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SafeRack LLC v. Bullard Co.

United States District Court, D. South Carolina, Charleston Division

February 5, 2019

SafeRack, LLC, Plaintiff,
v.
Bullard Company, Defendant.

          ORDER AND OPINION

          Richard Mark Gorgel United States District Court Judge

         This matter is before the Court on Defendant Bullard Company's motion for reconsideration (Dkt. No. 68). For the reasons set forth below, the Court denies the motion.

         I. Background

         Plaintiff SafeRack, LLC ("SafeRack") alleged that Defendant Bullard Company's ("Bullard") use of orange on "gangways, railings, and gates" infringed on its trademark and trade dress and constituted unfair competition in violation of the Lanham Act and the South Carolina Unfair Trade Practices Act ("SCUTPA"). SafeRack also brought a claim for unjust enrichment. The Court granted in part and denied in part summary judgment in favor of SafeRack on November 28, 2018. (Dkt. No. 65.) Importantly, the Court granted summary judgment in favor of SafeRack on its trademark infringement claim under the Lanham Act. (Dkt. No. 65 at 18 - 19.) Bullard now moves for reconsideration. (Dkt. No. 68.)

         II. Legal Standard

         Rule 59(e) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure governs motions to alter or amend a judgment; however, the rule does not provide a legal standard for such motions.[1] The Fourth Circuit has articulated "three grounds for amending an earlier judgment: (1) to accommodate an intervening change in controlling law; (2) to account for new evidence not available at trial; or (3) to correct a clear error of law or prevent manifest injustice." Pac. Ins. Co. v. Am. Nat'l Fire Ins. Co., 148 F.3d 396, 403 (4th Cir. 1998) citing EEOC v. Lockheed Martin Corp., 116 F.3d 110, 112 (4th Cir. 1997); Hutchinson v. Staton, 994 F.2d 1076, 1081 (4th Cir. 1993). "Rule 59(e) motions may not be used, however, to raise arguments which could have been raised prior to the issuance of the judgment, nor may they be used to argue a case under a novel legal theory that the party had the ability to address in the first instance." Id. at 403 (internal citations omitted). Rule 59(e) provides an "extraordinary remedy that should be used sparingly." Id. (internal citation omitted). The decision to alter or amend a judgment is reviewed for an abuse of discretion. Id. at 402.

         III. Discussion

         None of the justifications for reconsideration are present here. There is no intervening change in controlling law since the Court's November 28, 2018 ruling. Further, Defendant Bullard identified no new evidence to support its motion for reconsideration, and instead focuses exclusively on reiterating arguments based on evidence that was presented to the Court at summary judgment. Finally, the Court's ruling was not a clear error of law or manifestly unjust. Instead of arguing that the Court made any clear error of law, [2] Defendant Bullard's motion for reconsideration is an almost verbatim recitation of arguments previously presented to the Court in Bullard's briefs for summary judgment. (See Dkt. Nos. 49, 57, 58, 68.) However, these arguments have already been discussed and decided by the Court. Defendant Bullard additionally identified no manifest injustice from the Court's Order. Therefore, the Court already considered and ruled on all of Defendant Bullard's arguments and Bullard cannot meet the standard for reconsideration under Rule 59(e).

         IV. Conclusion

         For the reasons above, Defendant Bullard Company's motion for reconsideration (Dkt. No. 68) is DENIED.

         AND IT IS SO ORDERED.

---------

Notes:

[1] Defendant Bullard, in their motion, additionally cited the standard for reconsideration under Rule 54(b). However, this motion is reviewed under the standard applied to Rule 59, and Rule 54(b) is inapplicable here as the Court's Order ...


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