Corless v. Zuffa, LLC
ORDER DENYING PLAINTIFF'S MOTION TO SET ASIDE THE ORDER GRANTING DEFENDANT'S MOTION TO DISMISS COMPLAINT OR FOR A NEW TRIAL re 21 . Signed by JUDGE J. MICHAEL SEABRIGHT on 5/1/13. (gls, )CERTIFICATE OF SERVICEParticipants registered to receive electronic notifications received this document electronically at the e-mail address listed on the Notice of Electronic Filing (NEF). Participants not registered to receive electronic notifications were served by first class mail on the date of this docket entry
IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
FOR THE DISTRICT OF HAWAII
WILLIAM W. CORLESS JR., d/b/a
UNLIMITED CAGE FIGHTING
ZUFFA, LLC, d/b/a ULTIMATE
CIVIL NO. 12-00689 JMS-RLP
ORDER DENYING PLAINTIFF’S
MOTION TO SET ASIDE THE
DEFENDANT’S MOTION TO
DISMISS COMPLAINT OR FOR A
ORDER DENYING PLAINTIFF’S MOTION TO SET ASIDE THE
ORDER GRANTING DEFENDANT’S MOTION TO DISMISS
COMPLAINT OR FOR A NEW TRIAL
On April 10, 2013, this court issued an Order Granting Defendant
Zuffa, LLC, d/b/a/ Ultimate Fighting Championship’s (“Defendant” or “Zuffa”)
Motion to Dismiss Complaint (“April 10 Order”) finding that Plaintiff William W.
Corless Jr., d/b/a Unlimited Cage Fighting Hawaii (“Plaintiff”) failed to show the
existence of “a justiciable case or controversy sufficient to confer subject matter
jurisdiction for a declaratory judgment.” Doc. No. 19, April 10 Order at 1. On
April 29, 2013, Plaintiff filed a Motion to Set Aside the Order Granting
Defendant’s Motion to Dismiss Complaint or For a New Trial. Doc. No. 21.
Plaintiff brings his Motion pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure (“FRCP” or
“Rule”) 60(b)(2) based on his contention that the court erred by misinterpreting
Hawaii law and the presentation of newly discovered evidence.
The court construes the Motion as one for Reconsideration of the
April 10 Order. As discussed below, the court finds that Plaintiff failed to
demonstrate a basis for reconsideration and therefore, the Motion is DENIED.
The relevant factual and procedural background in this case is set
forth in the April 10 Order and need not be repeated here. On April 10, 2013, the
Clerk of Court entered Judgment. Doc. No. 20. On April 29, 2013, Plaintiff filed
the instant Motion. Pursuant to Local Rule 7.2(d), the court finds this matter
suitable for disposition without a hearing.
III. STANDARD OF REVIEW
A motion for reconsideration filed within twenty-eight days of entry
of judgment is considered under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 59(e); a later-filed
motion is considered under Rule 60(b). United States v. Comprehensive Drug
Testing, Inc., 513 F.3d 1085, 1098 (9th Cir. 2008) (quoting Am. Ironworks &
Erectors, Inc. v. N. Am. Constr. Corp., 248 F.3d 892, 898-99 (9th Cir. 2001)).
Because Plaintiff filed his Motion for Reconsideration within twenty-eight days of
judgment, the court analyzes his motion pursuant to Rule 59(e).1
Rule 59(e) authorizes a court to alter or amend judgment. “A district
court has considerable discretion when considering a motion to amend a judgment
under Rule 59(e).” Turner v. Burlington N. Santa Fe R.R. Co., 338 F.3d 1058,
1063 (9th Cir. 2003). The Ninth Circuit set forth the following grounds justifying
reconsideration under Rule 59(e):
(1) if such motion is necessary to correct manifest errors
of law or fact upon which the judgment rests; (2) if such
motion is necessary to present newly discovered or
previously unavailable evidence; (3) if such motion is
necessary to prevent manifest injustice: or (4) if the
amendment is justified by an intervening change in
Allstate Ins. Co. v. Herron, 634 F.3d 1101, 1111 (9th Cir. 2011). There may also
be other, highly unusual, circumstances warranting reconsideration.” Sch. Dist.
No. 1J, Multnomah Cnty., Or. v. ACandS, Inc., 5 F.3d 1255, 1263 (9th Cir. 1993)
(citation omitted); see also Turner, 338 F.3d at 1063; Circuit City Stores, Inc. v.
Mantor, 417 F.3d 1060, 1063-64 n.1 (9th Cir. 2005); In re Syncor ERISA Litig.,
516 F.3d 1095, 1100 (9th Cir. 2008).
Plaintiff filed his Motion pursuant to Rule 60(b)(2) -- although the court construes his
Motion as brought under Rule 59(e), the court’s analysis and ruling would be the same, whether
under Rule 59(e) or 60(b)(2).
In the April 10 Order, this court found that pursuant to Hawaii
Revised Statutes (“HRS”) Chapter 440E, mixed martial arts (“MMA”) promoters
must be licensed (HRS § 440E-6) and promoters must obtain a permit to hold an
MMA event (HRS § 440E-7(a)). Doc. No. 19, April 10 Order at 8. Based, in part,
on these provisions, the court ruled that Plaintiff’s conduct, in conjunction with his
lack of a license and permit, fell “well short of the significant, concrete steps to
conduct potentially infringing activity necessary to confer jurisdiction on the
court.” Doc. No. 19, April 10 Order at 9.
Plaintiff argues that the court erred by failing to consider § 440E-26,
This chapter shall not apply to any mixed martial arts
contest held as a recreational activity by active duty
armed forces, armed forces reserve, or national guard
personnel, or the Police Activities League, when the
contest is held under the supervision of a recreational
officer of the active duty armed forces, armed forces
reserve, national guard, or a Police Activities League
HRS § 440E-26. Plaintiff contends that Hawaii law thus allows a promoter to hold
an MMA event “through Military recreation programs or at any location in Hawaii
with a staff member from the PAL without the requirement of obtaining a
promoter’s license . . . [and therefore,] the case should not have been dismissed.”
Doc. No. 21, Motion at 3.
In addition, Plaintiff states that he has now obtained a promoter’s
license and therefore, the court’s finding that his lack of a license precluded the
existence of a case or controversy is now moot. Id. Plaintiff further provides
evidence of a proposed license agreement between Defendant and Plaintiff that he
received on January 11, 2013, and that he rejected by email dated January 14,
2013. Plaintiff contends that this evidence supports his contention that he “has
done everything he can short of actual infringement.” Id. at 5.
The court did not misinterpret Hawaii law. While Chapter 440E does
not apply in some specific and extremely limited circumstances, at no time did
Plaintiff ever suggest that the event he planned would qualify as one these limited
circumstances. That is, he made no such allegation in his Complaint, Opposition to
the Motion to Dismiss, during the hearing before this court, or even in the instant
Motion. Furthermore, if Plaintiff planned such an event, he would have known it
at the time he filed both his Complaint and Opposition and therefore, any evidence
that § 440E-26 applies to this case is neither newly discovered nor previously
unavailable.2 Absent any factual evidence to suggest the application of § 440E-26
to this case, Plaintiff’s argument is without merit.
Furthermore, evidence that Plaintiff now presents: (1) that Defendant sent, and he
rejected, a license agreement to use an octagonal shaped fighting cage in January
2013; and (2) that he now holds a promoter’s license, is either irrelevant or neither
newly discovered nor previously unavailable. Plaintiff filed his Opposition two
months after he rejected the license agreement and could have included this
evidence at that time. And, as the court explained, a “case or controversy must
‘exist at the time the claim for declaratory relief is filed.’” Doc. No. 19, April 10
Order at 6 (citing Matthews Int’l Group v. Biosafe Eng’g, LLC, 695 F.3d 1322,
1328 (Fed. Cir. 2012)). Plaintiff filed his Complaint on December 18, 2012, a
month before he received and rejected the license agreement and four months
before obtaining his license.
Finally, the court dismissed Plaintiff’s Complaint without prejudice.
Accordingly, Plaintiff is free to file a new action should circumstances change
To base a motion for reconsideration on the discovery of new evidence, Plaintiff is
“obliged to show not only that this evidence was newly discovered or unknown to it until after
the hearing, but also that it could not with reasonable diligence have discovered and produced
such evidence at the hearing.” Frederick S. Wyle Prof’l Corp. v. Texaco, Inc., 764 F.2d 604, 609
(9th Cir. 1985) (citation and quotation signals omitted); see also Wallis v. J.R. Simplot Co., 26
F.3d 885, 892 n. 6 (9th Cir. 1994) (“Evidence is not newly discovered if it was in the party’s
possession at the time of summary judgment or could have been discovered with reasonable
sufficiently to warrant declaratory relief. No acts by Plaintiff or new evidence
obtained after December 18, 2012 could apply retroactively to establish a “case or
controversy” in this case -- it would have to be reviewed in a new case.
Because Plaintiff failed to demonstrate a basis for reconsideration
pursuant to Rule 59(e), the court DENIES Plaintiff’s Motion to Set Aside the
Order Granting Defendant’s Motion to Dismiss Complaint or for a New Trial.
IT IS SO ORDERED.
DATED: Honolulu, Hawaii, May 1, 2013.
/s/ J. Michael Seabright
J. Michael Seabright
United States District Judge
Corless v. Zuffa, LLC, Civ. No. 12-00689 JMS-RLP; Order Denying Plaintiff’s Motion to Set
Aside the Order Granting Defendant’s Motion to Dismiss Complaint or for a New Trial