ONE MORE CONSIDERATION OF RECONSIDERATION
February 21, 2013 § 8 Comments
I posted here not too long ago about the vernacular use of “Motion for Reconsideration” as the post-trial motion that is MRCP 59.
It’s pretty widespread. I recently had a four-page post-order motion challenging a temporary ruling of mine. The motion did not invoke any MRCP at all, but every page included the words “reconsideration” or “reconsider” at least once. When I took the bench and announced that I would treat the motion as made per MRCP 59 (which was an indulgence, since I am convinced that MRCP 59 relief lies only as to final judgments; See, Trilogy Communications, Inc. v. Thomas Truck Lease, Inc., 733 So.2d 313, 317-318 (Miss.App. 1998)), the proponent lawyer corrected me and said that it was actually a MRCP 60 motion for relief from judgment. Excuse me.
Judge Southwick back in 1999 addressed the subject in the case of Barber v. Balboa Life, 47 So.2d 863 (Miss.App. 1999), where he stated in footnote 3 at page 869:
“Pursuant to Rule 59 of M.R.C.P., relief following judgment is on motion for a new trial, not on motion to reconsider. Motions to reconsider, as previously known in practice and procedure in Mississippi prior to the adoption of the Mississippi Rules of Civil Procedure, have for all purposes and intent, been abolished and superceded [sic] by the aforementioned Rule 59 of M.R.C.P. It is suggested that the appellant apply Rule 59 of M.R.C.P. in the future under similar circumstances.”
That was 14 years ago. The footnote apparently didn’t have much impact.
I think the main reason most lawyers ask for reconsideration rather than rehearing, as the rule states, is that they absolutely do not want a rehearing. I mean, who really wants to retry what one has already tried? What they want the judge to do is take another look at the facts and/or the law and render a different result. That’s what rehearing has always looked like in chancery where the fact-finder and the judge of the law are one and the same. When the trial is over the fact-finder is not scattered to the far reaches of the county, as is the case with a jury. The fact-finder is right there in in the courthouse where she rendered the judgment in the first place. And she just might realize when confronted with the motion that a different outcome might be more equitable.
But the rule expressly says “rehearing.”
We judges are supposed to look past the form to the substance. When you use confusing language and do not invoke the proper rule, at best you will confuse the judge. At worst, you may find you’ve messed up your record for appeal.
[…] One nice subtlety in this case is Judge Ishee’s description of Jimmy’s post-trial motion as one for “rehearing,” as opposed to “reconsideration,” as is the common term for it. You can read another post on rehearing vs. reconsideration here. […]
[…] mentioned here before that there is no “motion to reconsider” in our practice. That terminology is usually used to describe a R59 motion, but a R59 motion is […]
[…] filed a motion for reconsideration [you can read another post at this link on whether there is such a creature in Mississippi procedure] on July 24, twelve days after the court’s […]
[…] [Reconsideration, or Rehearing?] […]
[…] McBride was reversed and remanded on other grounds. Judge Griffis’s opinion addresses the vernacular use of the term “reconsideration” at ¶15. It’s a subject we’ve discussed here previously. […]
Reconsideration, IMHO, is what you ask for when an interlocutory order is being challenged, under the general authority of MRCP 7(b) that when you want an order, you can ask for it. It shouldn’t be used for MRCP 59 or 60.
A decision today discusses this issue.
Click to access CO83076.pdf
Thanks. I haven’t read the entire opinion, but since the MSSC repeatedly referred to the motion as one for reconsideration, I guess I rest my case.