United States District Court, W.D. Louisiana, Lafayette Division
G. JAMES UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
before the Court is a “Motion to Reconsider, Pursuant
to Fed.R.Civ.P. 54(b), Case Energy Services, LLC9;s Motion
for Intra-District Transfer Based on Forum Non
Conveniens” (“Motion to Reconsider”) [Doc.
No. 3]. Case Energy Services, LLC (“Case Energy”)
moves the Court to reconsider its order [Doc. No. 2] denying
Case Energy9;s “Motion to Transfer Venue Based on
Forum Non Conveniens” (“Motion to
Transfer”) [Doc. No. 1]. Padco Pressure Control, LLC
(“Padco”) and the Official Committee of Unsecured
Creditors of Padco (“the Committee”) have filed
memoranda in opposition to the motion. [Doc. Nos. 7, 8
&12]. Case Energy has filed reply memoranda. [Doc. Nos. 9
Federal Rules of Civil Procedure do not recognize a motion
for reconsideration per se. Instead, a motion
challenging a judgment or order may be filed under Rules 54,
59, or 60. Rules 59 and 60 apply only to final judgments.
Rule 54(b) provides that any order “that adjudicates
fewer than all the claims... [among] all the parties... may
be revised at any time before the entry of a [final]
judgment.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 54(b). “Under Rule
54[(b)], a district court has the inherent procedural power
to reconsider, rescind, or modify an interlocutory order for
cause seen by it to be sufficient.” Iturralde v.
Shaw Grp., Inc., 512 F. App9;x 430, 432 (5th Cir.
2013) (quoting Melancon v. Texaco, Inc., 659 F2.d
551, 553 (5th Cir. 1981)) (citations omitted); see also
Moses H. Cone Mem9;l Hosp. v. Mercury Const. Corp.,
460 U.S. 1, 12 n. 14 (1983) (holding that “virtually
all interlocutory orders may be altered or amended before
final judgment if sufficient cause is shown”). Courts
evaluate motions to reconsider interlocutory orders under a
“less exacting” standard than Rule 59(e), but,
nevertheless, look to similar considerations for
guidance. See HBM Interests, LLC v. Chesapeake
Louisiana, LP, No. 12-1048, 2013 WL 3893989 (W.D. La.
July 26, 2013) (quoting Livingston Downs Racing
Ass9;n, Inc. v. Jefferson Downs Corp., 259 F.Supp.2d
471, 475 (M.D. La. 2002)); Sw. Louisiana Hosp. Ass9;n
v. BASF Const. Chemicals, LLC, No. 2:10-CV-902, 2013 WL
1858610 (W.D. La. Apr. 29, 2013) (quoting Livingston
Downs, 259 F.Supp.2d at 475). Therefore, in determining
whether to grant the motion, the Court must evaluate whether
there are “manifest errors of law or fact upon which
judgment is based[, ]” whether “new
evidence” is available, whether there is a need
“to prevent manifest injustice, ”or whether there
has been “an intervening change in controlling
law.” HBM Interests, 2013 WL 3893989, at *1
(internal quotation marks and citations omitted).
Rule 54(b) motions, like those under Rules 59(e) and 60(b),
are not the proper vehicle for rehashing evidence, legal
theories, or arguments.” S. Snow Mfg. Co. v.
SnoWizard Holdings, Inc., 921 F.Supp.2d 548');">921 F.Supp.2d 548, 565 (E.D.
La. 2013) (citing Simon v. United States, 891 F.2d
1154, 1159 (5th Cir. 1990)). “While
reconsideration is generally not available to ‘raise
arguments that could, and should have been made9; . . .
earlier . . . courts have considerable discretion [under Rule
54(b)] to revise, ‘reconsider and reverse its
decision9; . . . on interlocutory motions for summary
judgment ‘for any reason it deems
sufficient.9;” Riley v. Wells Fargo Bank, N.A.,
No. CIV.A. H-13-0608, 2014 WL 2506241, at *1 (S.D. Tex.
May 15, 2014), report and recommendation adopted, No. CIV.A.
H-13 0608, 2014 WL 2505686 (S.D. Tex. June 3, 2014)(quoting
In re Elevating Boats, LLC, 286 Fed. App9;x. 118,
122 (5 th Cir.2008)).
case, Case Energy admits that the statute upon which it
relied in its original motion, 28 U.S.C. § 1412,
provides only for interdistrict, not intradistrict,
transfers. Instead, Case Energy argues that it should have
cited 28 U.S.C. § 1404(a), which allows a district court
to transfer a case within the district (intradistrict) from
one division to another. See 28 U.S.C. §
1404(a) (“For the convenience of parties and witnesses,
in the interest of justice, a district court may transfer any
civil action to any other district or division where it might
have been brought or to any district or division to which all
parties have consented.”). Case Energy argues further
that if the Court applies the § 1404(a) factors, it will
find that the Shreveport Division of the Bankruptcy Court is
the appropriate forum for the bankruptcy case.
and the Committee respond that (1) Case Energy cannot rely on
arguments that it could have raised in the original motion,
(2) any motion to transfer venue between divisions should be
filed in the bankruptcy court under the Court9;s standing
order of reference, and (3) if the bankruptcy court applies
the § 1404(a) factors, those factors weigh heavily in
favor of the Lafayette Division. The Committee points out
that Bankruptcy Judge Robert Summerhays has considered a
motion to transfer venue in the bankruptcy case of another
Padco entity and determined that the case should remain in
the Lafayette division.
Energy responds that this Court has original jurisdiction and
“may decide what it refers to bankruptcy court, not
vice-versa.” [Doc. No. 9, p. 1]. Case Energy points out
that the Court can “refer the motion” to the
Bankruptcy Court if it wishes and that the cases it cited
stand for that proposition. Id. However, Case Energy
argues that the Court should consider the substantive merits
of its motion and that the § 1404(a) factors support a
transfer to Shreveport. Finally, in a supplemental
memorandum, Case Energy points to the procedural and factual
history of the case before Bankruptcy Judge Summerhays and
argues that he was not presented with the facts that it has
provided to the Court in its motion.
the Court finds that Case Energy had the opportunity to raise
its § 1404(a) arguments in its original motion. The
Court could deny the Motion for Reconsideration on this basis
alone. However, given the discretionary authority of Rule
54(b), the Court has considered Case Energy9;s substantive
arguments and the opposing arguments advanced by Padco and
the Committee. After due consideration, the Court finds that
the Motion for Reconsideration should be denied.
federal district courts have original jurisdiction over
bankruptcy cases, acting within that authority, the Judges of
the Western District of Louisiana have “automatically
referred” all “[b]ankruptcy cases and proceedings
arising under Title 11 or arising in or related to a case
under Title 11 of the United States Code” with limited
exceptions which do not apply to a motion to transfer venue.
Standing Order 1.32 (emphasis added). Pursuant to this
referral, “Bankruptcy Judges may exercise full
authority allowed them by law.” Id. As argued
by Padco, a decision about the division assignment of a
bankruptcy case is a “core” matter pursuant to 28
U.S.C. § 157(b)(2)(A), because it “concern[s] the
administration of the estate.” Therefore, any motion
for intradistrict, or divisional, transfer is appropriately
filed in the Bankruptcy Court where the debtor9;s case is
pending. It is not the policy of any court in this District
to “take back” certain motions from the general
referral to the Bankruptcy Court or to encourage the
piecemeal filing of such motions in the district court on a
case by case basis. It serves neither the interests of
justice nor judicial economy for the district court to do
Energy9;s Motion for Reconsideration is DENIED without
prejudice to Case Energy9;s right to file a motion to
transfer in the pending bankruptcy case.
Procedurally, this case is unusual
because the Court has ruled on the only issue before it: the
Motion to Transfer, and, thus, this miscellaneous matter was
resolved upon entry of the Court9;s prior order. In that
respect, Case Energy9;s Motion for Reconsideration is more
like a motion to alter or amend judgment under Rule 59(e).
However, all claims in the case, i.e., the bankruptcy case,
have not been resolved. Thus, the Court has applied the more
generous Rule 54(b) standard. Given the Court9;s
conclusions, Case Energy certainly could not prevail if the
Court had applied the more stringent standard of Rule 59(e)
to its review of the Motion for Reconsideration.
Notably, as in this case, it is not
unusual for multiple business entities to have separate
bankruptcy cases. If the Court were to do as Case Energy asks
and rule contrary to Bankruptcy Judge Summerhays in this
case, the same witnesses, debtor-principals, and creditors
could be involved in cases in the Lafayette and ...