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Mintz v. Dietz & Waston

November 9, 2010

NEIL MINTZ, ET AL., PLAINTIFFS,
v.
DIETZ & WASTON, INC., ET AL., DEFENDANTS.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: M. James Lorenz United States District Court Judge

ORDER DENYING PLANTIFFS' MOTION FOR RECONSIDERATION [doc. #231]

Relying on Federal Rules of Civil Procedure 59(e) and 60(b), plaintiffs seek reconsideration of the Court's March 30, 2010 Order that granted defendant's motion for summary judgment re: invalidity based on obviousness, denied plaintiffs' motion for summary judgment re: infringement and denied plaintiff's motion re: invalidity based on obviousness. [doc. #227].

1. Legal Standard

Reconsideration under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 59(e) is appropriate "if the district court (1) is presented with newly discovered evidence, (2) committed clear error or the initial decision was manifestly unjust, or (3) if there is an intervening change in the controlling law." School Dist. No. 1J, Multnomah County, Oregon v. ACandS, Inc., 5 F.3d 1255, 1263 (9th Cir. 1993). A Rule 59(e) motion "should not be granted absent highly unusual circumstances." 389 Orange St. Partners v. Arnold, 179 F.3d 656, 665 (9th Cir. 1999). A motion to reconsider is not another opportunity for the losing party to make its strongest case, reassert arguments, or revamp previously unmeritorious arguments. Reconsideration motions do not give parties a "second bite at the apple." Neither are they devices permitting the unsuccessful party to "rehash" arguments previously presented.

Motions to reconsider are not justified on the basis of new evidence which could have been discovered prior to the court's ruling. Finally, "'after thoughts' or 'shifting of ground' do not constitute an appropriate basis for reconsideration." United States v. Navarro, 972 F. Supp. 1296, 1299 (E.D. Cal. 1999), rev'd on other grounds , 160 F.3d 1254 (9th Cir. 1998) (internal citations omitted); accord United States v. Westlands Water Dist., 134 F. Supp. 2d 1111, 1130 (E.D. Cal. 2001); see also Backlund v. Barnhart, 778 F.2d 1386, 1388 (9th Cir. 1985) (holding that a motion for reconsideration under Rule 59(e) was properly denied because "it presented no arguments that had not already been raised in opposition to summary judgment"); Costello v. United States Gov't, 765 F. Supp. 1003, 1009 (C.D. Cal. 1991) ("courts avoid considering Rule 59(e) motions where the grounds for amendment are restricted to either repetitive contentions of matters which were before the court on its prior consideration or contentions which might have been raised prior to the challenged judgment"). This rule reflects the courts' "concern[] for preserving dwindling resources and promoting judicial efficiency." Costello, 765 F. Supp. at Rule 60(b) provides the following grounds for relief from a final judgment or order:

(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);

(3) fraud (whether previously called intrinsic or extrinsic), misrepresentation, or misconduct by an opposing party;

(4) the judgment is void;

(5) the judgment has been satisfied, released or discharged; it is based on an earlier judgment that has been reversed or vacated; or applying it prospectively is no longer equitable; or

(6) any other reason that justifies relief.

Plaintiffs rely on subsections 2 and 6.

"[C]lause (6) acts as a catch-all allowing the court to grant relief for 'any other reason justifying relief from the operation of the judgment.'" Hamilton v. Newland, 374 F.3d 822, 825 (9th Cir. 2004), quoting Fed. R. Civ. P. 60(b)(6). This provision has been "used sparingly and as an equitable remedy to prevent manifest injustice." Id. (internal quotation marks and citation omitted). A party is entitled to relief ...


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