Armada (Singapore) PTE Limited v. Amcol International Corp. et al
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER: Signed by the Honorable Elaine E. Bucklo on 5/9/2017. MAILED notice(ks, )
IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
FOR THE NORTHERN DISTRICT OF ILLINOIS
ARMADA (SINGAPORE) PTE
CORPORATION, ET AL.,
No. 13 C 3455
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER
In 2013, plaintiff Armada (Singapore) Pte. Ltd. (“Armada”)
sued defendant Amcol International Corporation and two of its
subsidiaries, asserting claims under the Racketeer Influenced
and Corrupt Organizations Act (“RICO”), 18 U.S.C. § 1964;
several claims under Illinois law; and a claim under maritime
law. On March 21, 2017, I issued a memorandum opinion and order
(“the March 21 Order”) granting the defendants’ Rule 12(c)
motion for judgment on the pleadings as to Armada’s RICO claims
and its claims under Illinois law. See Armada (Singapore) Pte
Ltd. v. Amcol Int’l Corp., No. CV 13 C 3455, 2017 WL 1062322
(N.D. Ill. Mar. 21, 2017). I denied the defendants’ motion
insofar as it sought dismissal of Armada’s claim under maritime
Before me is Armada’s motion pursuant to Rule 60(b)(6) of
the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure seeking reconsideration and
vacatur of my dismissal of its RICO claims. In the alternative,
Armada requests that I amend the March 21 Order to certify the
underlying legal issue for interlocutory review pursuant to 28
U.S.C. § 1292(b). For the reasons below, I deny the motion for
reconsideration and vacatur; however, I grant Armada’s request
for certification under § 1292(b).
I. Motion for Reconsideration
At the outset, I agree with the Amcol defendants that Rule
60(b)(6) does not authorize Armada’s motion, which seeks
reconsideration of an interlocutory order. See Chicago Regional
Council of Carpenters v. Prate Installations, Inc., No. 10 C
5431, 2011 WL 2469820, at *1 (N.D. Ill.
June 20, 2011) (St.
Eve, J.). While such relief may be available pursuant to Rule
54(b), it is appropriate only to correct “manifest errors of law
or fact.” Id. Armada has not identified any such errors.
My dismissal of Armada’s RICO claims was based on the
Supreme Court’s decision in RJR Nabisco, Inc. v. European
Community, 136 S. Ct. 2090 (2016). The question presented in RJR
Nabisco was whether RICO’s private right of action in § 1964(c)
applied extraterritorially -- i.e., whether the provision
applied “to injuries that are suffered in foreign countries.”
Id. at 2108. The Court answered the question in the negative,
holding that to state a claim under § 1964(c), a “plaintiff
[must] allege and prove a domestic injury to business or
property.” Id. at 2111.
Armada’s RICO claims were based on Amcol’s alleged
interference with its attempts to collect on a debt it was owed
by Ashapura Minechem Limited (“Ashapura”), an Amcol subsidiary
that became insolvent. Because Armada is a foreign corporation,
and because its alleged injury was economic in nature, I held
that the injury was suffered in Armada’s principal place of
business (i.e., Singapore). Accordingly, I dismissed Armada’s
RICO claims for failing to assert a domestic injury.
Although Armada contends that this ruling was mistaken, the
arguments it presents are the same as those previously advanced
in its brief in opposition to Amcol’s motion for judgment on the
pleadings. “Reconsideration is not an appropriate forum for
rehashing previously rejected arguments.” Caisse Nationale de
Credit Agricole v. CBI Industries, Inc., 90 F.3d 1264, 1270 (7th
Cir. 1996). Armada again argues that a proper reading of RJR
Nabisco indicates that the relevant question for purposes of
RICO’s domestic-injury requirement is the location of the
business or property injured, not where the injury was suffered.
The only novel feature of this argument is its citation to postRJR Nabisco district court decisions, e.g., Tatung Co., Ltd. v.
Shu Tze Hzu, 13-cv-1743, 2016 WL 6683201 (C.D. Cal. Nov. 14,
2016), and Akishev v. Kapustin, 13-cv-7152, 2016 WL 7165714
(D.N.J. Dec. 8, 2016). But I considered these decisions prior to
issuing the March 21 Order. The cases are distinguishable to
varying degrees, and to the extent they may be on point, I find
the contrary line of authority more persuasive.
For these reasons, I decline to vacate the dismissal of
Armada’s RICO claims.
II. Certification Pursuant to § 1292(b)
Alternatively, Armada seeks certification of the domesticrequirement issue for interlocutory review pursuant to § 1292.
The Seventh Circuit has identified four criteria to be
considered in determining whether to grant a § 1292(b) petition:
“there must be a question of law, it must be controlling, it
must be contestable, and its resolution must promise to speed up
the litigation.” Ahrenholz v. Bd. of Trustees of Univ. of
Illinois, 219 F.3d 674, 675 (7th Cir. 2000).1 An order may be
certified for interlocutory appeal only if all four requirements
are met. Id. at 676. The Seventh Circuit has stated that “§
1292(b) ... must be used sparingly lest interlocutory review
“There is also a nonstatutory requirement: the petition must be
filed in the district court within a reasonable time after the
order sought to be appealed.” Ahrenholz v. Bd. of Trustees of
Univ. of Illinois, 219 F.3d 674, 675 (7th Cir. 2000). There is
no specific time limit for seeking certification under § 1292(b)
must be brought. See, e.g., Richardson Elecs., Ltd. v. Panache
Broad. of Pennsylvania, Inc., 202 F.3d 957, 958 (7th Cir. 2000)
Here, the motion was filed less than a month after the March 21
Order. Accordingly, I find that it has been timely-filed.
increase the time and expense required for litigation.” Asher v.
Baxter Int’l Inc., 505 F.3d 736, 741 (7th Cir. 2007).
I conclude that the question concerning the proper
understanding of RICO’s domestic-injury requirement is
appropriate for interlocutory appeal. First, the question is one
of law. As the Seventh Circuit has explained, a question of law
is one “the court of appeals could decide quickly and cleanly
without having to study the record.” Ahrenholz, 219 F.3d at 676–
77. Although the facts surrounding the transactions and various
corporate entities in this case are complex, the question at
issue here is a very narrow and purely legal one. The parties do
not dispute the nature of Armada’s injury or even where the
injury was suffered. Their dispute centers on the proper way of
determining whether the injury should be deemed foreign or
domestic for purposes of § 1964(c).
Second, the question is contested. As noted in the March 21
Order, RJR Nabisco itself acknowledged that applying its holding
“in any given case will not always be self-evident, as disputes
may arise as to whether a particular alleged injury is ‘foreign’
or “‘domestic.’” RJR Nabisco, 136 S. Ct. at 2111. While I remain
unpersuaded by Armada’s arguments, they are not implausible and,
as noted above, they are supported to some degree by case
authority. See, e.g., Cevdet Aksüt Oğullari Koll. Sti v.
Cavusoglu, No. CV 2:14-3362, 2017 WL 1157862, at *4 (D.N.J. Mar.
28, 2017) (“Several district courts have considered the meaning
of “domestic injury” in light of the Supreme Court’s RJR
decision.... [T]wo separate, and apparently conflicting, lines
of reasoning have emerged from these opinions. The first line
... focuses on where the alleged injury was suffered. The second
line ... focuses on where the conduct occurred that caused the
Third, the question is “controlling.” A question is
“controlling” for purposes of § 1292(b) if its “resolution is
quite likely to affect the further course of the litigation,
even if not certain to do so.” Sokaogon Gaming Enter. Corp. v.
Tushie-Montgomery Assocs., Inc., 86 F.3d 656, 659 (7th Cir.
1996). Importantly, a question may be controlling “even though
its decision might not lead to reversal on appeal, if
interlocutory reversal might save time for the district court,
and time and expense for the litigants.” Johnson v. Burken, 930
F.2d 1202, 1206 (7th Cir. 1991) (quotation marks omitted). In
short, the Seventh Circuit has explained, “controlling” means
“serious to the conduct of the litigation, either practically or
legally.” Id. (quotation marks omitted). The question of whether
Armada suffered a domestic injury for purposes of its RICO
claims is serious to the litigation. Given that Armada’s statelaw claims have been dismissed, its RICO claims are its central
causes of action. This is especially so in light of the fact
that the relief available to Armada under RICO -- i.e., treble
damages -- is greater than that recoverable for its claim under
maritime law. Thus, if Armada has suffered a domestic injury and
its RICO claims are viable, the stakes of the litigation will be
considerably greater than will be the case if it is able to
pursue only its maritime claim.
Finally, interlocutory review will potentially speed up the
litigation. To be sure, this presents a somewhat closer
question, and the question is particularly relevant in view of
the fact that the suit has been pending since 2013. Moreover, a
decision on the domestic-injury issue, while dispositive of the
RICO claims, will not end the litigation. Nevertheless, “[t]he
promise to speed up the litigation does not require that the
interlocutory appeal resolve the matter in its entirety; it is
sufficient that an interlocutory appeal would remove uncertainty
about the status of a claim that might delay settlement or
resolution.” F.D.I.C. v. Mahajan, No. 11 C 7590, 2013 WL
3771419, at *3 (N.D. Ill. July 16, 2013) (citing Sterk v. Redbox
Automated Retail, LLC, 672 F.3d 535, 536 (7th Cir. 2012)).
Interlocutory review will resolve the uncertainty regarding the
status of Armada’s RICO claims. And given the centrality of the
RICO claims to the litigation, clarification of the domesticinjury issue may facilitate resolution of the suit by settlement
or other means.
In short, I conclude that the proper understanding of
RICO’s domestic-injury requirement is a controlling and
contested issue of law and that interlocutory review of the
question may advance the ultimate termination of the litigation.
Accordingly, I grant Armada’s petition for certification under
For the reasons explained above, Armada’s motion for
certification pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1292(b) is granted.
Because a § 1292(b) certification must be included in the order
certified for appeal itself, I amend the March 21 Order to
certify to the Seventh Circuit for interlocutory appeal the
question of whether Armada has properly alleged a domestic
injury to its business or property for purposes of asserting a
claim under 18 U.S.C. § 1964(c). To the extent that Armada seeks
reconsideration and vacatur of my ruling dismissing its RICO
claims, its motion is denied.
Elaine E. Bucklo
United States District Judge
Dated: May 9, 2017
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