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Ameriprise Financial Services, Inc v. Paul Koenig

March 1, 2012

AMERIPRISE FINANCIAL SERVICES, INC., PLAINTIFF,
v.
PAUL KOENIG, DEFENDANT.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Hillman, District Judge

OPINION

Before the Court is defendant's motion for reconsideration of the Court's Order dated February 6, 2012, granting in part and denying in part plaintiff's motion for injunctive relief. For reasons explained below, defendant's motion for reconsideration will be denied.

I. BACKGROUND

The factual background was set forth in the Court's previous Opinion and will not be repeated here, except in pertinent part. See Ameriprise Financial Services, Inc. v. Koenig, No. 11--6140, 2012 WL 379940 (D.N.J. Feb. 6, 2012).

Defendant Paul Koenig seeks reconsideration of the Court's Order entered February 6, 2012, granting Ameriprise Financial Services Inc.'s ("Ameriprise") motion for injunctive relief. See id. The Court granted Ameriprise injunctive relief with regard to its breach of contract claim and ordered Koenig, and any in concert with him, to, inter alia,: 1) return all Ameriprise's corporate, client, confidential, and proprietary information in excess of that permitted by the Protocol, including but not limited to, all documents in original, copied, computerized or any other form; and 2) purge, delete or remove all of Ameriprise's corporate, client, confidential, and proprietary information in excess of that permitted by the Protocol contained in any computer, hardware, database, storage device or files in his possession. See id. at *10.

Koenig asks that the Court delete the section of its Order requiring him to return the confidential information to Ameriprise on grounds that it would result in compulsory self-incrimination in violation of the Fifth Amendment. Koenig states that Ameriprise filed a "Statement of Claim" with the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority ("FINRA") claiming that he violated the Federal Computer Fraud and Abuse Act ("CFAA"), 18 U.S.C. § 1030. The CFAA criminalizes certain computer-fraud crimes and also creates a civil cause of action.*fn1 See Pulte Homes, Inc. v. Laborers' Intern. Union of North America, 648 F.3d 295, 299 (6th Cir. 2011). Koenig argues that by requiring him to "self-determine" what records are not lawfully in his possession, if any, the Order may violate his Fifth Amendment rights against self-incrimination and, therefore, seeks reconsideration of this Court's Order.

II. DISCUSSION

A. Standard for Motion for Reconsideration

In seeking reconsideration, the moving party bears a heavy burden and the motion can only be granted if the party "shows at least one of the following grounds: (1) an intervening change in the controlling law; (2) the availability of new evidence that was not available when the court granted the motion for summary judgment; or (3) the need to correct a clear error of law or fact or to prevent manifest injustice." Max's Seafood Cafe ex rel. Lou--Ann, Inc. v. Quinteros, 176 F.3d 669, 677 (3d Cir. 1999).

Reconsideration is not appropriate where the motion only raises a party's disagreement with the Court's initial decision. Florham Park Chevron, Inc. v. Chevron U.S.A., Inc., 680 F.Supp. 159, 163 (D.N.J.1988); see also Schiano v. MBNA Corp., No. 05--CV--1771, 2006 WL 3831225, *2 (D.N.J. Dec. 28, 2006) ("Mere disagreement with the Court will not suffice to show that the Court overlooked relevant facts or controlling law, ..., and should be dealt with through the normal appellate process[.]") (citations omitted); United States v. Compaction Sys. Corp., 88 F.Supp.2d 339, 345 (D.N.J.1999) ("Mere disagreement with a court's decision normally should be raised through the appellate process and is inappropriate on a motion for [reconsideration]."). Accordingly, "courts in this District routinely deny motions for reconsideration that simply re-argue the original motion." Altana Pharma AG v. Teva Pharm. USA, Inc., No. 04--2355, 2009 WL 5818836, at *1 (D.N.J. Dec. 1, 2009).

Koenig argues that reconsideration of the Court's Order is appropriate on grounds that compliance with the Court's Order will violate his Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination.

B. Fifth Amendment

The self-incrimination clause of the Fifth Amendment reads: "No person ... shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself." Doe v. U.S., 487 U.S. 201, 207, 108 S.Ct. 2341, 2346 (1988). "As the Court has often held, the Fifth Amendment 'not only protects the individual against being involuntarily called as a witness against himself in a criminal prosecution but also privileges him not to answer official questions put to him in any other proceeding, civil or criminal, formal or informal, where the answers might incriminate him in future criminal proceedings.'" Baxter v. Palmigiano, 425 U.S. 308, 316, 96 S.Ct. 1551, 47 L.Ed.2d 810 (1976).

The Fifth Amendment does not, however, permit a party to assert a "blanket privilege." National Life Ins. Co. v. Hartford Acc. and Indem. Co., 615 F.2d 595, 596 (3d Cir. 1980) (holding that a witness may not invoke a blanket Fifth Amendment privilege prior to the answering of any questions). "The fifth amendment shields against compelled ...


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