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Dalal v. Goldman Sachs & Co.

March 27, 2008

SANDEEP DALAL, PLAINTIFF,
v.
GOLDMAN SACHS & CO., DEFENDANT.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Emmet G. Sullivan United States District Judge

MEMORANDUM OPINION

Pro se plaintiff Sandeep Delal brings this case to challenge an arbitration award arising out of a contract dispute between himself and defendant Goldman, Sachs & Co. ("Goldman, Sachs"). Currently pending before the Court are defendant's motion to dismiss the complaint and plaintiff's motion for reconsideration of the Court's May 7, 2008 order. Upon consideration of the motions, the responses and replies thereto, the applicable law, the entire record, and for the reasons stated herein, defendant's motion to dismiss the complaint is GRANTED and plaintiff's motion for reconsideration is DENIED.

I. BACKGROUND

Plaintiff is a former employee of Goldman, Sachs who left the firm in August 1999. In October 2004, plaintiff filed a Statement of Claim against Goldman, Sachs with the New York Stock Exchange ("NYSE"), claiming that he was contractually owed additional compensation. The matter was arbitrated over four days in November 2005 before a panel of NYSE arbitrators in Washington, D.C. On November 25, 2005, the panel issued its decision awarding plaintiff $25,000. The parties were informed of the decision on December 7, 2005, and a revised version of the award was issued on January 20, 2006. On February 8, 2006, plaintiff submitted to the NYSE a "Request for Modification of the Award," to which defendant responded on February 22, 2006. On March 9, 2006, the parties were notified that the panel had denied the request for modification.

Plaintiff filed his complaint in this Court on June 8, 2006, seeking modification of the arbitration award for various reasons and alleging that the defendant was directly liable under theories of quantum meruit and unjust enrichment.*fn1 On October 23, 2006, defendant filed its motion to dismiss the complaint arguing that plaintiff's claims under the Federal Arbitration Act ("FAA") were time-barred and that any other claims should be dismissed for lack of service.

On December 7, 2006, plaintiff filed his motion for summary judgment arguing that as a matter of law, he was entitled to a modification of the arbitration award under District of Columbia Code section 16 and the common law, and that he was entitled to damages based on his quantum meruit and unjust enrichment claims.

On May 7, 2007, the Court issued an opinion granting defendant's motion to dismiss the FAA claims because they were time-barred. For the non-FAA claims, unjust enrichment and quantum meruit, the Court afforded plaintiff an additional opportunity to perfect service of the complaint. Both defendant's motion to dismiss, with respect to the non-FAA claims, and plaintiff's motion for summary judgment were denied without prejudice.

On July 13, 2007, plaintiff filed an affidavit with the Court demonstrating that he had properly served the complaint, and also filed a motion for reconsideration of the Court's May 7, 2007 opinion.*fn2 On July 24, 2007, the defendant filed the motion to dismiss presently before the Court arguing that plaintiff's non-FAA claims are barred by the doctrine of res judicata, and alternatively, are time-barred.

II. STANDARD OF REVIEW

Rule 12(b)(6) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure provides for dismissal of a complaint where the plaintiff fails "to state a claim upon which relief may be granted." Fed. R. Civ. P. 12(b)(6). As a general matter, the Federal Rules require only that a plaintiff provide "a short and plain statement of the claim that will give the defendant fair notice of what the plaintiff's claim is and the grounds upon which it rests." See Erickson v. Pardus, 127 S.Ct. 2197, 2200 (2007) (citing Fed. R. Civ. Pro. 8(a)(2)). The court "must accept as true all of the factual allegations contained in the complaint." See Kassem v. Wash. Hosp. Ctr., 513 F.3d 251, 253 (D.C. Cir. 2008) (quoting Erickson, 127 S.Ct. at 2200). See also Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 127 S.Ct. 1955, 1965 (2007); Brown v. Dist. of Columbia, 514 F.3d 1279, 1281 (D.C. Cir. 2008). The complaint is construed liberally in the plaintiffs' favor, "with the benefit of all reasonable inferences alleged," In re Sealed Case, 494 F.3d 139, 145 (D.C. Cir. 2007), but the court need not accept inferences unsupported by facts in the complaint, nor must the court accept plaintiffs' legal conclusions. Kowal v. MCI Commc'n Corp., 16 F.3d 1271, 1276 (D.C. Cir. 1994). "Moreover, consistent with the leniency afforded pro se plaintiffs, the Court must make a concerted effort to discern a cause of action from the record presented if an action is in fact discernable." Howerton v. Ogletree, 466 F. Supp. 2d 182, 183 (D.D.C. 2006).

III. ANALYSIS

A. Plaintiff's Motion for Reconsideration

A district court may revise its own interlocutory rulings "at any time before the entry of judgment adjudicating all the claims and the rights and liabilities of all the parties." Fed. R. Civ. P. 54(b). The standard of review for interlocutory orders differs from the standard of review for final judgments under Federal Rules of Civil Procedure 59(e) and 60. See, e.g., Campbell v. United States DOJ, 231 F. Supp. 2d 1, 7 (D.D.C. 2002) (citing cases). The Court may reconsider any interlocutory judgment "as justice requires." Childers v. Slater, 197 F.R.D. 185, 190 (D.D.C. 2000).

On May 7, 2007, the Court issued an opinion granting in part defendant's motion to dismiss, and denying without prejudice plaintiff's motion for summary judgment. Specifically, the Court granted defendant's motion to dismiss with respect to the claims brought under the FAA because they were time-barred. ...


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