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LLC v. ILM Capital, LLC

United States District Court, S.D. Alabama, Southern Division

November 1, 2019

ZP NO. 314, LLC, Plaintiff,
v.
ILM CAPITAL, LLC, et al., Defendants.

          ORDER

          SONJA F. BIVINS, UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE

         This action is before the Court on Defendants' motion to alter, amend, or vacate judgment. (Doc. 191). The Court finds that Defendants' motion can be resolved without the aid of briefing from Plaintiff, and for the reasons set forth herein, DENIES Defendants' motion.

         I. Standard for Motion to Alter, Amend, or Vacate Judgment.

         “The only grounds for granting [a Rule 59] motion are newly-discovered evidence or manifest errors of law or fact.” Ogburia v. Alabama Agric. & Mech. Univ., 2009 WL 10688644, *1 (N.D. Ala. May 4, 2009)(quoting In re Kellogg, 197 F.3d 1116, 1119 (11th Cir. 1999)). “[A] Rule 59(e) motion [cannot be used] to relitigate old matters, raise argument or present evidence that could have been raised prior to the entry of judgment.” Id. (quoting Michael Linet, Inc. v. Village of Wellington, Fla., 408 F.3d 757, 763 (11th Cir. 2005)).

         “In the interests of finality and conservation of scarce judicial resources, reconsideration of an order is an extraordinary remedy and is employed sparingly.” Gougler v. Sirius Products, Inc., 370 F.Supp.2d 1185, 1189 (S. D. Ala. 2005); see also Spellman v. Haley, 2002 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 27308, *1, 2004 WL 866837, *2 (M.D. Ala. Feb. 22, 2002)(“litigants should not use motions to reconsider as a knee-jerk reaction to an adverse ruling”); Gipson v. Mattox, 511 F.Supp.2d 1182, 1185 (S.D. Ala. 2007)(a party may not “utilize a motion to reconsider as a vehicle for rehashing arguments considered and rejected in the underlying order.”). “Motions to reconsider are not a platform to relitigate arguments previously considered and rejected.” Gougler, 370 F.Supp.2d at 1189 n.1 (“It is well established in this circuit that ‘[a]dditional facts and arguments that should have been raised in the first instance are not appropriate grounds for a motion for reconsideration.'”); see also American Home Assur. Co. v. Glenn Estess & Assoc., Inc., 763 F.2d 1237, 1239 (11th Cir. 1985)(cautioning against use of motion to reconsider to afford a litigant “two bites at the apple”); Rossi v. Troy State University, 330 F.Supp.2d 1240, 1249 (M.D. Ala. 2002)(denying motion to reconsider where plaintiff failed to submit evidence prior to entry of order and failed to show good cause for the omission).

         The Eleventh Circuit has also stressed that “a motion to reconsider should not be used by the parties to set forth new theories of law.” Mays v. U.S. Postal Service, 122 F.3d 43, 46 (11th Cir. 1997); accord Russell Petroleum Corp. v. Environ Products, Inc., 333 F.Supp.2d 1228, 1234 (M.D. Ala. 2004); Coppage v. U.S. Postal Service, 129 F.Supp.2d 1378, 1379-81 (M.D. Ga. 2001).

         II. Analysis.

         In their motion, Defendants argue that the Court applied the incorrect legal standard to ZP's Lanham Act (15 U.S.C. § 1125(a)) and state law trademark infringement/unfair competition claims, when the Court ruled on the parties' summary judgment motions over one year ago, on September 27, 2018.[1] (Docs. 130, 191). Specifically, Defendants state that the Court “conflated the less stringent ‘confusingly similar' standard used in analyzing [cybersquatting] claims with the more comprehensive, and more difficult to satisfy, ‘likelihood of consumer confusion' standard used in analyzing unfair competition and trademark infringement claims.” (Doc. 191 at 2-3). Defendants further state that:

[I]n the context of analyzing ZP's cybersquatting claim at summary judgment, the Court determined that the Domain Names and ZP's trademarks were ‘confusingly similar.' Then, in the context of analyzing ZP's unfair competition/trademark infringement claims, the Court short-circuited the ‘likelihood of confusion' analysis by referencing its finding that the Domain Names were confusingly similar to ZP's marks. The Court carried this same analysis over into the Trial Order.

(Doc. 191 at 2).

         In the Court's summary judgment order of September 27, 2018, the Court analyzed ZP's claims under the Anti-Cybersquatting Consumer Protection Act (“ACPA”), 15 U.S.C. §1125(d)(1)(A), explaining that a defendant violates the ACPA if it registers, traffics, or uses a domain name that is identical or confusingly similar to a distinctive mark with a bad faith intent to profit from its act(s). (Doc. 130 at 14). In the order, the Court concluded, as a matter of law, that Defendants' domain names were identical or confusingly similar to ZP's protectible marks. (Id. at 33).

         In the Court's summary judgment order of September 27, 2018, the Court also analyzed ZP's Lanham Act and state law trademark infringement/unfair competition claims. (Id. at 39-51). With respect to ZP's Lanham Act claim, the Court explained:

The Lanham Act, 15 U.S.C. § 1125(a), was intended to make “actionable the deceptive and misleading use of marks[, ]” and “to protect persons engaged in . . . commerce against unfair competition.” 15 U.S.C. § 1127. The Act provides a cause of action for unfair competition by stating:
(1) Any person who, on or in connection with any goods or services, . . . uses in commerce any word, term, name, symbol, or device, or any combination thereof, or any false designation of origin, false or misleading description of ...

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