsideration. See P. Schoenfeld Assets Mgmt., 161 F. Supp. 2d at 352.

  Defendants also contend that classifying the FRB as a private, non-governmental employer, led to the application of the incorrect preemption standard. This argument is entirely based on the contention that the FRB is an instrumentality rather than a private employer. As previously mentioned, this Court thoroughly analyzed an abundance of case law before holding the FRB to be a private, non-governmental employer. Defendant's mere disagreement with this Court's characterization of the FRB as a private employer is not appropriate on a motion for reconsideration. See Holten, 2002 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 17600, at *6. Defendants do not assert that the preemption analysis applied by this Court was inappropriate for private ...


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