Mergenthaler v. Thaler et al
MEMORANDUM & ORDER denying 10 Motion for Reconsideration; For the foregoing reasons, Appellant's motion for reconsideration is DENIED. So Ordered by Judge Joanna Seybert on 1/15/2016. C/M; C/ECF (Valle, Christine)
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
EASTERN DISTRICT OF NEW YORK
In re MERGENTHALER,
MEMORANDUM & ORDER
DEAN OSEKAVAGE d/b/a PATHFINDERS
USA as assignee of Judith Wetzstein,
Peter Mergenthaler, pro se
3 Wood Edge Court
Water Mill, New York 11976
Andrew M Thaler:
Mark A. Cuthbertson:
Andrew M. Thaler, Esq.
Thaler Law Firm PLLC
675 Old Country Road
Westbury, New York 11590
Christine Black, Esq.
Office of the U.S. Trustee
560 Federal Plaza
Central Islip, New York 11572
Melissa Beth Levine, Esq.
Gold Benes LLP
1854 Bellmore Avenue
Bellmore, New York 11710
Mark A. Cuthbertson, Esq.
Law Offices of Mark A. Cuthbertson
434 New York Avenue
Huntington, New York 11743
SEYBERT, District Judge:
(“Appellant”) motion (Docket Entry 10) seeking reconsideration of
the Court’s April 29, 2015, Memorandum and Order (the “April 2015
Order,” Docket Entry 9).
For the reasons that follow, Appellant’s
motion is DENIED.
The Court presumes familiarity with the facts of this
case, which are discussed in detail in the April 2015 Order.
Briefly, this case concerns Appellant’s legal battle with Dean
Osekavage d/b/a Pathfinders USA (“Osekavage”), a debt collector,
who was assigned a debt that Appellant owed to his now deceased
ex-wife, Judith Wetzstein, following their divorce.
Order at 2-3.)
Osekavage seeks to sell Appellant’s residence,
which is owned by Appellant’s current wife, to satisfy the debt.
In an effort to stop the sale, Appellant filed for bankruptcy.
(April 2015 Order at 3-4.)
In its April 2015 Order, the Court denied Appellant’s
motion seeking a stay pending the resolution of four separate
Appellant’s motion, the Court found that Appellant was unlikely to
succeed on the merits because Bankruptcy Judge Robert E. Grossman
correctly determined that: (1) Appellant’s debt was a marital
support obligation and (2) it was appropriate to lift the automatic
stay with respect to the Property because it was not part of
Appellant filed a motion for reconsideration on May 4, 2015.
(Docket Entry 10.)
Liberally construed, Appellant argues that the
Court failed to consider: (1) that the automatic stay should
protect the Property pursuant to 11 U.S.C. 362(a)(2) because
Osekavage was seeking to collect a money judgment from him; (2)
the powers granted to the Bankruptcy Court by 11 U.S.C. 105; and
(3) the argument that Osekavage lacks standing to sue Appellant.
(Appellant’s Br., Docket Entry 10, ¶¶ 9-10, 16, 21-22.)
standard before turning to Appellant’s contentions.
Standard of Review
Motions for reconsideration may be brought pursuant to
Rules 59(e) and 60(b) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure and
Local Rule 6.3.
See Wilson v. Pessah, No. 05-CV-3143, 2007 WL
reconsideration is appropriate when the moving party believes the
Court overlooked important “matters or controlling decisions” that
would have influenced the prior decision.
Shamis v. Ambassador
Reconsideration is not a proper tool to repackage and relitigate
arguments and issues already considered by the Court in deciding
the original motion.
See United States v. Gross, No. 98-CR-0159,
2002 WL 32096592, at *4 (E.D.N.Y. Dec. 5, 2002) (“A party may not
use a motion to reconsider as an opportunity to reargue the same
points raised previously.”).
arguments and issues.
Nor is it proper to raise new
See Lehmuller v. Inc. Vill. of Sag Harbor,
982 F. Supp. 132, 135 (E.D.N.Y. 1997).
Reconsideration may only
be granted when the Court did not evaluate decisions or data that
might reasonably be expected to alter the conclusion reached by
Wechsler v. Hunt Health Sys., 186 F. Supp. 2d 402, 410
Appellant’s Challenge Concerning 11 U.S.C. § 362(a)(2) is
Appellant first argues that the Court misinterpreted 11
U.S.C. § 362(a)(2) in its April 2015 Order when addressing whether
(Appellant’s Br. ¶ 9.)
Appellant contends that, pursuant to 11
U.S.C. § 362(a)(2), the automatic stay should have extended to the
Property, regardless of whether it is within his estate, because
Osekavage’s underlying purpose in seeking to sell the Property was
to enforce a money judgment against Appellant.
irrelevant, however, because Osekavage’s debt was classified by
the Bankruptcy Court as a marital support obligation, under 11
U.S.C. § 362(b)(2)(B), a debt category that is not dischargeable.
See In re Cole, 202 B.R. 358, 358-59 (S.D.N.Y. 1996) (stating that
domestic support obligation claims).
III. The Bankruptcy Code Does Not Give the Court the Power to Look
Behind a State Court Judgment
Appellant next argues that under 11 U.S.C. § 105, the
Court has the power to look behind Osekavage’s state court judgment
and re-litigate its validity.
(Appellant’s Br., ¶ 16.)
the Court already held in its April 2015 Order, that the RookerFeldman doctrine precludes the Court from reviewing the validity
of Appellant’s state court judgment.
(April 2015 Order at 10-12.)
defining the Court’s power to enforce the provisions of the
Bankruptcy Code, does not compel a different conclusion.
re Dabrowski, 257 B.R. 394, 405-06 (S.D.N.Y. 2001) (applying the
Rooker-Feldman doctrine to a bankruptcy case); Exxon Mobil Corp.
v. Saudi Basic Indus. Corp., 544 U.S. 280, 284, 125 S. Ct. 1517,
1521-22, 161 L. Ed. 2d 454 (2005); Hoblock v. Albany Cty. Bd. of
Elections, 422 F.3d 77, 84 (2d Cir. 2005) (stating that under the
jurisdiction over suits that are, in substance, appeals from statecourt judgments”). The Court therefore need not analyze this issue
The Argument that Osekavage Lacks Standing was Already
Finally, Appellant argues that Osekavage did not have
standing to sue Appellant and obtain a judgment in state court
against him because the assignment of the debt at issue was revoked
by operation of law.
Appellant made a similar standing argument
in his original motion, and the Court already held that “[u]nder
the Rooker-Feldman doctrine, whether the judgments Osekavage was
granted in state court were properly obtained is not a question
that the Bankruptcy Court--or this Court--has jurisdiction to
(April 2015 Order at 11.)
Thus, Appellant’s standing
argument was properly rejected in the Court’s April 2015 Order.
reconsideration is DENIED.
/s/ JOANNA SEYBERT______
Joanna Seybert, U.S.D.J.
15 , 2016
Central Islip, New York
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