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Liberty Corporate Capital Ltd. v. Club Exclusive, Inc.

United States District Court, N.D. Alabama, Eastern Division

October 3, 2018

LIBERTY CORPORATE CAPITAL LIMITED, Plaintiff/Counterclaim Defendant,
v.
CLUB EXCLUSIVE, INC., Defendant/Counterclaim Plaintiff.

          MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER

          VIRGINIA EMERSON HOPKINS SENIOR UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE

         I. INTRODUCTION [1]

         Plaintiff/Counterclaim Defendant Liberty Corporate Capital Limited (“Liberty”) initiated this insurance action on May 13, 2016. (Doc. 1). Liberty sued Defendant/Counterclaim Plaintiff Club Exclusive, Inc., (“Club Exclusive”) for a declaratory judgment of its rights and obligations under a commercial insurance policy (the “Policy”) issued to Club Exclusive. (Id.; doc. 6). Club Exclusive answered Liberty's complaint and, inter alia, counterclaimed against Liberty on June 22, 2016. (Doc. 12).

         On October 17, 2016, Liberty filed a Motion for Summary Judgment (the “Rule 56 Motion”). (Doc. 36). Club Exclusive failed to respond to the Rule 56 Motion. The Court then granted the Rule 56 Motion. (Doc. 38; doc 39). Subsequently, however, Club Exclusive moved to set aside the Rule 56 judgment in accordance with the excusable neglect standard under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 60(b). (Doc. 40). The Court granted Club Exclusive's request for post-judgment relief (doc. 43) and thus vacated its prior summary judgment opinion (doc. 38) and final judgment order (doc. 39).

         Club Exclusive then filed its opposition (doc. 44) to the Rule 56 Motion on December 12, 2017. Liberty filed its reply (doc. 46) in support of its Rule 56 Motion on January 5, 2018.

         On July 25, 2018, the Court granted in part the Rule 56 Motion. (Doc. 49; doc. 50). The Court declared that Liberty owed no duty or obligation to Club Exclusive under the Policy, rescinded the Policy as void ab initio, dismissed with prejudice all of Club Exclusive's counterclaims against Liberty, and, there being no pending claims remaining, dismissed the entire action with prejudice. (Doc. 50).

         This case comes once again before the Court on Club Exclusive's Motion To Alter, Amend or Vacate the Judgment of July 25, 2018 (the “Rule 59(e) Motion”).[2] (Doc. 51).[3] Club Exclusive filed its Rule 59(e) Motion and its Memorandum (doc. 51-1) in support of its Rule 59(e) Motion on August 22, 2018. Liberty filed its opposition (doc. 53) to the Rule 59(e) Motion on August 31, 2018. The Court did not permit Club Exclusive to file a reply in support of its Rule 59(e) Motion. (See doc. 52). Thus, the Rule 59(e) Motion is ripe for review. For the reasons stated in this opinion, the Rule 59(e) Motion is due to be DENIED.

         II. STANDARD

         “The decision to alter or amend judgment [pursuant to Rule 59(e)] is committed to the sound discretion of the district judge . . . .” Am. Home Assurance Co. v. Glenn Estess & Assocs., Inc., 763 F.2d 1237, 1238-39 (11th Cir. 1985) (citing Futures Trading Comm'n v. Am. Commodities Grp., 753 F.2d 862, 866 (11th Cir. 1984); McCarthy v. Mason, 714 F.2d 234, 237 (2d Cir. 1983); Weems v. McCloud, 619 F.2d 1081, 1098 (5th Cir. 1980)[4]). However, “reconsideration of a judgment pursuant to Rule 59(e) . . . is ‘an extraordinary remedy which should be used sparingly.'” Daker v. Warren, No. 10-3815, 2012 WL 2403437, at *4 (N.D.Ga. June 25, 2012) (quoting 11 Charles Alan Wright & Arthur R. Miller, Federal Practice and Procedure § 2810.1). In fact, “[t]he extremely limited nature of the Rule 59(e) remedy cannot be overstated.” Lee v. Thomas, No. 10-587, 2012 WL 3137901, at *2 n.1 (S.D. Ala. Aug. 1, 2012) (emphasis added); Jenkins v. Dunn, No. 08-869, 2017 WL 1927861, at *2 (N.D. Ala. May 10, 2017) (emphasis added) (quoting Lee, 2012 WL 3137901, at *2 n.1) (stating that there is only a “limited scope of relief that is available to a litigant under Rule 59(e)”). “The only grounds for granting [a Rule 59] motion are newly-discovered evidence or manifest errors of law or fact.” Jones v. Thomas, 605 Fed.Appx. 813, 814 (11th Cir. 2015) (alteration in original) (emphasis added) (quoting Arthur v. King, 500 F.3d 1335, 1343 (11th Cir. 2007) (alteration in original)). “In order to demonstrate clear error, the party must do more than simply restate his previous arguments, and any arguments the party failed to raise in the earlier motion will be deemed waived.” Atl. Mut. Ins. Co. v. Am. Cas. Co. of Reading, Pa., No. 08-1737, 2010 WL 11508266, at *1 (M.D. Fla. Mar. 23, 2010) (quoting O'Neill v. Home Depot U.S.A., Inc., 243 F.R.D. 469, 483 (S.D. Fla. 2006)).

         “A Rule 59 motion cannot be used ‘to relit[i]gate old matters, raise argument or present evidence that could have been raised prior to the entry of judgment.'” Jones, 605 Fed.Appx. at 814 (emphasis added) (quoting Arthur, 500 F.3d at 1343); see also Stone v. Wall, 135 F.3d 1438, 1442 (11th Cir. 1998) (“The purpose of a Rule 59(e) motion is not to raise an argument that was previously available, but not pressed.”); O'Neal v. Kennamer, 958 F.2d 1044, 1047 (11th Cir. 1992) (“Motions to amend should not be used to raise arguments which could, and should, have been made before the judgment was issued.” (citing Lussier v. Dugger, 904 F.2d 661, 667 (11th Cir. 1990))). “Denial of a motion to amend is ‘especially soundly exercised when the party has failed to articulate any reason for the failure to raise the issue at an earlier stage in the litigation.'” O'Neal, 958 F.2d at 1047 (quoting Lussier, 904 F.2d at 667).

         III. ANALYSIS

         In its Rule 59(e) Motion and its Memorandum in support of its Rule 59(e) Motion, Club Exclusive argues that the Court's judgment on the Rule 56 Motion was “based on [] clear error and [] [was] manifestly unjust.”[5] (Doc. 51 at 2; doc. 51-1 at 1). However, the Court need not separately consider Club Exclusive's argument that the Court's judgment on the Rule 56 Motion was “manifestly unjust” because Club Exclusive never explains how the judgment was “manifestly unjust” beyond stating that the Court committed clear errors of fact and law. (See doc. 51-1 at 5, ¶ 25) (“[The Court's] decision was manifestly unjust in that the Court made conclusions as to law and fact that were not supported by the evidence.”). Thus, the Court will only address Club Exclusive's argument that the Court committed “clear error.”

         Club Exclusive appears to make two arguments as to how the Court committed clear error. (See Id. at 5, 7-8, ¶¶ 27-28, 31-33, 35). First, Club Exclusive argues the following:

27. Mrs. White testified that she used money that she had acquired and that she appropriated for business purposes. The Court segregated the funds used for the building and contents and, despite Mrs. White's testimony to the contrary, concluded that she used her ...

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