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Arlington Industries, Inc v. Bridgeport Fittings

October 17, 2011

ARLINGTON INDUSTRIES, INC.,
PLAINTIFF,
v.
BRIDGEPORT FITTINGS, INC., DEFENDANT



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Judge Conner

MEMORANDUM

This is a patent infringement action filed by Arlington Industries, Inc. ("Arlington"). On July 18, 2011, the court granted Arlington's motion for preliminary injunction. (Doc. 392). Presently before the court is a motion for reconsideration (Doc. 396) filed by Bridgeport Fittings, Inc. ("Bridgeport"). Bridgeport asks the court to: (1) modify the security amount set in its July 18, 2011 Order ("July 18 Order") (Doc. 392) granting the motion for preliminary injunction, and (2) modify the release date of the security set in the July 19, 2011 Order ("July 19 Order") (Doc. 394). Arlington opposes the request to modify the security amount set in the July 18 Order but does not oppose modification of the July 19 Order. For the reasons that follow the court will grant the motion in its entirety.

I. Background*fn1

On July 18, 2011, this court granted the motion for a preliminary injunction (Doc. 369) filed by Arlington pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 65 to enjoy Bridgeport from directly or indirectly making, using, selling, offering for sale or importing, or causing or inducing others to make, use, sell, offer to sell, or import Bridgeport's Whipper-Snap Duplex products ("the duplex connectors"), catalog numbers 3838ASP and 3838SP. (Doc. 392). In accordance with Rule 65(c), the court ordered Arlington to post security in the amount of $17,750, twenty-five percent of the profits Bridgeport expected to lose ($71,000) between issuance of the preliminary injunction and the expiration of the patent allegedly infringed by Bridgeport's duplex connectors. (Id. at 26). Arlington posted the security the following day, upon which time the preliminary injunction took effect. (See id.; see also Doc. 393). On the same date, July 19, 2011, the court issued an order directing the Clerk of Court to invest the monies into an interest-bearing account "until December 5, 2011 [the expiration date of the patent], or until order of the court directing release of the funds, whichever occurs first." (Doc. 394).

On August 2, 2011, Bridgeport filed the instant motion for reconsideration. (Doc. 397). Bridgeport seeks reconsideration of the security amount and the date of release of the security in order to correct what Bridgeport believes to be clear error and to prevent manifest injustice. Bridgeport contends that the security amount-set at twenty-five percent of its expected lost profits-limits it from recovering its full amount of damages in the event that Bridgeport is later found to have been wrongfully enjoined. (Doc. 397, at 2). Bridgeport asks the court to modify the July 18 Order and adjust the security amount to reflect the full amount of lost profits Bridgeport expects to suffer as a result of the injunction.

Bridgeport further asserts that the release date of December 5, 2011 set in the July 19 Order "renders the bond a nullity" because a claim for recovery under the bond is not triggered until after a final judgment on the merits, which will not occur before December 5, 2011. (Id.) Thus, release of the posted security on December 5, 2011 will prevent Bridgeport from asserting a claim for damages against the security even if Bridgeport prevails on the merits. (Id. at 3). Bridgeport therefore asks the court to modify its July 19 Order to provide for maintenance of the monies in the interest-bearing account until the entry of final judgment.

Arlington objects to Bridgeport's motion for reconsideration of the July 18 Order contending that the motion is untimely under Local Rule 7.10. (Doc. 402, at 3). On the merits, Arlington asserts that the court properly exercised its discretion in setting the security amount at twenty-five percent of Bridgeport's alleged lost profits, and, moreover, Bridgeport failed to present any evidence to substantiate its lost profits claim. (Id. at 4-10). Arlington does not, however, oppose the request to modify the July 19 Order to maintain the security until entry of final judgment in this action. (Doc. 402, at 3). The motion has been fully briefed and is ripe for consideration.*fn2

II. Legal Standard

Under Local Rule 7.10 a party may move for reconsideration of a court order within fourteen days of the entry of the order. See L.R. 7.10. The purpose of a motion for reconsideration is to present newly discovered evidence or to correct manifest errors of law or fact. See Harsco Corp. v. Zlotnicki, 779 F.2d 906, 909 (3d Cir. 1985); see also Max's Seafood Cafe v. Qunteros, 176 F.3d 669, 677 (3d Cir. 1999). The court possesses inherent power to reconsider its interlocutory orders "when it is consonant with justice to do so." United States v. Jerry, 487 F.2d 600, 605 (3d Cir. 1973); Alea N. Am. Ins. Co. v. Salem Masonry Co. 301 F. App'x 119, 121 (3d Cir. 2008). However, a party may not invoke a motion for reconsideration as a means to relitigate matters of disagreement with the court or to raise stale arguments anew. See Abu-Jamal v. Horn, No. Civ. A. 99-5089, 2001 WL 1609761, at *9 (E.D. Pa. Dec. 18, 2001); see also Bhatnagar v. Surrendra Overseas Ltd., 52 F.3d 1220, 1231 (3d Cir. 1995) (rejecting a litigant's "classic attempt at a 'second bite at the apple'").

Local Rule 7.10 excludes from its fourteen-day deadline motions to alter or amend judgment brought pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 59. Rule 59 permits a party to file a motion to alter or amend a district court judgment "no later than 28 days after the entry of the judgment." FED. R. CIV. P. 59(e). The basis for a Rule 59 motion is essential the same as for a motion for reconsideration under Local Rule 7.10. "A proper motion to alter or amend judgment 'must rely on one of three major grounds: (1) an intervening change in controlling law; (2) the availability of new evidence [not available previously]; [or] (3) the need to correct clear error [of law] or prevent manifest injustice.'" North River Ins. Co. v. CIGNA Reinsurance Co., 52 F.3d 1194, 1218 (3d Cir. 1995) (citations and quotations omitted). The main difference between a motion for reconsideration under Local Rule 7.10 and a motion to alter or amend judgment under Rule 59(e) is that a motion for reconsideration under Local Rule may be filed in response to any order of the court, not solely after the entry of judgment.

III. Discussion

A. Timeliness of Motion for Reconsideration

Bridgeport filed its motion for reconsideration on August 2, 2011, fifteen days after entry of the order granting the preliminary injunction, one day past the fourteen-day period allotted by Local Rule 7.10. (See Doc. 396). Arlington contends that Bridgeport's motion for reconsideration of the July 18 Order is therefore untimely and should not be considered by the court. Bridgeport counters that the motion is timely for two reasons: (1) the motion for reconsideration, despite its title, is, in actuality, a timely motion to alter or amend judgment pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 59(e), and (2) the motion is timely as a motion for reconsideration under Local Rule 7.10 because the preliminary injunction granted in the July 18 Order did not become effective until Arlington posted the security amount on July 19, 2011. (See Doc. 403, at 3-5 & n.2).

If the motion is deemed a motion for reconsideration under Local Rule, the motion is untimely. The fourteen-day period beings to run upon entry of the order at issue. See L.R. 7.10. If the motion is deemed a Rule 59(e) motion, it is clearly timely.*fn3 Regardless of whether the motion is a motion for reconsideration under Local Rule or a motion to alter or amend judgment under Rule 59(e), the court will consider ...


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