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Newtechbio Inc. v. Septicleanse, Inc.

United States District Court, D. New Jersey

June 26, 2015

SEPTICLEANSE, INC., et al., Defendants.



Presently before the Court is Plaintiff Newtechbio, Inc.'s (hereinafter, "Newtechbio") motion for reconsideration of the Court's Order entered November 24, 2014 denying its motion seeking permission to file its proposed Second Amended Verified Complaint. Defendants Septicleanse, Inc., Bradley A. Markin, Robert A. Markin, Sabrina Garcia Markin, Lori Beth Kaplan Multz, Jorge Rodriguez and Sabrigl (collectively, "Septicleanse") oppose Newtechbio's motion for reconsideration and cross move for sanctions. The Court has reviewed all arguments raised in support of and in opposition to Newtechbio's motion, including those raised in conjunction with the cross motion. The Court considers both motions without oral argument pursuant to L.Civ.R. 78.1(b). For the reasons stated more fully below, the motions are DENIED.

I. Background

The Court and the parties are very familiar with the facts underlying this matter. As such, the Court shall neither restate the facts of this case nor repeat the arguments made in support of and in opposition to Newtechbio or Septicleanse's motions at length. On September 19, 2012, Newtechbio filed a Verified Complaint seeking injunctive relief and damages in the United States District Court of New Jersey. On October 12, 2012, the Court issued an Order compelling SeptiCleanse to show cause as to why it should not be enjoined from operating websites that purport to review Newtechbio's septic chemicals or promote septic market chemicals. Subsequently, on November 16, 2012, SeptiCleanse filed a motion to dismiss the Complaint for lack of personal jurisdiction and in opposition to the Order to show cause.

On November 29, 2012, the parties appeared before the District Court for oral argument. During oral argument, the Court entertained the motion to dismiss first, as it was the threshold issue on the Order to Show Cause. Following SeptiCleanse's argument and a short recess, the Court dismissed the Individual Defendants from the case for lack of personal jurisdiction in New Jersey. Subsequently, the Court ordered limited jurisdictional discovery only as to SeptiCleanse's contacts in New Jersey. Despite this ruling, on December 4, 2012, Newtechbio filed an Amended Complaint. The Amended Complaint redefined the alleged RICO Enterprise to include SeptiCleanse and added jurisdictional allegations against the Individual Defendants, including four additional counts against Defendant Markin. ( See Amended Complaint at ΒΆ88-128). On January 14, 2013, the Court struck Plaintiff's Amended Complaint.

On July 31, 2013, Newtechbio filed a motion for leave to amend its Complaint and provided a proposed Second Amended Complaint. SeptiCleanse opposed the motion. By Letter Order dated February 19, 2014, the Court denied Newtechbio's motion without prejudice and required it to file a RICO Case Management Statement by March 21, 2014. Newtechbio filed its RICO Case Management Statement on March 20, 2014.

Thereafter, on April 3, 2014, the Court reinstated Plaintiff's motion for leave to file a Second Amended Complaint. On November 24, 2014, the Court issued a Memorandum Opinion and Order denying Plaintiff's motion to amend. In doing so, the Court determined that Newtechbio could not meet the requisite distinctiveness factor of an association-in-fact enterprise under RICO, despite Newtechbio's arguments that Ms. Garcia's duties and the involvement of the search engine operators supported its distinction theory. On December 4, 2014, Newtechbio moved to reconsider the Court's decision. Septicleanse opposed Newtechbio's motion and cross moved for sanctions.

III. Analysis

A. Motion for Reconsideration

In this district, motions for reconsideration are governed by L.Civ.R. 7.1(i) and are considered "extremely limited procedural vehicle(s)." Resorts Int'l v. Greate Bay Hotel & Casino, 830 F.Supp. 826, 831 (D.N.J. 1992). As a result, "reconsideration is an extraordinary remedy, that is granted very sparingly[.]'" Brackett v. Ashcroft, No. Civ. 03-3988 (WJM), 2003 WL 22303078, *2 (D.N.J. Oct. 7, 2003) (quoting Interfaith Community Org. v. Honeywell Int'l, Inc., 215 F.Supp.2d 482, 507 (D.N.J. 2002). As such, a party seeking reconsideration bears a high burden and must demonstrate one of the following three grounds to establish that reconsideration is appropriate: "(1) an intervening change in the controlling law; (2) the availability of new evidence that was not available when the court [issued its order]; or (3) the need to correct a clear error of law or fact or to prevent manifest injustice." Max's Seafood Cafe v. Quinteros, 176 F.3d 669, 677 (3d Cir. 1999).

L.Civ.R. 7.1(i) provides that:

Unless otherwise provided by statute or rule..., a motion for reconsideration shall be served and filed within 14 days after the entry of the order or judgment on the original motion by the Judge or Magistrate Judge. A brief setting forth concisely the matter or controlling decisions which the party believes the Judge or Magistrate Judge has overlooked shall be filed with the Notice of Motion.

As is clear from the text of the Rule, the term "overlook" is the dominant term in L.Civ.R. 7.1(i). Indeed, generally, the Rule "does not contemplate a Court looking to matters which were not originally presented." Florham Park Chevron, Inc. v. Chevron U.S.A., Inc., 680 F.Supp. 159, 162 (D.N.J. 1988). Consequently, "except in cases where there is a need to correct a clear error or manifest injustice, [o]nly dispositive factual matters and controlling decisions of law which were presented to the court but not considered on the original motion my be the subject of a motion for reconsideration.'" Guinta v. Accenture, LLP, Civ. No. 08-3776 (DRD), 2009 WL 301920, *5 (D.N.J. Jan. 23, 2009) (quoting Resorts Int'l, 830 F.Supp. at 831).

Here, Newtechbio seeks reconsideration of the Court's decision, entered November 24, 2014, denying its motion to amend. Newtechbio maintains the Court did not consider two of its arguments (the first involving Ms. Garcia and the second involving certain search engine operators), either of which, if accepted by the Court, could establish the distinctiveness requirement of the RICO statute and the viability of the Second Amended Verified Complaint. Surprisingly, in its opening brief, Newtechbio makes no mention of the stringent standards governing motions ...

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