Case No. 2:04CV01084 DAK.
July 27, 2005
This matter is before the court on Defendant Donald Stanley Neilson's ("Neilson") Rule 19(a) Motion for Joinder of Von Fletcher Trucking, Inc. and Von Fletcher, Individually (the "Motion"). Neilson previously filed a Motion to Dismiss or Remand to the Eighth Judicial District Court in and for Uintah County in which he argued that Von Fletcher Trucking, Inc. and Von Fletcher (collectively "Von Fletcher") are necessary and indispensable parties to this action and must be joined as involuntary plaintiffs pursuant to Rule 19 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure. The court denied Neilson's Motion to Dismiss in a May 2, 2005 Memorandum Decision and Order on the basis that Von Fletcher is not a necessary party to the action. Because the instant motion reargues the very issue that was previously rejected by the court, it is in reality nothing more than a motion for reconsideration and is treated by the court as such.
A motion for reconsideration is not specifically provided for in the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure. Rule 54(b), however, provides that:
In the absence of such determination and direction, any order or other form of decision, however designated, which adjudicates fewer than all the claims or the rights and liabilities of fewer than all the parties shall not terminate the action as to any of the claims or parties, and the order or other form of decision is subject to revision at any time before the entry of judgment adjudicating all the claims and the rights and liabilities of all the parties.
Fed.R.Civ.P. 54(b) (emphasis added). Pursuant to Rule 54(b), it is well within a "district court's general discretionary authority to review and revise interlocutory rulings prior to entry of final judgment." Wagoner v. Wagoner, 938 F.2d 1120, 1122 n. 1 (10th Cir. 1991).
A court exercises such discretion, however, upon limited grounds. These grounds include "(1) an intervening change in the controlling law, (2) new evidence previously unavailable, and (3) the need to correct clear error or prevent manifest injustice." Servants of the Paraclete v. Does, 204 F.3d 1005, 1012 (10th Cir. 2000). A motion for reconsideration is an "inappropriate vehicle to reargue an issue previously addressed by the court when the motion merely advances new arguments, or supporting facts which were available at the time of the original motion. Absent extraordinary circumstances, . . . the basis for the second motion must not have been available at the time the first motion was filed." Id. "It is not appropriate to revisit issues already addressed or advance arguments that could have been raised in prior briefing." Id. A motion for reconsideration, therefore, must be made upon grounds other than a mere disagreement with the court's decision and must do more than rehash a party's former arguments that were rejected by the court.
In determining whether to revise its interlocutory order, the court relies on the standards established under Federal Rules of Civil Procedure 59(e) and 60(b) for determining whether to revise a final judgment. The distinction between reconsideration of final judgments and interlocutory orders is somewhat academic. As a result, courts routinely turn to the standards established under Rules 59(e) and 60(b) when considering a possible revision of an interlocutory order. See Sump v. Fingerhut, Inc., 208 F.R.D. 324, 327 (D. Kan. 2002); see also Rodriguez v. Tennessee Laborers Health Welfare Fund, 89 Fed. Appx. 949, 959 (6th Cir. 2004) (citing Reich v. Hall Holding Co., 990 F. Supp. 955, 965 (N.D. Ohio 1998)).
Neilson's motion asserts that Von Fletcher is a necessary and indispensable party to this action, and, as a result, Von Fletcher should be joined as a party plaintiff to the action pursuant to Rule 19. The vast majority of the arguments set forth in support of Neilson's motion, however, are merely a reiteration of the arguments previously set forth in his Motion to Dismiss and which were rejected by the court. Neilson additionally relies upon some new arguments and cases in support of the motion. These arguments and cases, however, were available to Neilson at the time he brought his Motion to Dismiss and so are not an appropriate basis for reconsideration.
Neilson specifically takes issue with the court's determination that "Von Fletcher's involvement in the transport or reassembly of the well drilling derrick is irrelevant to this determination." See May 2, 2005 Memorandum Decision and Order at 5. Neilson argues that an understanding of Von Fletcher's role in the project is necessary to determine whether Urie is a statutory employee or independent contractor. While the relationship that existed between Von Fletcher and Urie may be a factor in determining whether Urie is a statutory employee or independent contractor, the nature of the relationship can be determined through fact discovery without the addition of Von Fletcher as a party. As the court previously determined, Von Fletcher is not a necessary party to the action.
Accordingly, IT IS HEREBY ORDERED that Neilson's Motion is DENIED.