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Pfitzer v. Beneficial California

August 12, 2010

PAMELA PFITZER ALSO KNOWN AS PAMELA EBERT, PLAINTIFF,
v.
BENEFICIAL CALIFORNIA, INC., MANN BRACKEN, LLP; AND DOES 1-10 INCLUSIVE DEFENDANTS.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Morrison C. England, Jr. United States District Judge

MEMORANDUM AND ORDER

Through this action Plaintiff Pamela Pfitzer ("Plaintiff") sought monetary relief from Defendant Beneficial California, Inc. ("Defendant") for alleged violations of the federal Truth in Lending Act, 15 U.S.C. § 1601 et seq. On June 10, 2010, this Court issued an Order (Docket No. 36) granting Defendant's Motion to Dismiss Plaintiff's Second Amended Complaint without leave to amend. Defendant was thereby terminated from the case.

Presently before the Court is Plaintiff's Motion for Reconsideration of the Court's June 10, 2010 Order. For the reasons set forth below, Plaintiff's Motion is denied.

BACKGROUND*fn1

On August 21, 2006, Defendant mailed to Plaintiff a pre-screened credit line offer of $8,000.00 with an initial check of $7,000.00. Plaintiff entered into contract with Defendant, and by 2008 the balance due on the credit line, including fees and interest, was $9,551.53.

Plaintiff alleges that Defendant failed to provide required disclosures prior to the consummation of the transaction in violation of the federal Truth in Lending Act ("TILA"), 15 U.S.C. § 1638(b). Specifically, Plaintiff alleges that Defendant failed to provide such disclosures clearly and conspicuously in writing as mandated by 15 U.S.C. § 1632(a), Defendant failed to properly identify property subject to a security interest as mandated by 15 U.S.C. § 1638(a)(9), and that Defendant failed to advise Plaintiff that in the event of a default, Defendant would record a judgment against any property owned by Plaintiff.

On March 19, 2010 this Court granted Defendant's Motion to Dismiss Plaintiff's First Amended Complaint (Docket No. 25) on the grounds that Plaintiff's TILA claim was time-barred and Plaintiff had failed to demonstrate the due diligence necessary to warrant an application of the equitable tolling doctrine. On June 10, 2010, the Court granted Defendant's Motion to Dismiss Plaintiff's Second Amended Complaint (Docket No. 36) on the grounds that Plaintiff had again failed to exhibit due diligence.

As it was Plaintiff's third unsuccessful attempt to state a claim against Defendant, the Court did not permit leave to amend and directed the Clerk to terminate Defendant.

STANDARD

Motions for relief from judgment pursuant to Rule 60(b) are addressed to the sound discretion of the district court. Casey v. Albertson's Inc., 362 F.3d 1254, 1257 (9th Cir. 2004). A court should be loathe to revisit its own decisions unless extraordinary circumstances show that its prior decision was clearly erroneous. Christianson v. Colt Indus. Operating Corp., 486 U.S. 800, 816, 108 S.Ct. 2166 (1988). This principle is generally embodied in the law of the case doctrine. That doctrine counsels against reopening questions once resolved in ongoing litigation. Pyramid Lake Paiute Tribe of Indians v. Hodel, 882 F.2d 364, 369 (9th Cir. 1989). Nonetheless, under certain limited circumstances, the court has discretion to reconsider its prior decisions.

Pursuant to Local Rules, a motion for reconsideration must set forth the material facts and circumstances surrounding the motion, including: (1) what new or different facts or circumstances are claimed to exist which did not exist or were not shown upon such prior motion, or what other grounds exist for the motion and (2) why the facts or circumstances were not shown at the time of the prior motion. E.D. Cal. L.R. 230(j).

A motion for reconsideration is treated as a Rule 59(e) motion if filed within ten days of entry of judgment, but as a Rule 60(b) motion if filed more than ten days after judgment. See Am. Ironworks & Erectors Inc. v. N. Am. Constr. Corp., 248 F.3d 892, 898-99 (9th Cir. 2001). Since this motion is seeking reconsideration of a final disposition of claims against Defendant and was filed more than ten days after final disposition, the Court will treat it as a Rule 60(b) motion.

Rule 60(b) enumerates the grounds upon which a motion for relief from an order or judgment may be made. It specifies that:

On motion and upon such terms as are just, the court may relieve a party or a party's legal representative from a final judgment, order, or proceeding for the following reasons: (1) mistake, inadvertence, surprise or excusable neglect; (2) newly discovered evidence which by due diligence could not have been discovered before the court's decision; (3) fraud by the adverse party; (4) ...


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