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Brighton Collectibles, Inc. v. Rk Texas Leather Mfg.

United States District Court, S.D. California

October 24, 2014

BRIGHTON COLLECTIBLES, INC., Plaintiff,
v.
RK TEXAS LEATHER MFG.; K & L IMPORTS, INC.; et al., Defendants, and related cross claims.

ORDER DENYING DEFENDANT AIF'S MOTION TO AMEND OR ALTER JUDGMENT; AND DENYING DEFENDANT AIF'S MOTION FOR RECONSIDERATION [DKT. NO. 426, 427.]

GONZALO P. CURIEL, District Judge.

Before the Court is Defendant AIF's motion to amend or alter judgment pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure ("Rule") 59(e). (Dkt. No. 427.) AIF also filed a motion for reconsideration of the Court's order filed on May 27, 2014. (Dkt. No. 427.) An opposition was filed by Plaintiff on July 18, 2014. (Dkt. No. 440.) Replies were filed on August 1, 2014. (Dkt. No. 445, 446.) Based on the briefs, the supporting documents, and the applicable law, the Court DENIES Defendant AIF's motion to amend or alter judgment; and DENIES Defendant AIF's motion for reconsideration.

Background

On February 24, 2010, Plaintiff filed a copyright, trademark, and trade dress infringement complaint against numerous defendants. (Dkt. No. 1.) AIF was later added to the case, in February 2011, on Brighton's First Amended Complaint solely on copyright infringement. (Dkt. No. 51.)

Starting October 23, 2013, the Court held a five-day jury trial on Plaintiff's First Amended Complaint alleging copyright infringement against Defendant AIF. On October 30, 2013, the jury returned a special verdict in favor of Plaintiff and against Defendant AIF. (Dkt. No. 386.) Specifically, the jury found that AIF infringed upon valid copyrights owned by Brighton. (Id.) Out of 51 of AIF's designs, the jury found infringement for 39 of the designs encompassing 11 copyrights. (Id.) The jury also found that AIF did not engage in copyright infringement willfully. (Id.) For damages, the jury awarded Plaintiff $1, 000, 000 in lost profits and $1, 050, 000 in statutory damages. (Id.) On May 27, 2014, the Court denied Defendant AIF's motion for judgment as a matter of law, and in the alternative for a new trial. (Dkt. No. 417.) Based on this, Brighton elected the jury's lost profit damages award of $1, 000, 000.

On June 19, 2014, Plaintiff filed a request for entry of final judgment. (Dkt. No. 424.) On June 20, 2014, the Court entered judgment. (Dkt. No. 425.)

Discussion

A. AIF's Motion to Alter or Amend Judgment

A party may move to have the court amend or alter a judgment within twenty eight days after entry of the judgment under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 59(e). Fed.R.Civ.P. 59(e). "Since specific grounds for a motion to amend or alter are not listed in the rule, the district court enjoys considerable discretion in granting or denying the motion." Allstate Ins. Co. v. Herron , 634 F.3d 1101, 1111 (9th Cir. 2011) (quoting McDowell v. Calderon , 197 F.3d 1253, 1255 n. 1 (9th Cir. 1999) (citation omitted)). However, amending a judgment after its entry remains "an extraordinary remedy which should be used sparingly." Id.

In general, there are four grounds upon which a Rule 59(e) motion may be granted: "(1) if such motion is necessary to correct manifest errors of law or fact upon which the judgment rests; (2) if such motion is necessary to present newly discovered or previously unavailable evidence; (3) if such motion is necessary to prevent manifest injustice; or (4) if the amendment is justified by an intervening change in controlling law." Id . The court has discretion in determining whether to amend or alter the judgment under Rule 59(e). See id.

Defendant AIF moves pursuant to Rule 59(e) arguing that it is necessary to correct manifest errors of fact upon which the judgment rests and to prevent manifest injustice since the judgment is incomplete. First, AIF contends that the judgment does not identify three additional copyrights asserted by Plaintiff that were dismissed with prejudice. Second, the judgment does not identify the accused products that were found to infringe and not to infringe. Third, the judgment does not include the fact that Defendant was found not to have infringed willfully. Defendant contends that amending the Judgment is important because Brighton, on November 6, 2013, filed suit against Defendant in Los Angeles Superior Court for breach of warranty against infringement and equitable indemnity on the grounds that Brighton stepped into the shoes of Texas Leather as its assignee.[1] (Dkt. No. 427-4, Walker Decl., Ex. B.) In that complaint, Brighton is suing Defendant for $2 million as the assignee of Texas Leather. For purposes of the state court action, AIF wants to make sure there no "room for doubt" when the state court reviews the rulings in this case.[2]

Plaintiff opposes arguing that the judgment is complete because it is accurate, brief and consistent with the model form in Form 70 in the Appendix of Forms to the Federal Rule of Civil Procedure. Brighton also states it does not dispute any of the facts that Defendant seeks to add to the judgment nor can it reasonably dispute those facts in any other proceeding. Plaintiff asserts that the facts are part of the record of the case and indisputable. Brighton also argues that AIF has not demonstrated that the additions are necessary to correct clear error or to prevent manifest injustice.

Here, AIF essentially seeks to add additional rulings in the Judgment to reflect the jury's verdict and to reflect the contents of an order granting Defendant's motion to dismiss for lack of prosecution of the Dublin, Ventura and Victoria designs. (See Dkt. No. 387.) The Court notes that the state court may review the Court's docket to determine the Court's rulings in this case and the jury's verdict as to what accused items were found to infringe and not to infringe and that the infringement was found to be not willful. AIF's reasons for seeking to amend the judgment, in order to make sure there is no "room for doubt" for the state court, does not ...


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