Redford v. US Department of Housing and Urban Development et al
///ORDER denying 59 Motion for Reconsideration Re: 57 Order on Motion for Summary Judgment. So Ordered by Chief Judge Landya B. McCafferty. (gla)
Case 1:19-cv-01152-LM Document 61 Filed 11/19/20 Page 1 of 3
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
FOR THE DISTRICT OF NEW HAMPSHIRE
Civil No. 19-cv-1152-LM
Opinion No. 2020 DNH 200 P
BLM Companies, LLC, et al.
Presently before the court in this state law negligence action is defendant
Bruce Clark’s motion for reconsideration (doc. no. 59) of this court’s order (doc. no.
57) denying his motion for summary judgment (doc. no. 39). Clark argues that the
court committed manifest error in holding that he owed plaintiff Jay Redford a duty
of care because he undertook to render snow removal and deicing services at the
property where Redford fell, and committed further manifest error in concluding
that a genuine dispute exists as to whether Clark failed to exercise reasonable care
in performing his duty. Clark’s motion is denied.
STANDARD OF REVIEW
A party moving for reconsideration of an order must “demonstrate that the
order was based on a manifest error of fact or law.” LR 7.2(d). “[M]otions for
reconsideration are appropriate only in a limited number of circumstances: if the
moving party presents newly discovered evidence, if there has been an intervening
change in the law, or if the movant can demonstrate that the original decision was
Case 1:19-cv-01152-LM Document 61 Filed 11/19/20 Page 2 of 3
based on a manifest error of law or was clearly unjust.” Dionne v. Fed. Nat’l Morg.
Ass’n, 110 F. Supp. 3d 338, 341 (D.N.H. 2015) (quoting United States v. Allen, 573
F.3d 42, 53 (1st Cir. 2009)).
Clark argues that this court committed manifest error of law in
misinterpreting the New Hampshire Supreme Court’s holding in Bloom v. Casella
Construction, Inc., 172 N.H. 625 (2019). Clark argues that, in Bloom, the New
Hampshire Supreme Court “denied summary judgment because . . . the Court could
not determine whether a duty existed.” Doc. no. 59 ¶ 3.
Clark misreads Bloom. The Supreme Court clearly held that Casella owed
plaintiff a duty under § 324A(b) of the Restatement (Second) of Torts. See Bloom,
172 N.H. at 630 (“To the extent the trial court reasoned that there is no duty under
subsection (b) . . . we disagree.”). Although the Supreme Court concluded there
remained a genuine issue as to the precise scope of Casella’s duty, the Court plainly
held that, because “Casella contracted with [the property owner] to render
snowplowing services for specific areas of [the] property,” it owed plaintiff a duty
under § 324A(b). Id. at 630-31. Indeed, Clark seems to concede that “he had a duty
to report to the property once to plow, remove snow and walkways and front
porches, and apply salt to walkways and the driveway.” Doc. no. 59 ¶ 6 (emphasis
omitted). Thus, Clark has failed to demonstrate that this court’s conclusion that he
Case 1:19-cv-01152-LM Document 61 Filed 11/19/20 Page 3 of 3
owed Redford a duty of care is “based on a manifest error of law.” Dionne, 110 F.
Supp. 3d at 341.
Clark further argues, citing New Hampshire Rule of Evidence 401, that
reconsideration is warranted because evidence that Redford slipped and fell on ice
in the days after Clark rendered snow and ice removal services on the property
“lacks reasonable temporal proximity to Clark’s work to be relevant” to whether he
exercised due care in performing those services. Doc. no. 59 ¶ 8. The court
concludes otherwise. The existence of an icy walkway mere days after Clark
performed deicing services has a “tendency” to show that Clark failed to exercise
due care. Fed. R. Ev. 401; see Downey v. Bob’s Discount Furniture Holdings, Inc.,
633 F.3d 1, 8 (1st Cir. 2011). Finding no manifest error of law or clear injustice in
light of this argument, the court declines to reconsider its order. See Dionne, 110 F.
Supp. 3d at 341.
For the reasons stated herein, Clark’s motion for reconsideration (doc. no. 59)
United States District Judge
November 19, 2020
cc: Counsel of Record
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