Motion for Reconsideration In Rhode Island
The Rhode Island Rules of Civil Procedure, like the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, generally do not recognize or provide for a motion for reconsideration.
See generally, Hatfield v. Bd. of Cty. Comm'rs for Converse Cty., 52 F.3d 858 (10th Cir. 1995).
Our Supreme Court, in noting its governance by the "liberal rules" of civil procedure, has "looked to substance not labels." Sarni v. Melocarro, 113 R.I. 630, 636, 324 A.2d. 648, 651-52 (1974).
Consequently, "a motion can be construed as made under Rule 60(b) even if it is styled 'Motion to Reconsider. . . .'" James Wm. Moore et al., Moore's Federal Practice 1997 Rules Pamphlet P60.2 (9)(1996).
Rule 60(b) does not "constitute a vehicle for the motion judge to reconsider the previous judgments in light of later-discovered legal authority that could have and should have been presented to the court before the original judgment entered." Jackson v. Medical Coaches, 734 A.2d 502, 505 (R.I. 1999).
With respect to vacating final judgments, the mistakes encompassed by R.C.P. 60(b)(1) do not include judicial errors of law. See Jackson, 734 A.2d at 507. Rule 60(b)(1) is also "not available to allow a party merely to reargue an issue previously addressed by the court when the reargument merely advances new arguments or supporting facts which were available for presentation at the time of the original argument." Cashner v. Freedom Stores, Inc., 98 F.3d 572, 577 (10th Cir. 1996).
Thus, Rule 60(b) does not authorize "'a motion merely for reconsideration of a legal issue . . . where the motion is nothing more than a request that the [trial] court change its mind.'" Jackson, 734 A.2d at 508 n.8 (citing United States v. Williams, 674 F.2d 310, 312-13 (4th Cir. 1982)).
In Jackson, our Supreme Court recognized that reconsideration of a previous legal error under Rule 60(b) is allowable "only in situations in which 'the mistake was clear on the record, and involved a plain misconstruction of the statute on which the action was grounded.'" 734 A.2d at 507 (quoting Alvestad v. Monsanto Co., 671 F.2d 908, 912 (5th Cir 1982)).
Rule 60(b), however, is applicable in situations involving relief from a final judgment, order or proceeding. Super. R. Civ. P. 60(b). the finality contemplated by the rule "envisions an order that definitely terminates the litigation and leaves nothing more for the court to decide." Murphy v. Bocchio, 114 R.I. 679, 683, 338 A.2d 519, 523 (1975).