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Auburn Sales, Inc. v. Cypros Trading & Shipping, Inc.

United States District Court, E.D. Michigan, Southern Division

November 28, 2017

AUBURN SALES, INC., Plaintiff,
v.
CYPROS TRADING & SHIPPING, INC., JOSEPH KILANI, and FADI KILANI, Defendants.

          OPINION AND ORDER DENYING PLAINTIFF'S MOTION FOR RECONSIDERATION [ECF NO. 125]

          HONORABLE LINDA V. PARKER U.S. DISTRICT JUDGE.

         On February 28, 2014, Plaintiff Auburn Sales, Inc. (“Auburn”) filed this lawsuit against Defendants Cypros Trading & Shipping, Inc. (“Cypros”), Joseph Kilani, and Fadi Kilani (collectively “Defendants”) arising out of a past business relationship between the parties. On March 13, 2017, this Court issued an Opinion and Order dismissing Plaintiff's Complaint. (ECF No. 123.) Presently before the Court is Plaintiff's motion for reconsideration and/or request to file an amended complaint, filed March 27, 2017. (ECF No. 125.) At the Court's direction, Defendants' filed a response to the motion on April 11, 2017. (ECF No. 128.) Finding the facts and legal arguments sufficiently presented in the parties' brief, the Court dispensed with oral argument pursuant to Eastern District of Michigan Local Rule 7.1(f). For the reasons that follow, the Court denies Plaintiff's motion for reconsideration.

         I. Factual and Procedural History

         Plaintiff is in the business of buying Chrysler parts, and reselling the parts to Defendant Cypros. (Compl. ¶ 13.) Defendant Joseph Kilani and his son, Defendant Fadi Kilani, are employees of Defendant Cypros. (Id. at ¶¶ 11, 12.) In early 2009, Plaintiff began having discussions with Automotive Aftermarket Resources, LLC (“AAR”) and Chrysler's parts subsidiary Mopar (“Mopar”)-both nonparties to this case-in order to obtain Chrysler parts at favorable pricing. (Id. at ¶¶ 25-26.) In March 2010, Plaintiff, AAR, Mopar, and Defendant Cypros cemented a distribution chain agreement for procuring Chrysler parts for the Middle East through Defendant Cypros. (Id.) The agreement was as follows: “[Mopar] would provide all the parts that Auburn could sell to AAR [;] who would then sell them to Auburn at a markup [;] who would then sell the parts to Cypros at a markup [.]” (Id. at ¶ 27.) Mopar delivered the goods directly to Defendant Cypros under a “drop shipment” agreement, and, consequently, parts were never tangibly in the hands of AAR or Plaintiff. (Id.)

         Plaintiff asserts that in 2011, Defendants obtained counterfeit parts, and mixed and sold them with legitimate Chrysler parts they had purchased from Plaintiff. (Id. at ¶ 31.) In February 2013, the FBI raided Defendants' New Jersey warehouse. (Id. at ¶ 32.) Thereafter, Defendant Fadi Kilani was charged with trafficking in counterfeit goods, and ultimately pled guilty to the charges in the indictment. (Id. at ¶ 33.)

         Plaintiff asserts that when Chrysler learned of Defendants' conduct, Chrysler instructed AAR that it could no longer sell Chrysler parts to Plaintiff. (Id. at ¶ 38.) Plaintiff asserts that once Defendants' wrongful actions became publicly known, Plaintiff's “automotive supplier customers” refused to do business with it, and that said customers imputed Defendants' wrongful conduct onto Plaintiff. (Id. at ¶ 40.)

         Plaintiff further asserts that as a result of the harm caused to its reputation by Defendants' conduct, it is unable to procure or sell any parts. (Id. at ¶ 41.) Consequently, Plaintiff filed this lawsuit on February 28, 2014, asserting: (1) intentional interference with business relationship, (2) intentional interference with prospective economic advantage, (3) breach of contract, and (4) negligence. (Id. at ¶¶ 44-76.)

         On February 3, 2015, Defendants filed a motion for summary judgment pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 56. (ECF No. 40.) This Court held a hearing on May 27, 2015. In its opinion and order issued on September 1, 2015, this Court construed Defendants' motion as a judgment on the pleadings and granted Defendants' motion as to the negligence claim and denied the motion on the remaining claims. (ECF No. 71.)

         On May 16, 2016, Plaintiff filed a motion for summary judgment as to liability on their claims and requesting that this Court dismiss Defendants' counterclaims. (ECF No. 107.) Defendants also filed a motion for summary judgment on May 18, 2016. (ECF No. 110.) On March 13, 2017, this Court granted, in part, Plaintiff's motion for summary judgment, denied, as moot, Defendants' motion for summary judgment, and dismissed Plaintiff's Complaint.

         II. Applicable Standards

         Local Rule 7.1(h) provides that a motion for reconsideration only should be granted if the movant demonstrates that the Court and the parties have been misled by a palpable defect and a different disposition of the case would result from a correction of such defect. E.D. Mich. LR 7.1(h)(3). Palpable defects are those which are “obvious, clear, unmistakable, manifest or plain.” Mich. Dep't of Treasury v. Michalec, 181 F.Supp.2d 731, 734 (E.D. Mich. 2002). “It is an exception to the norm for the Court to grant a motion for reconsideration.” Maiberger v. City of Livonia, 724 F.Supp.2d 759, 780 (E.D. Mich. 2010). “[A] motion for reconsideration is not properly used as a vehicle to re-hash old arguments or to advance positions that could have been argued earlier but were not.” Smith v. Mount Pleasant Pub. Sch., 298 F.Supp.2d 636, 637 (E.D. Mich. 2003) (citing Sault Ste. Marie Tribe of Chippewa Indians v. Engler, 146 F.3d 367, 374 (6th Cir.1998)). Therefore, a motion that merely presents the same issues already ruled upon by the Court shall not be granted. Id.

         Motions to alter or amend judgment pursuant to Rule 59(e) may be granted only if there is a clear error of law, newly discovered evidence, an intervening change in controlling law, or to prevent manifest injustice. Gencorp., Inc. v. Am. Int'l Underwriters, 178 F.3d 804, 834 (6th Cir. 1999). “Rule 59(e) permits a court to alter or amend a judgment, but it ‘may not be used to relitigate old matters, or to raise arguments or present evidence that could have been raised prior to the entry of judgment.'” Exxon Shipping Co. v. Baker, 554 U.S. 471, 485 n. 5 (2008) (citing 11 C. Wright & A. Miller, Federal Practice and Procedure § 2810.1, 127-28 (2d ed. 1995)). As several judges in this District have stated,

“[Rule 59(e)] motions . . . are not intended as a vehicle to relitigate previously considered issues; should not be utilized to submit evidence which could have been previously submitted in the exercise of reasonable diligence; and are not the proper vehicle to attempt to obtain a reversal of a judgment by offering the same arguments previously presented.”

Kenneth Henes Special Projects Procurement v. Cont'l Biomass Indus., Inc., 86 F.Supp.2d 721, 726 (E.D. Mich. 2000) (quoting Nagle Indus., Inc. v. Ford MotorCo., 175 F.R.D. 251, 254 (E.D. Mich. 1997), aff'd194 F.3d 1339 (Fed. Cir. 1999)). “[A motion to alter or reconsider a judgment] ‘is an extraordinary remedy and should be granted sparingly because of the interests in finality and conservation of scarce judicial resources.'” In re J & M Salupo Dev. Co., 388 B.R. 795, 805 (B.A.P. ...


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