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Anthony Z. Emmanouil, et al v. Vincent v. Roggio

April 4, 2011

ANTHONY Z. EMMANOUIL, ET AL., PLAINTIFFS,
v.
VINCENT V. ROGGIO, ET AL., DEFENDANTS.
VINCENT ROGGIO, PLAINTIFF,
v.
ANTHONY Z. EMMANOUIL, ET AL., DEFENDANTS.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Brown, Chief Judge

NOT FOR PUBLICATION

MEMORANDUM OPINION

This memorandum opinion addresses the parties' following post-trial filings in Civ. No. 06-1068 (hereinafter the "'06 Case"): (1) the motion of Anthony Z. Emmanouil, Eugenia Emmanouil, and West Belt Auto Supply, Inc. ("West Belt") (hereinafter collectively the "Emmanouils") for attorney's fees and costs, as well as prejudgment interest (Doc. No. 248); and (2) the motion of Vincent Roggio ("Roggio") for judgment as a matter of law or a new trial, and a stay of judgment execution (Doc. No. 302).*fn1 This memorandum opinion also addresses the complaint filed by Roggio against the Emmanouils on October 13, 2010, in the Southern District of Texas, Houston Division, that was transferred to this Court on March 2, 2011, and gives rise to Civ. No. 11-1171 (GEB) (hereinafter the "'11 Case"). The Court has considered the parties' various submissions without oral argument pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 78. Having done so, and for the following reasons: (1) Roggio's motion for a directed verdict or a new trial, and a stay of judgment execution will be denied (Doc. No. 302); (2) the Emmanouils' motion for attorney's fees and costs, as well as prejudgment interest, will be granted (Doc. No. 248); and (3) the Court will sua sponte dismiss Roggio's complaint in the '11 Case with prejudice, and order the '11 Case closed. (11-1171: Doc. No. 1)

I. BACKGROUND

On September 3, 2010, after more than four years of contentious litigation that culminated in a two-week trial, the jury found by a preponderance of the credible evidence presented that: (1) Roggio breached his fiduciary duty to the Emmanouils; (2) Roggio breached his contract with Anthony Emmanouil for the sale of West Belt; (3) Roggio breached his mortgage contract with Anthony Emmanouil under which Roggio was to repay $850,000; (4) Roggio was unjustly enriched by his retention of the Emmanouils' money; and (5) Roggio failed to prove any of his various counterclaims against the Emmanouils. (Jury Verdict Sheet: Doc. No. 274) As a remedy, the jury awarded the Emmanouils $1,222,311 in compensatory damages. (Id.) The Court entered the parties' stipulated form of judgment against Roggio on September 30, 2011. (Doc. No. 293)

The jury's verdict and the Court's judgment, however, did not conclude this matter in this Court. On September 10, 2011, the Emmanouil's filed a motion for attorney's fees and costs based upon a clause in the mortgage note at issue, and for prejudgment interest. (Doc. No. 248) Roggio opposed that motion, and in addition, filed a motion that seeks either a directed verdict or a new trial, and a stay of judgment execution. (Docs. No. 300, 302) The Emmanouils oppose that motion. (Doc. No. 310) Finally, on March 2, 2011, the Clerk of the Court opened the '11 Case to facilitate the transfer of the case Roggio initiated on October 13, 2010, in the Southern District of Texas, Houston Division, when he filed a new complaint (the "'11 Complaint") against the Emmanouils in that court. (11-1171: Doc. No. 1) The '11 Complaint, which was filed more than a month after the jury's September 3, 2010 verdict in the '06 Case, appears to arise out of the same set of transactions and occurrences that have been litigated in the '06 Case for more than half a decade. (Id.) On March 14, 2010, the Court received a letter from Roggio's counsel that suggested, among other things, that the Court consolidate the '11 Case into the '06 Case. (Doc. No. 321) Finally, on March 31, 2011, the Emmanouils' filed a motion to dismiss the '11 Case. (Doc. No. 32)

As noted, the Court has considered all of the parties' submissions related to the foregoing matters.

II. DISCUSSION

A. Roggio's Post-Trial Motion

In his October 29, 2010 post-trial motion, Roggio argues that he should be granted: (1) judgment as a matter of law pursuant to Fed. R. Civ. P. 50, or a new trial pursuant to Fed. R. Civ. P. 59; and (2) a stay of execution of the Court's September 30, 2010 judgmentpursuant to Fed. R. Civ. P. 62. (Doc. No. 302). The Court disagrees.

First, having presided over the two-week trial in this case, the Court expresses at the outset its decided view that the jury's September 3, 2010 verdict was correct, equitable, and completely supported by the evidence presented. Thus, the Court discerns no plausible grounds upon which Roggio can seek relief pursuant to Fed. R. Civ. P. 50 or 59. That established, the Court will address each of Roggio's specific arguments for relief, and explain why none have merit.

In support of his motion pursuant to Fed. R. Civ. P. 50 and/or 59, Roggio appears to make two arguments: (1) that a directed verdict/new trial is necessary because of allegedly privileged information disclosed at trial; and (2) that West Belt was misaligned. First, as to Roggio's privilege-based arguments, the Court concludes that these are a transparent and improper attempt to re-litigate an issue that the Court has long-since decided. On July 7, 2010, the Court granted the Emmanouils' motion in limine to allow the testimony of Zachary Emmanouil at trial. In doing so, the Court stated the following on the record:

[W]e have a motion seeking to permit Zachary to testify at trial. And in support of that motion, the Emmanouils argue Zachary's testimony is relevant and admissible on not less than eight separate grounds. Roggio opposes that motion, [and] argues that Zachary's testimony should be precluded as privileged attorney/client communication.

Of the Emmanouils' basic arguments in support of the motion, they start with the assertion that Roggio has squarely placed his relevant communications with Zachary at issue in this case. The merit of that argument is not reasonably disputable. A review of Roggio's complaint, let alone the myriad briefs, certifications and exhibits submitted by Roggio during the years of motion practice in this case, clearly indicate that Roggio's dealings with Zachary are central, [and] at issue ...


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