In re: Padco Energy Services L L C
MEMORANDUM RULING re 3 MOTION for Reconsideration 2 Order on Motion to Transfer Case filed by Case Energy Services L L C. Signed by Judge Robert G James on 1/13/17. (crt,Crawford, A)
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
WESTERN DISTRICT OF LOUISIANA
IN RE: PADCO ENERGY SERVICES, LLC
CIVIL ACTION NO. 16-mc-0055
JUDGE ROBERT G. JAMES
Pending before the Court is a “Motion to Reconsider, Pursuant to Fed. R. Civ. P. 54(b), Case
Energy Services, LLC’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 Energy’s “Motion to Transfer Venue Based on Forum Non
Conveniens” (“Motion to Transfer”) [Doc. No. 1]. Padco Energy Services, LLC (“Padco”) has filed a
memorandum in opposition to the motion. [Doc. No. 7]. Case Energy has filed an affidavit and reply
memoranda in support of its motion. [Doc. Nos. 6, 8 & 9].
The 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. App’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 Mem’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.1 See HBM Interests, LLC v. Chesapeake Louisiana, LP, No. 12-1048, 2013 WL 3893989
(W.D. La. July 26, 2013) (quoting Livingston Downs Racing Ass’n, Inc. v. Jefferson Downs Corp.,
259 F. Supp. 2d 471, 475 (M.D. La. 2002)); Sw. Louisiana Hosp. Ass’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).
“[I]mportantly, 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, 565 (E.D. La. 2013) (citing Simon v. United States, 891 F.2d 1154, 1159
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 Court’s prior
order. In that respect, Case Energy’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 Court’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.
(5th Cir. 1990)). “While reconsideration is generally not available to ‘raise arguments that could, and
should have been made’ . . . earlier . . . courts have considerable discretion [under Rule 54(b)] to revise,
‘reconsider and reverse its decision’ . . . on interlocutory motions for summary judgment ‘for any reason
it deems sufficient.’” 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. App’x. 118, 122 (5
In this 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.
Padco responds that (1) its bankruptcy case was filed in the correct venue (the Western District
of Louisiana), (2) any motion to transfer venue between divisions should be filed in the bankruptcy court
under the Court’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.
Case Energy responds that this Court has original jurisdiction and “may decide what it refers to
bankruptcy court, not vice-versa.” [Doc. No. 8, 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.
Additionally, the Court takes judicial notice of the filings in the related case of In re Padco
Pressure Control, LLC, Misc. Case No. 6:16-0056 (W.D. La.). In that case, the Official Committee
of Unsecured Creditors of Padco Pressure Control, LLC, points out that Bankruptcy Judge Robert
Summerhays has considered a motion to transfer venue in the bankruptcy case of yet another Padco entity
and determined that the case should remain in the Lafayette division.
First, 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 Energy’s substantive arguments,
the opposing arguments advanced by Padco, and the record in this and the related case. After due
consideration, the Court finds that the Motion for Reconsideration should be denied.
While 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 debtor’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 so.2
Case Energy’s Motion for Reconsideration is DENIED without prejudice to Case Energy’s right
to file a motion to transfer in the pending bankruptcy case.
MONROE, LOUISIANA, this 13th day of January, 2017.
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 Shreveport divisions. That outcome would not serve the interests of justice.
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