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Olaes Enterprises, Inc. v. Richard Trading

July 23, 2008

OLAES ENTERPRISES, INC., A CALIFORNIA CORPORATION, PLAINTIFF,
v.
RICHARD TRADING, INC., A CALIFORNIA CORPORATION, DEFENDANT.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Hayes, Judge

ORDER DENYING PLAINTIFF'S MOTION FOR RECONSIDERATION

Pending before the Court is Plaintiff's motion for reconsideration of this Court's Order of January 15, 2008. (Doc. # 11).

BACKGROUND

On May 21, 2007, Plaintiff Olaes Enterprises, Inc. filed the Complaint in this matter against Defendant Richard Trading, Inc. (Doc. # 1). The Complaint alleged that Defendant willfully infringed at least six of Plaintiff's copyrighted graphic designs. (Doc. # 1). On or about June 1, 2007, Plaintiff served Defendant with a summons and the Complaint. (Docs. # 3, 4). On September 17, 2007, and after Defendant failed to respond to the Complaint within the time period allowed by FED. R. CIV. P. 12, Plaintiff requested that the Clerk of the Court enter default against Defendant. (Doc. # 5). On September 28, 2007, the Clerk of the Court entered default against Defendant. (Doc. # 7). On November 1, 2007, Plaintiff moved for default judgment. (Doc. # 8).

On January 15, 2008, the Court issued an Order granting Plaintiff's motion for default judgment. (Doc. # 11). The Court concluded that Plaintiff had established six instances of willful copyright infringement on the part of Defendant Richard Trading, and awarded Plaintiff statutory damages in the amount of $5,000 per instance. (Doc. # 11). In total, the Court awarded statutory damages in the amount of $30,000. (Doc. # 11). In addition to statutory damages, the Court awarded Plaintiff attorney fees in the amount of $6,138.33, and costs in the amount of $422.33. (Doc. # 11).

On April 10, 2008, Plaintiff filed the pending motion for reconsideration. (Doc. # 11).

STANDARD OF REVIEW

FED. R. CIV. P. 60(b)(6) provides that a court may provide a party with relief from judgment for any reason "that justifies relief." While FED. R. CIV. P. 60(b)(6) is often referred to as a "catch all," courts have interpreted the provision "stringently." Strobel v. Morgan Stanley, et al., 2007 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 26899, *8 (S.D. Cal. Apr. 9, 2007). The United States Supreme Court has noted that the rule should be applied only in "extraordinary circumstances," Liljeberg v. Health Services Acquisition Corp., 486 U.S. 847, 864 (1988), and the Court of Appeal for the Ninth Circuit has characterized the rule as "an equitable remedy" used to "prevent manifest injustice." Latshaw v. Trainer Wortham & Co., Inc., 452 F.3d 1097, 1103 (9th Cir. 2006).

United States District Court for the Southern District of California Local Civil Rule 7.1.i(1) permits a party to file a motion for reconsideration when "new or different facts and circumstances are claimed to exist which did not exist, or were not shown, upon such prior application." A motion for reconsideration pursuant to Local Civil Rule 7.1.i(1) must by filed within thirty (30) days of the entry of the challenged ruling or judgment. See Local Civil Rule 7.1.i(2); Stephen v. Cota, 2007 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 37222, *4 & fn. 1 (S.D. Cal. May 22, 2007).

DISCUSSION

Plaintiff filed the pending motion for reconsideration pursuant to FED. R. CIV. P. 60(b)(6) and Civil Local Rule 7.1.i(1). Plaintiff contends that the Court's previous award of statutory damages was too low considering the willful nature of Defendant's conduct. Plaintiff contends that the award will not serve to deter Defendant or other putative copyright infringers. In addition, Plaintiff characterizes the award of statutory damages as a windfall to Defendant considering Defendant's likely profits in selling Plaintiff's infringing works, and notes that the award is inconsistent with the large outlay in costs that Plaintiff expends to create viable and profitable copyrighted designs. Plaintiff asks the Court to vacate its previous statutory damages award of $30,000, and enter instead an award of between $180,000 and $900,000.

A. Motion for Reconsideration Pursuant to FED.R.CIV.P. 60(b)(6)

Plaintiff contends that this Court should reconsider its previous award of damages because the previous award is too low to serve as a deterrent, allows Defendant a windfall given Defendant's likely profits in selling Plaintiff's copyrighted designs, and does not compensate Plaintiff for losses Plaintiff has suffered in terms of revenue and potential good will. Plaintiff notes that Defendant's refusal to cooperate in this suit makes it difficult for Plaintiff to detail its damages.

To support its motion for reconsideration, Plaintiff includes declarations from Jay Kopelowitz and Alexander Papaefthimiou. Each declaration, particularly that of Mr. Kopelowitz, discusses reasons for increasing the award of statutory damages. In particular, the declaration of Kopelowitz notes the breadth of the copyright infringement problem in Los Angeles' garment district, and highlights the time, effort, and expense necessary to create profitable copyrighted designs. Kopelowitz identifies six other copyright infringement lawsuits which Plaintiff has filed in order to protect its copyrights, and notes that the Court's award of only $5,000 ...


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