The efficient manner of speech which Judge Walsh employs during hearings shines through in this opinion released December 5, 2014 in the Worldspace bankruptcy (Bank. D. Del. 08-12412). In 3-1/2 pages of his opinion, Judge Walsh explains the requirements of a motion for reconsideration and illustrates the weakness of the movant’s position. Judge Walsh’s opinion is available here (the “Opinion”).
The Movant was the plaintiff in a lawsuit brought against the Chapter 7 Trustee in this case as well as other defendants. In response to the complaint, the defendants moved to dismiss, claiming that the Movant had no standing as he was not an employee of a Debtor. After Judge Walsh granted the motion to dismiss, the Movant filed his motion for reconsideration.
Judge Walsh’s Ruling
Judge Walsh cites to his own opinion, In re Fruehauf Trailer Corp., 2012 WL 604145 (Bankr. D. Del. Feb. 17, 2012), to provide the elements required for a motion to reconsider to be granted. “A party seeking reconsideration must establish at least one of the following grounds: (1) an intervening change in the controlling law; (2) newly available evidence; or (3) the need to correct a clear error of law or fact to prevent manifest injustice.” Opinion at *3-4.
Because the Movant did not make any of these three arguments, Judge Walsh summarily reviews the facts that led to his original decision, closing with a summary of his prior decision “The dispute here raises an issue of contract interpretation. I conclude that [Movant’s] interpretation has no merit. Consequently, the motion for reconsideration is denied.”
A lawyer needs to gain familiarity with the required elements of a motion prior to filing it. It is particularly important to take the time to review any writings of the judge before whom the argument is being made. Not investing this time is understandable in routine motions, but as Judge Walsh said, a motion for reconsideration isn’t a routine motion, rather, it is “an extraordinary means of relief in which the movant must do more than simply reargue the facts of the case.” Opinion at *3.
Judge Walsh is retiring soon. His succinct writing and speaking style is a rarity in the legal world and it will be missed. I look forward to reading any other opinions that he has the opportunity to issue prior to his departure from the bench. Even if my summary ends up being nearly as long as the opinion itself.