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Nancy Ceglio v. Nordstrom

July 20, 2011

NANCY CEGLIO PLAINTIFF,
v.
NORDSTROM, INC, DEFENDANT.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Linares, District Judge.

NOT FOR PUBLICATION

OPINION

Currently before the Court is Plaintiff's motion for reconsideration of this Court's denial of Plaintiff's motion to vacate Cynthia Jacob's arbitration award dated March 18, 2011. The Court has considered the submissions of the parties and decides this matter without oral argument pursuant to Rule 78 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure. For the reasons set for below, Plaintiff's motion for reconsideration is denied.

I. BACKGROUND

The facts of this case are more fully detailed in this Court's May 25, 2011 Opinion and Order. Only those facts relevant for the present motion are included here.

Plaintiff Nancy Ceglio ("Plaintiff" or "Ceglio") filed the instant action on February 2, 2010 alleging that Defendant Nordstrom, Inc. ("Defendant" or "Nordstrom") committed unlawful employment practices by discriminating against her based on her age and race. On or around March 9, 2010, this Court entered a stay of these proceedings pursuant to the parties' stipulation to arbitrate. The American Arbitration Association assigned this matter to Cynthia M. Jacob ("Arbitrator Jacob"). Arbitrator Jacob set October 12-14, 2010 as the hearing date. However, Plaintiff requested a continuance to conduct discovery and the hearing date was rescheduled for November 17-19, 2010.

On the day before the hearing, November 16, 2010, Counsel for Plaintiff, Peter Cresci, advised opposing counsel that he could not attend the hearing because his presence was required at a funeral in Delaware. Opposing Counsel consented to a one day adjournment. Arbitrator Jacob advised the parties that the hearing would therefore begin on November 18, 2010. That morning, counsel for Nordstrom appeared ready to proceed with five witnesses. Neither counsel for claimant nor claimant appeared. Mr. Cresci was telephoned, and notified by e-mail and facsimile that the hearing would proceed without him under Rule 29. Accordingly, Arbitrator Jacob took testimony from four Nordstrom witnesses.

The following day, Mr. Cresci sent a letter to Arbitrator Jacob indicating that he would "review the options provided under the rules and address them shortly." On November 22, 2010, Arbitrator Jacob issued an order requiring Mr. Cresci to personally pay for a transcript of the proceedings and directing him to pay for certain expenses that the five witnesses had incurred due to his failure to appear without notice. In that same order, pursuant to Rule 28, Arbitrator Jacob also permitted Plaintiff's counsel another opportunity to present Plaintiff's case and cross-examine Nordstrom's witnesses.

Plaintiff's counsel did not comply with the Order, nor did he challenge it. On December 15, 2010, Mr. Cresci made an application to Magistrate Judge Claire C. Cecchi requesting that this matter be reinstated to the active docket because "efforts to resolve [it] had failed." Plaintiff's counsel made no contact with Arbitrator Jacob until the Arbitrator send a letter to counsel for both parties and Plaintiff herself scheduling a telephone conference in light of the arbitrator's repeated fruitless attempts to contact Plaintiff's counsel. Mr. Cresci participated in the telephone conference only long enough to advise Arbitrator Jacob that it was improper for AAA to contact his client directly, whereupon counsel for Plaintiff hung up. Thereafter, the record was closed and upon review of the substantive findings of fact, Arbitrator Jacob entered an Order in Nordstrom's favor.

On March 16, 2011, Plaintiff filed a Motion to Reinstate Case before this Court. Defendant filed a cross-Motion to Confirm the Arbitration Award on April 4, 2011. On May 25, 2011, this Court issued an Opinion and Order ("Opinion and Order") denying Plaintiff's motion to reinstate and granting Defendant's motion to the confirm the arbitration award. On June 9, 2011, Plaintiff filed the instant motion for reconsideration of this Court's Opinion and Order.

II. LEGAL STANDARD

"Reconsideration is an extraordinary remedy" and should be "granted 'very sparingly.'" See L.Civ.R. 7.1(I) cmt.6(d); see also Fellenz v. Lombard Investment Corp., Nos. 04-3993, 04-5768, 04-3992, 04-6105, 2005 WL 3104145, at *1 (D.N.J. Oct. 18, 2005). A motion for reconsideration must "set[] forth concisely the matter or controlling decisions which the party believes the Judge or Magistrate Judge has overlooked." L.Civ.R. 7.1. When the assertion is that the Court overlooked something, the Court must have overlooked "some dispositive factual or legal matter that was presented to it." McGovern v. City of Jersey, No. 98-5186, 2008 WL 58820, at *2 (D.N.J. Jan. 2, 2008). The Court will reconsider a prior order only where a different outcome is justified by: (1) intervening change in law; (2) availability of new evidence not previously available; or a (3) need to correct a clear error of law or manifest injustice (the "reconsideration elements"). N. River Ins. Co. v. CIGNA Reinsurance Co., 52 F.3d 1194, 1218 (3d Cir. 1995).

III. ANALYSIS

Plaintiff brings this motion pursuant to the third reconsideration element: a need to correct a clear error of law or manifest injustice. Plaintiff avers that this Court did not appreciate the arguments Plaintiff made in support of its motion to vacate the arbitration award. Namely, Plaintiff claims that 1) this Court did not give proper effect to this Circuit's law governing arbitration agreements; and 2) that this Court made impermissible findings of fact. Plaintiff's Memorandum in Support of Motion for Reconsideration ("Reconsideration Brief") at 2. However, Plaintiff does not point to any specific dispositive factual ...


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