Butz et al v. Pulte Home Corporation
MEMORANDUM OPINION. Signed by Judge Paula Xinis on 4/28/2017. (ah4s, Deputy Clerk)
IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
FOR THE DISTRICT OF MARYLAND
THEODORE H. BUTZ, et al.,
Case No. PX 16-1508
PULTE HOME CORPORATION,
Pending before the Court is Defendant Pulte Home Corporation’s (“Defendant”) Motion
for Clarification or, in the alternative, Motion for Reconsideration (ECF No. 27) of the Court’s
February 21, 2017 Memorandum Opinion, ECF No. 25. On April 27, 2017, the Court held a
telephonically-recorded conference call addressing and denying the motion. ECF No. 40.
Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 54(b) provides that an interlocutory order, such as the
Order denying Pulte’s Motion to Dismiss, “may be revised at any time before the entry of a
judgment adjudicating all the claims and all the parties’ rights and liabilities.” Fed. R. Civ. P.
54(b). See also Fayetteville Inv’rs v. Commercial Builders, Inc., 936 F.2d 1462, 1469 (4th Cir.
1991) (“An interlocutory order is subject to reconsideration at any time prior to the entry of a
final judgment.”); Local Rule 105.10 (permitting the filing of a motion for reconsideration,
within fourteen days of the issuance of the order that is the subject of the motion).
Reconsideration is appropriate where (1) there has been a change in controlling law; (2) the
availability of new evidence; or (3) the need to correct a clear error or prevent manifest injustice.
Humane Soc’y of United States v. Nat’l Union Fire Ins. Co. of Pittsburgh, PA, No. CV DKC 13-
1822, 2017 WL 1426007, at *3 (D. Md. Apr. 21, 2017) (citing Akeva, LLC v. Adidas Am., Inc.,
385 F.Supp.2d 559, 565–66 (M.D.N.C. 2005)). 1 A motion for reconsideration is not, however, an
opportunity to relitigate issues already ruled upon simply because a party is dissatisfied with the
outcome. Beyond Sys., Inc. v. Kraft Foods, Inc., No. PJM–08–409, 2010 WL 3059344, at *2 (D.
Md. Aug. 4, 2010).
As stated on the recorded conference call, none of the justifications for a motion to
reconsider are present here. Defendant moves to reconsider the holding in the February 21, 2017
Opinion that § 15.1(1) of the Agreement does not govern responsibility for the at-issue tax as a
matter of law. Further, Defendant reargues the terms of § 15.1(1) are ambiguous and thus
susceptible to the introduction of extrinsic evidence. Defendant has provided no valid basis for
the Court to reconsider its decision and only reiterates arguments previously rejected by the
court. See Beyond Sys., Inc., 2010 WL 3059344, at *2. The Court will not restate its analysis to
reach the same result.
As a final matter, the Court addressed the scope of discovery going forward. Defendant
seeks discovery as to whether Plaintiff provided sufficient notice of transfer tax pursuant to
section 13-308 of the Maryland Tax and Property Article. During the conference, Defendant
relied exclusively upon DMH Joint Venture v. Hahner, 80 Md. App. 257 (1989) in urging this
Court to permit written discovery, depositions, and perhaps even expert designation on the issue
of notice. In seeking a wide berth on discovery, Defendant represented that DMH not only
In the Fourth Circuit, the precise standard governing a motion for reconsideration of an interlocutory
order has not been identified. Fayetteville Inv’rs, 936 F.2d at 1472. While the standards articulated in
Rules 59(e) and 60(b) are not binding in an analysis of Rule 54(b) motions, Am. Canoe Ass’n v. Murphy
Farms, Inc., 326 F.3d 505, 514 (4th Cir. 2003), courts frequently look to these standards for guidance in
considering such motions, Akeva, LLC v. Adidas Am., Inc., 385 F.Supp.2d 559, 565–66 (M.D.N.C. 2005).
Accord Potter v. Potter, 199 F.R.D. 550, 552 (D. Md. 2001) (applying the identical three-pronged test in
examining a motion for reconsideration pursuant to Rule 7).
requires written notice be given, but that notice in the Purchase and Sale Agreement is not
Defendant is only half correct in its reading of DMH. DMH indeed held that “§ 13-308
of the Tax Property Article . . . is not satisfied by the buyer’s actual notice; written notice must
be given.” Id. at 267. However, contrary to Defendant’s representation, DMH also clearly held
that the particular Agreement of Sale—which stated that “[t]ransfer taxes shall be split between
the Seller and Purchaser”—was “sufficient under the facts of this case to establish written
notification to the buyer.” Id. 270–71. With this correct statement of DMH in mind, the Court
reiterates that discovery shall be appropriately circumscribed as to whether Defendant received
written notice. Accordingly, to the extent either party views the discovery requests going
forward as disproportionate to the needs of the case, the parties are directed to notify the Court
immediately in writing in a letter pleading not to exceed three pages in length.
A separate Order follows.
United States District Judge
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