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Ashmore v. Masterpiece Investments Inc.

United States District Court, D. South Carolina, Anderson/Greenwood Division

August 18, 2016

Beattie B. Ashmore, In His Capacity as Court-Appointed Receiver for Ronnie Gene Wilson and Atlantic Bullion and Coin, Inc., Plaintiff,
v.
Masterpiece Investments, Inc., Defendant.

          ORDER AND OPINION

         Plaintiff Beattie B. Ashmore (“Plaintiff”), in his capacity as court-appointed receiver for Ronnie Gene Wilson (“Wilson”) and Atlantic Bullion and Coin, Inc. (“AB&C”), filed the instant action against Defendant Masterpiece Investments, Inc. (“Defendant”), to recover money from the Wilson-AB&C Ponzi scheme[1] used to purchase an investment interest in Defendant. (ECF No. 1.)

         This matter is before the court as a result of Defendant’s Motion to Reconsider and to Stay pursuant to 11 U.S.C. § 362. (ECF No. 19.) For the reasons set forth below, the court GRANTS Defendant’s Motion to Reconsider and to Stay.

         I. RELEVANT BACKGROUND TO PENDING MOTION

         Defendant is an Oregon corporation. (ECF Nos. 1 at 3 ¶ 12 & 6 at 2 ¶ 13.) On March 24, 2011, and July 20, 2011, Wilson-AB&C purchased approximately 3 million shares of Defendant in exchange for $500, 000.00. (Id. at 4 ¶¶ 20, 23.)

         Based on his appointment as Receiver tasked with “locating, managing, recouping, and distributing the assets of the Wilson-AB&C investment scheme, ” Plaintiff commenced the instant action against Defendant on March 21, 2014, alleging violations of securities laws in an attempt to rescind the securities investment and recover the $500, 000.00 in investment capital. (ECF No. 1 at 1 ¶ 1 & 6 ¶ 44-9 ¶ 67.) On August 10, 2015, the parties allegedly settled the matter. (ECF Nos. 15 at 2, 15-1 & 15-2.) Thereafter, Plaintiff filed a Motion to Enforce Settlement on September 28, 2015, which Motion was granted by Order of the court entered on December 8, 2015 (the “December Order”). (ECF Nos. 15, 17.)

         On December 8, 2015, Defendant filed the instant, unopposed Motion seeking reconsideration of the December Order and to stay the case. (ECF No. 19.)

         II. JURISDICTION

         The court has jurisdiction over this matter under 28 U.S.C. § 1331 pursuant to Plaintiff’s allegation that the Complaint “is so related to the In Re Receiver, 8:12-CV-2078-JMC case and the underlying criminal case, United States v. Wilson, et al, 8:12-cr-00320[, ]” cases in which the court has jurisdiction, “that it forms part of the underlying case or controversy.” (ECF No. 1 at 1 ¶ 3.) Additionally, the court has jurisdiction over Plaintiff’s claim for violation of securities laws as it arises under a law of the United States by way of the Federal Securities Act of 1933, 15 U.S.C. §§ 77a-77mm. The court may properly hear Plaintiff’s state law claims for rescission and violation of South Carolina securities laws based on supplemental jurisdiction since these claims “are so related to claims in the action within such original jurisdiction that they form part of the same case or controversy . . . .” 28 U.S.C. § 1367(a).

         III. LEGAL STANDARD

         A. Motions to Reconsider

         A motion for reconsideration is generally raised via Rules 59 and 60 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure. Under Rule 59(e), a court may “alter or amend the judgment if the movant shows either (1) an intervening change in the controlling law, (2) new evidence that was not available at trial, or (3) that there has been a clear error of law or a manifest injustice.” Robinson v. Wix Filtration Corp., 599 F.3d 403, 407 (4th Cir. 2010); see also Collison v. Int’l Chem. Workers Union, 34 F.3d 233, 235 (4th Cir. 1994). It is the moving party’s burden to establish one of these three grounds in order to obtain relief under Rule 59(e). Loren Data Corp. v. GXS, Inc., 501 Fed.Appx. 275, 285 (4th Cir. 2012). The decision whether to reconsider an order pursuant to Rule 59(e) is within the sound discretion of the district court. Hughes v. Bedsole, 48 F.3d 1376, 1382 (4th Cir. 1995).

         Rule 60(b) allows a party to seek relief from a final civil judgment in a limited number of circumstances, including: (1) “mistake, inadvertence, surprise, or excusable neglect”; (2) “newly discovered evidence”; (3) “fraud . . ., misrepresentation, or misconduct”; (4) “the judgment is void”; (5) “the judgment has been satisfied, released, or discharged”; and (6) “any other reason that justifies relief.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 60(b)(1)-(6). Rule 60(b) “does not authorize a motion merely for reconsideration of a legal issue.” United States v. Williams, 674 F.2d 310, 312 (4th Cir. 1982). “Where the motion is nothing more than a request that the district court change its mind . . . it is not authorized by Rule 60(b).” Id. at 313.

         B. Motions to Stay

         Generally, after a debtor files a bankruptcy petition, 11 U.S.C. § 362(a)(4) provides for an automatic stay of any attempts by creditors to collect on their claims against the debtor. Id.; see also In re Constr. Supervision Servs., Inc., 753 F.3d 124, 126 (4th Cir. 2014). Specifically, “creditors are automatically stayed from attempting to collect on claims against the debtor.” In re Constr., 753 F.3d at 127. “In other words, the stay protects the bankruptcy estate from ...


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