Cenveo Inc v. SGS International, Inc et al
ORDER denying plaintiff's 311 Letter request to file a motion for reconsideration. (Written Opinion). Signed by Judge John R. Tunheim on July 11, 2011. (DML)
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
DISTRICT OF MINNESOTA
Civ. No. 08-5521 (JRT/AJB)
SOUTHERN GRAPHIC SYSTEMS, INC.,
MIKE AUSTIN, SHAWN AUSTIN,
TOM AUSTIN, PAUL PEDERSON,
EMILY RYAN, and SUSAN SPEARS,
DEFENDANTS’ REQUEST FOR
Richard S. Busch, KING & BALLOW LAW OFFICES, 315 Union
Street, Suite 1100, Nashville, TN 37201; Jonathan S. Parritz and Leora
Maccabee, MASLON EDELMAN BORMAN & BRAND, LLP, 90
South Seventh Street, Suite 3300, Minneapolis, MN 55402 for plaintiff;
Frederick E. Finch and Jeffrey R. Mulder, BASSFORD REMELE, P.A.,
33 South Sixth Street, Suite 3800, Minneapolis, MN 55402-3707 for
On March 25, 2011, the Court issued its order on defendants’ motion for summary
judgment, granting it in part and denying it in part. (Docket No. 302.) The Court then
denied defendants’ request for reconsideration of that order. (Docket No. 309.) On
May 4, 2011, the Court affirmed the Magistrate Judge’s recommendation denying
plaintiff Cenveo Corporation (“Cenveo”) leave to amend for punitive damages. (Docket
No. 308.) Cenveo now requests leave to file a motion to reconsider that order based on
the Court’s holding in the summary judgment order. However, the standard of proof for
summary judgment is different than that to amend for punitive damages – at summary
judgment all factual disputes are taken in a light most favorable to the non-movant
whereas to amend for punitive damages no such deference is given to the asserted facts.
As a result, the factual predicate to deny summary judgment to defendants does not
necessarily support plaintiff’s amendment for punitive damages, as plaintiff suggests.
A motion to reconsider under Local Rule 7.1(h) is the “functional equivalent” of a
motion to alter or amend the judgment under Rule 59(e) of the Federal Rules of Civil
Procedure. DuBose v. Kelly, 187 F.3d 999, 1002 (8th Cir. 1999). Requests to file such
motions are granted “only upon a showing of compelling circumstances.” D. Minn.
L.R. 7.1(h). A motion to reconsider should not be employed “to relitigate old issues,” but
rather to “afford an opportunity for relief in extraordinary circumstances.” Dale & Selby
Superette & Deli v. U.S. Dept. of Agric., 838 F. Supp. 1346, 1348 (D. Minn. 1993)
(internal quotation marks omitted) (noting that such a motion is warranted when
“evidence has been admitted or excluded improperly, evidence has been newly
discovered, or improper actions of counsel have affected the outcome of the case.”).
Plaintiff requests reconsideration, arguing that the facts utilized by the Court to
deny summary judgment are sufficient to support an amendment of the complaint to
plead punitive damages. However, a court considering a motion for summary judgment
must view the facts in the light most favorable to the non-moving party and give that
party the benefit of all reasonable inferences that can be drawn from those facts.
Matsushita Elec. Indus. Co., Ltd. v. Zenith Radio Corp., 475 U.S. 574, 587 (1986). In
contrast, to amend for punitive damages, the moving party must demonstrate “by clear
and convincing evidence” that it is entitled to allege such damages. Minn. Stat. § 549.20.
Drawing all reasonable inferences in favor of the plaintiff is not the equivalent of a
showing of “clear and convincing” evidence by the plaintiff. If it were, every denial of
summary judgment to a defendant would be sufficient for a plaintiff to amend for
punitive damages. This holding would eliminate any practical difference between the
The Court finds no error in its determination that the record supported the factual
conclusions necessary to deny summary judgment to defendants on some claims, while at
the same time did not provide clear and convincing evidence of a right to amend for
Further, to allow a motion to reconsider would only function to
relitigate issues already determined by the Magistrate Judge and affirmed by the Court.
See Dale & Selby Superette & Deli, 838 F. Supp. at 1348.
Based on the foregoing, and all the files, records, and proceedings herein, IT IS
HEREBY ORDERED that plaintiff Cenveo Corporation’s request for leave to file a
motion for reconsideration [Docket No. 311] is DENIED.
DATED: July 1, 2011
at Minneapolis, Minnesota.
JOHN R. TUNHEIM
United States District Judge
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