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A court or administrative agency may engage in a rehearing as a subsequent hearing based on the motion or appeal of one of the parties to a lawsuit, petition, or criminal prosecution. Rehearings are usually requested due to newly discovered evidence, an unfortunate and possibly unintended result of the original order, a change of circumstance, or a claim that the judge or agency simply erred in their orders from the original hearing.

Currently, in federal court, Federal Rule of Civil Procedure Rule 59 governs the granting of a rehearing. While sparse on standards that a judge should consider when determining whether to grant a rehearing, the Notes of Advisory Committee on Rules–1937 points out that the rule is meant to incorporate previous considerations of whether to grant a rehearing in a court of equity. However, courts limit the granting of Rule 59 rehearings, and, as the Second Circuit in Sequa Corp. v. GBJ Corp. pointed out, “[i]t is well-settled that Rule 59 is not a vehicle for relitigating old issues, presenting the case under new theories, securing a rehearing on the merits, or otherwise taking a “second bite at the apple.”  

[Last updated in December of 2020 by the Wex Definitions Team]