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Dando v. Bimbo Food Bakeries Distribution, LLC

United States District Court, D. New Jersey

July 5, 2017

ROBERT DANDO, Plaintiff,
v.
BIMBO FOOD BAKERIES DISTRIBUTION, LLC, et al., Defendants

          Terance J. Bennett, Esq. Counsel for Plaintiff

          Morgan, Lewis & Bockius LLP, Michael J. Puma, Esq. (pro hac vice) Courtney Wirth Griffin, Esq. Counsel for Defendants

          OPINION

          NOEL L. HILLMAN, U.S.D.J.

         Presently before the Court is Defendants' Motion for Reconsideration of the Court's April 10, 2017 Order granting in part and denying in part Defendants' Motion to Dismiss the Amended Complaint.

         For the reasons set forth below, the Motion for Reconsideration will be granted in part and denied as moot in part.

         I. RELEVANT FACTUAL BACKGROUND AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY

         On April 10, 2017, the Court partially granted and partially denied Defendants' Motion to Dismiss the Amended Complaint, dismissing all of the tort counts of the Amended Complaint, with prejudice, as barred by the economic loss doctrine. Dando v. Bimbo Food Bakeries Distribution, LLC., , 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 54327 at *5 (D.N.J. April 10, 2017). Accordingly, the following claims remain at this time: breach of the covenant of good faith and fair dealing (Count I), unjust enrichment (Count III), and breach of contract (Count V). That portion of the Court's decision is not implicated by the instant motion. Defendants seek reconsideration of the Court's ruling as to damages, asserting that the Court did not completely address their arguments concerning certain types of damages.

The relevant portion of the previous opinion states, The Amended Complaint demands ‘compensatory damages . . ., consequential damages, punitive damages, and exemplary damages of treble the amount of actual damages.' (Amend. Compl. ¶¶ 31, 41, 54, and 62) Defendants move to strike all but the demand for compensatory damages arguing that the Distribution Agreement precludes such damages.
The Distribution Agreement provides in Section 11.12, ‘DAMAGES: Notwithstanding anything to the contrary contained in this Agreement, in no event shall either party be liable to the other for any consequential, incidental, indirect or special damages, including lost profits and punitive damages.' In opposition, Plaintiff argues that punitive damages must be allowed because any contract language to the contrary is void as against public policy.
The Court concludes that this issue has been mooted by the Court's dismissal of all the tort claims contained in the Amended Complaint. As a matter of law, punitive damages are not recoverable in contract. Thomas v. Nova Southeastern Univ., 468 Fed.Appx. 98, 100 (3d Cir. 2012)(citing Lightning Lube, Inc. v. Witco Corp., 4 F.3d 1153, 1194 (3d Cir. 1993)).
Compensatory damages are the prevailing measure of damages in contract actions, see generally Perini Corp. v. Greate Bay Hotel & Casino, Inc., 129 N.J. 479, 497-98, 610 A.2d 364 (1992), absent specific contract language to the contrary. Obviously no such language exists in the Distribution Agreement at issue.

Id. at *10-11.

         II. LEGAL STANDARD

         In this District, Local Civil Rule 7.1(i) governs motions for reconsideration. Local Civil Rule 7.1(i) will apply rather than Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 59 where no final judgment has been entered pursuant to Rule 54(b), but only a partial grant or denial of summary judgment. See Warner v. Twp. of S. Harrison, 885 F.Supp.2d 725, 747-48 (D.N.J. 2012). ...


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