Filing a Motion Without Citing Any Rules
This matter is presently before the Court on plaintiff's motion for "Re-trial".
Plaintiff does not cite any rule in the motion, but it will be analyzed pursuant to CCP Civil Rule 59(b), which provides "a motion for a new trial shall be served and filed not later than 10 days after the entry of judgment."
The initial trial in these proceedings was held July 30, 2001 after which the Court reserved decision.
On August 30, 2001, the Court entered an order finding for the defendant.
Plaintiff filed this motion for a re-trial on September 10, 2001.
Defendant responds to the motion arguing that it is time barred for failure to comply with Court of Common Pleas Civil Rule 59(e).
Defendant argues that a motion seeking reconsideration of findings of fact, conclusions of law or judgment entered by the court sitting without a jury may only proceed by motion for reargument. Hessler Commerce Inc. v. Farrell, Del. Supr., 260 A.2d 701 (1969).
Therefore, defendant argues that the Court must deny the motion because it was not filed within the five (5) days after the Court's decision as required by Civil Rule 59(e).
If I were to accept defendant's argument, I cannot envision when Rule 59(b) would have application.
Because under the provisions of 10 Del. C. 1328, all civil trials in the Court of Common Pleas are without a jury.
Therefore, to adopt the reasoning of defendant would render the provisions of Rule 59(b) of no value.
It seems that if Hessler is to have application, it can only apply where the parties have available to them the ability to select a trial before a jury or a trial before the Court.
In Hessler the parties elected to proceed to a trial in the Superior sitting without a jury.
Thereafter, the Court issued a letter opinion.
The Supreme Court when addressing the issue of timeliness of a motion to reconsider where the court sat without a jury, concluded that the proper method of review was a motion for reargument under Rule 59(e).
In these proceedings defendant seeks review not of legal conclusions, but he argues that the Court failed to adequately evaluate the evidence presented during trial.
In essence, he is seeking a factual reevaluation of the evidence as opposed to a legal conclusion reached by the Court on a point of law.
Therefore, I conclude that while in the Superior Court the proper method of review would be under Rule 59(e) that conclusion does not necessarily follow in this Court because of the statutory limitation of trial-by-jury in civil matters.
To conclude otherwise would be to render Rule 59(b) surplus and no effect, because there would not be an occasion when the Court would have a motion for a new trial.
Accordingly, I find plaintiff's motion timely.
Turning to the merits of plaintiff's motion.
In seeking a new trial, plaintiff ostensibly reargues the evidence heard by the Court on July 30, 2001.
He alleges that based upon a conversation he had with representatives of Colonial Insurance, he was given an opportunity to make good on the dishonored check, and their action in canceling his policy in the interim is evidence of bad faith.
He further argues that the decision of the Court reflects a bias.
Plaintiff finally argues that he had an agreement with Colonial Insurance Company which gave him until June 22, 1996 to either postmark or have them receive the money order replacing the dishonored check.
The arguments set forth in his motion for a new trial were heard and considered by the Court in the evaluation of the evidence during trial.
Plaintiff does not raise or set forth any new evidence nor any other basis for the Court to revisit the conclusion reached after trial on the merits.
Accordingly, plaintiff's motion for a new trial is hereby denied.