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Stinson v. Home Depot USA, Inc.

Superior Court of Delaware

June 8, 2017

ROBERT STINSON, Plaintiff,
v.
HOME DEPOT USA, INC.; LIBERTY MUTUAL INSURANCE COMPANY, Defendants.

          Submitted: May 1, 2017

          ORDER

          Vivian L. Medinilla Judge.

         Upon Consideration of Plaintiffs Motion for Reargument, DENIED.

         AND NOW TO WIT, this 8th day of June, 2017, upon consideration of Plaintiff Robert Stinson's Motion for Reargument of the Court's April 20, 2017 Order granting Defendant Home Depot USA, Inc. ("Home Depot")'s Motion for Judgment on the Pleadings, Home Depot's response thereto, and the record in this case, IT IS HEREBY ORDERED that Plaintiffs Motion for Reargument is DENIED, for the following reasons:

         1. On April 20, 2017, this Court granted Home Depot's Motion for Judgment on the Pleadings.[1] The Court held that "no material issue of fact [existed] regarding whether the parties [i.e., Plaintiff and Home Depot] agreed to settle Plaintiffs lost wages claim sufficient to trigger Huffman damages."[2] Additionally, the Court granted the motion with respect to Plaintiffs two other Huffman claims: one for medical expenses and the other for mileage reimbursement.[3] Plaintiff now moves to reargue that Order, filing this Motion for Reargument ("Motion") on April 27, 2017.[4] Home Depot responded on May 1, 2017.[5] The Motion is now ripe for decision.

         2. A motion for reargument under Delaware Superior Court Civil Rule 59(e) permits the Court to reconsider "its findings of fact, conclusions of law, or judgment. . . ."[6] "Delaware law places a heavy burden on a [party] seeking relief pursuant to Rule 59."[7] To prevail on a motion for reargument, the movant must demonstrate that "the Court has overlooked a controlling precedent or legal principle[], or the Court has misapprehended the law or facts such as would have changed the outcome of the underlying decision."[8] Further, "[a] motion for reargument is not a device for raising new arguments, "[9] nor is it "intended to rehash the arguments already decided by the court."[10] Such tactics frustrate the interests of judicial efficiency and the orderly process of reaching finality on the issues.[11] The moving party has the burden of demonstrating "newly discovered evidence, a change of law, or manifest injustice."[12]

         3. Plaintiff argues that the Court "overlooked the application of 19 Del. C. § 1104, which requires payment by the Employer of wages payable to the Claimant, in those instances where the parties agree that some wages are owed, but cannot agree on the sum due."[13] He argues that Home Depot, at least in part, agreed to pay some disability benefits to Plaintiff on January 24, 2011.[14]Therefore, he argues that § 1104 "requires payment of that amount [] the Employer conceded is not in dispute."[15] Because Home Depot purportedly failed to pay "any disability benefits, " Plaintiff contends that it violated § 1104 and, therefore, the Court's dismissal of the Complaint on Home Depot's motion was unwarranted.[16]

         4. In response, Home Depot maintains that Plaintiffs argument under § 1104 was never raised before this Motion: neither in his Complaint nor in his Response to Home Depot's motion.[17] Accordingly, Home Depot argues that the Motion should be summarily dismissed.[18] As to the merits of Plaintiff s Motion, Home Depot contends that 19 Del. C. § 2357, under which Plaintiff raised his Huffman claims, does not provide an avenue for raising a Huffman claim based on § 1104; § 2357 explicitly states that an employer's default on an employee's demand for payment of an amount due "under this chapter" may be recovered under Title 19, Chapter 11 of the Delaware Code.[19] Because a claim under § 1104 is not a claim arising under Title 19, Chapter 23 of the Delaware Code, Home Depot argues that Plaintiffs Motion is without merit as a matter of law.[20]

         5. Plaintiffs argument positing the applicability of § 1104 is a new argument and will not be considered by this Court. An argument that is raised for the first time on a motion for reargument will not be considered absent a showing of newly discovered evidence.[21] However, Plaintiff does not demonstrate the existence of any newly discovered evidence. Instead, he claims that the Court overlooked a statutory provision that he did not present to the Court until this Motion. The Court cannot "overlook" an argument that Plaintiff failed to raise when responding to the Motion for Judgment on the Pleadings.[22]

         Conclusion

         6. For the foregoing reasons, Plaintiffs Motion for Reargument is DENIED.

         IT IS SO ORDERED.

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