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U.S. S.E.C. v. NATIONAL PRESTO INDUSTRIES

April 27, 2004.

UNITED STATES SECURITIES AND EXCHANGE COMMISSION, Plaintiff,
v.
NATIONAL PRESTO INDUSTRIES, INC, Defendant



The opinion of the court was delivered by: CHARLES NORGLE, District Judge

OPINION AND ORDER

Before the court is Defendant's Motion to Reconsider Transfer [docket entry 23-1]. For the following reasons, the motion is denied.

I. INTRODUCTION

  The United States Securities and Exchange Commission ("SEC") filed this action in the Northern District of Illinois against National Presto Industries, Inc. ("National Presto") alleging that it has been operating an as unregistered investment company in violation of the Investment Company Act of 1940, 15 U.S.C. § 80a-1 et seq. In response, National Presto filed a motion to transfer venue to the Western District of Wisconsin pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § I404(a).

  In an order dated March 6, 2003, the court denied National Presto's motion to transfer to the Western District of Wisconsin pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1404(a), holding that National Presto had not carried its burden of demonstrating that the Western District of Wisconsin would be a more convenient forum. See Minute Order of March 6, 2003 [docket entry 15-1].

  National Presto filed a petition for a writ of mandamus in the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals, seeking review of the court's March 6, 2003 order denying transfer and asking the Seventh Circuit to transfer the action to the Western District of Wisconsin. In an opinion dated October 21, 2003, the Seventh Circuit denied the petition for mandamus. See In re National Presto Indus., Inc., 347 F.3d 662, 665 (7th Cir. 2003).

  In light of the Seventh Circuit's opinion, National Presto filed the instant Motion to Reconsider Transfer. The motion is fully briefed and before the court.

  II. STANDARD OF DECISION

  National Presto's instant motion seeks reconsideration of the court's March 6, 2003 order denying the motion to transfer to the Western District of Wisconsin pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1404(a), an interlocutory order. National Presto states that the instant motion is brought "[p]ursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 54(b) and pursuant also to the common law of reconsideration. . . ." Def.'s Mot. to Reconsider, at 1. While there is no Federal Rule of Civil Procedure that allows the filing of a motion to reconsider an interlocutory order, district courts have recognized such motions, finding the authority to consider such motions in the authorities cited by National Presto. See, e.g., Neal v. Honeywell. Inc., No. 93 C 1143, 1996 WL 627616, at *2 (N.D. Ill. Oct. 25, 1996) (collecting authority); Snuff v. Consolidated Rail Corp., 865 F. Supp. 469, 472-73 (N.D. Ill. 1994).

  District courts possess the inherent authority to modify interlocutory orders. See Cameo, Convalescent Ctr., Inc. v. Percy. 800 F.2d 108, 110 (7th Cir. 1986); Kapco. Mfg. Co. v. C & O Enterprises. Inc., 773 F.2d 151, 154 (7th Cir. 1985) (stating district courts "always ha[ve] the power to modify earlier orders in a pending case"). However, "as a rule courts should be loathe to do so in the absence of extraordinary circumstances such as where the initial decision was `clearly erroneous and would work a manifest injustice.'" Christianson v. Colt Indus. Operation Corp., 486 U.S. 800, 817 (1988) (quoting Arizona v. California. 460 U.S. 605, 618 n.8 (1983)).

  As an exercise of a court's inherent authority, a motion to reconsider an interlocutory order is appropriate where: (1) the court has patently misunderstood a party; (2) the court has made a decision outside the adversarial issues presented to the court by the parties; (3) the court has made an error not of reasoning but of apprehension; (4) there has been a controlling or significant change in the law since the submission of the issue to the court; or (5) there has been a controlling or significant change in the facts since the submission of the issue to the court. See, e.g., Bank of Waunakee v. Rochester Cheese Sales. Inc., 906 F.2d 1185, 1191 (7th Cir. 1990); Neal. 1996 WL 627616, at *2.

  These grounds represent extraordinary circumstances, and the granting of a motion to reconsider is to be granted only in such extraordinary circumstances. See id. (stating that "[s]uch problems rarely arise and the motion to reconsider should be equally rare"). Motions to reconsider are not at the disposal of parties who want to "rehash" the same arguments that were originally presented to the court. See In re Oil Spill by "Amoco. Cadiz" Off Coast of France on March 16. 1978. 794 F. Supp. 261, 267 (N.D. Ill. 1992). Indeed, the court's orders are not "mere first drafts, subject to revision and reconsideration at a litigant's pleasure." Quaker Alloy Casting Co. y. Gulfco. Industries. Inc., 123 F.R.D. 282, 288 (N.D. Ill. 1988).

  National Presto claims that its motion to reconsider should be granted based on two grounds: a controlling or significant change in the law and the facts since the submission of the issue to the court. In response, the SEC claims that neither a controlling or significant change in the law nor the ...


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