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Star Pacific Corp v. Star Atlantic Corp.

March 30, 2012

STAR PACIFIC CORP., PLAINTIFF,
v.
STAR ATLANTIC CORP., A NEW JERSEY CORPORATION, STAR ATLANTIC CORP., A FLORIDA CORPORATION, QI LU, YAFEI ZHAO A/K/A ALFRED ZHAO, ZHENG LI A/K/A MICHAEL LI, JOHN DOE #1-10, JANE DOE 1-10, AND XYZ CORPORATION #1- 10, DEFENDANTS.



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

OPINION

Before the Court is Defendant Qi Lu's ("Defendant" or "Lu") Motion for Relief pursuant to Fed. R. Civ. P. 59(e) and 60(b)(6) ("Motion"). This Motion is decided without oral argument pursuant to Fed. R. Civ. P. 78. For the reasons discussed below, this Court denies Defendant's Motion.

FACTUAL*fn1 AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY

On October 8, 2008, Plaintiff Star Pacific Corporation ("Plaintiff" or "SPC") initiated this action alleging copyright infringement in violation of 17 U.S.C. § 501 (Count I), trade dress infringement in violation of 15 U.S.C. § 1125(a) (Count II), unfair competition in violation of 15 U.S.C. § 1125(a) (Count III) and unfair competition in violation of N.J. Stat. Ann. § 56:4-1 et seq. (Count IV) against Lu, individually and as an agent for Star Atlantic Corporation, New Jersey ("SAC-NJ"), and other defendants. (Am. Compl. ¶¶ 75-112).

On March 11, 2010, this Court entered default judgment against the other defendants in this action: SAC-NJ, Star Atlantic Corporation, a Florida corporation ("SAC-FL") and Yafei Zhao a/k/a Alfred Zhao ("Zhao"), jointly and severally, in the amount of $4,547,605.38. (Docket Entry No. 147). Furthermore, this Court entered a permanent injunction in favor of SPC. (Id.) Subsequently, on August 23, 2010, Plaintiff settled and filed a Stipulation of Dismissal as to defendants Ocean Textile Corporation and Zheng Li a/k/a Michael Li. (Docket Entry No. 169). As a result, these defendants are no longer parties to this action. The only remaining named defendant is Lu.

On January 14, 2011, Plaintiff filed a motion for summary judgment, which Lu opposed. On June 10, 2011, this Court granted Plaintiff's motion for summary judgment on its copyright infringement claim against Lu. Additionally, this Court dismissed Lu's counterclaim seeking a declaration that SAC-NJ had a valid licensing agreement "to use, manufacture, resale [sic], distribute, import and export any" of SPC's "copyrighted and non-copyrighted patterns, designs, drawings, product names and design numbers." (Defs.' Countercl. ¶ 11.) Consequently, on August 5, 2011, SPC filed a motion for entry of judgment pursuant to Fed. R. Civ. P. 54(b). (Docket Entry No. 204). Plaintiff requested that the Court hold Lu jointly and severally liable with SAC-NJ, SAC-FL and Zhao for the default judgment award of $4,547,605.38. (Id.) Defendant did not file any opposition to Plaintiff's motion. This Court granted SPC's motion on September 13, 2011. (Docket Entry No. 209). On October 13, 2011, Defendant filed the present motion.

LEGAL STANDARD

1. Rule 59(e)

Rule 59(e) provides that a party may file "[a] motion to alter or amend a judgment . . . no later than 28 days after the entry of the judgment." Fed. R. Civ. P. 59(e). "[A] judgment may be altered or amended if the party seeking reconsideration 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). Lu is seeking relief under the third ground. To prevail under the third ground, the moving party must establish that "dispositive factual matters or controlling decisions of law were brought to the court's attention but not considered." P. Schoenfeld Asset Mgmt. LLC v. Cendant Corp., 161 F. Supp. 2d 349, 353 (D.N.J. 2001) (internal quotation marks and citations omitted). "The word 'overlooked' is the operative term in the Rule." Bowers v. Nat'l Collegiate Athletic Ass'n, 130 F. Supp. 2d 610, 612 (D.N.J. 2001). It is within the Court's discretion to grant a motion for reconsideration. De Long v. Raymond Int'l Inc., 622 F.2d 1135, 1140 (3d Cir. 1980), overruled on other grounds by Croker v. Boeing Co., 662 F.2d 975 (3d Cir. 1981).

However, the Third Circuit has noted that "[t]he standard for obtaining relief under Rule 59(e) is difficult for [the moving] party to meet." Johnson v. Diamond State Port Corp., 50 Fed. App'x 554, 559 (3d Cir. 2002). Furthermore, the motion "'is an extremely limited procedural vehicle' and may not be used to expand the record before the court." Bowers, 130 F. Supp. 2d at 613 (quoting Resorts Int'l, Inc. v. Greate Bay Hotel & Casino, 830 F. Supp. 826, 831 (D.N.J. 1992)). Additionally, a Rule 59 motion is "not a substitute for the appellate process." Bowers, 130 F. Supp. 2d at 613. Hence, "[a] party seeking reconsideration must show more than a disagreement with the Court's decision, and recapitulation of the cases and arguments considered by the court before rendering its original decision fails to carry the moving party's burden." G-69 v. Degnan, 748 F. Supp. 274, 275 (D.N.J. 1990); see also NL Indus., Inc. v. Commercial Union Ins. Co., 935 F. Supp. 513, 516 (D.N.J. 1996) ("Reconsideration motions . . . may not be used to relitigate old matters, or to raise arguments or present evidence that could have been raised prior to the entry of judgment."). Stated differently, "a motion for reconsideration should not provide the parties with an opportunity for a second bite at the apple." Tischio v. Bontex, Inc., 16 F. Supp. 2d 511, 532 (D.N.J. 1998) (internal quotation marks and citation omitted).

2. Rule 60

Rule 60(b) provides in relevant part:

On motion and just terms, the court may relieve a party or its legal representative from a final judgment, order, or proceeding for any of the following reasons: (1) mistake, inadvertence, surprise, or excusable neglect; (2) newly discovered evidence that, with reasonable diligence, could not have been discovered in time to move for a new trial under Rule 59(b); . . . or (6) any other reason that justifies relief.

Fed. R. Civ. P. 60(b). "The general purpose of Rule 60(b) . . . is to strike a proper balance between the conflicting principles that litigation must be brought to an end and that justice must be done." Boughner v. Sec'y of Health, Educ. & Welfare, 572 F.2d 976, 977 (3d Cir. 1978). Here, Lu is seeking relief under Rule 60(b)(6). According to the Third Circuit, a Rule 60(b)(6) motion "must be fully substantiated by adequate proof and its exceptional character must be clearly established." FDIC v. Alker, 234 F.2d 113, 117 (3d Cir. 1956). The court may grant relief under Rule 60(b)(6) "only in cases evidencing extraordinary circumstances," Stradley v. Cortez, 518 F.2d 488, 493 (3d ...


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