Philips Lighting Company v. Schneider et al
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER: The Clerk of Court is respectfully directed to correct the October 10, 2008 judgment [Dkt. 40] as follows: Defendant, Barry A. Schneider, is liable to Philips Lighting Company in the amount of$206,199.46, plus $35,781.54 in attorney's fees, plus9% interest per annum from February 2, 2007 until the date of entry of judgment, October 10, 2008. Ordered by Judge Sandra L. Townes on 8/28/2014. (Attachments: # 1 Copy of Document 99) (Brown, Marc)
IN °CLERK'S OFFICE
U.S. DISTRICT COURT E.D.N.Y.
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
EASTERN DISTRICT OF NEW YORK
PHILIPS LIGHTING COMPANY,
a division of Philips Electronics North America
AUG 2 S 2014
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER
05-cv-4820 (SLT) (MDG)
- againstBARRY A. SCHNEIDER,
TOWNES, United States District Judge:
On July 2, 2014, this Court issued a memorandum and order (attached herein) denying
Defendant Barry A. Schneider's second motion, pursuant to Rule 60 of the Federal Rules of
Civil Procedure, to vacate this Court's order granting Plaintiff Philips Lighting Company
("Plaintiff' or "Philips") summary judgment and stay execution of judgment in connection with
a 1985 agreement in which Schneider agreed to personally guarantee certain debts of Eltron
Supply, Ltd. ("Eltron"). The Court reserved decision as to the amount of damages and requested
further briefing because it appeared that Plaintiff pursued an inflated damages figure and the
Court had not been fully apprised of amounts Plaintiff received from Eltron's bankruptcy estate
in satisfaction of the debt. Having reviewed the subsequent factual submissions, the Court now
grants Plaintiffs motion to modify the judgment pursuant to Rule 60(b)(5).
A. Principal Amount
This Court has already concluded that Schneider is liable on half of the debt owed by
Eltron. (Dkt. 39, September 30, 2008 Order at 12.) In Plaintiffs August 1, 2014 letter to the
Court, Plaintiff maintains that Eltron's debt to it is $578,635.14. However, the evidence before
the Court shows that on July 19, 2004, Plaintiff stipulated with Eltron's bankruptcy trustee that
Eltron owed it $468,635.14. (See Dkt. 99, July 2, 2014 Order, at 23.) Although Plaintiff has
omitted any mention of this stipulation from its August I, 2014 statement on damages, the
stipulation itself is in the record. (Dkt. 78-6, July I, 2009 Lebensfeld Deel., Ex. F, Stip. signed
by Plaintiffs Counsel on July 19, 2005, ii I.)
The Court holds Plaintiff to its stipulation. CIT
Grp./Equip. Fin., Inc. v. Shapiro, 09 CIV. 409 JPO, 2013 WL 1285269, at *5 (S.D.N.Y. Mar. 29,
2013) (holding a plaintiff to a stipulation as to the reasonable value of certain equipment).
In its August I, 2014 letter, Plaintiff admits that it received distributions in the amount of
$46,863.51 and $9,372.70 from the Eltron bankruptcy estate, in satisfaction ofE!tron's debt.
Accordingly, $56,236.21 is subtracted from the initial $468,635.14 debt, leaving a total of
$412,398.93. Defendant is liable for half of that amount: $206,199.47.
B. Prejudgment Interest
In its September 30, 2008 Order, this Court awarded Plaintiff prejudgment interest of9%
from October 3, 2003 through the entry of judgment, which was entered on October 10, 2008,
totaling $130,620.92. (Dkt. 40, Clerk's Judgment). Under applicable law, Plaintiff is entitled to
prejudgment interest as a matter of right. 1 However, it appears that in its motion for summary
judgment, Plaintiff sought pre-judgment interest from February 2, 2007. (Dkt. 30-3, Plaintiffs
Proposed Order.) Accordingly, the prejudgment interest award is corrected to run from the date
sought by Plaintiff in its papers, February 2, 2007. Accordingly, Plaintiff is entitled, as a matter
"Under New York C.P.L.R. § 5001, a creditor is entitled to prejudgment interest on all
sums due, as of the date they became due." HSH Nordbank AG New York Branch v. Swerdlow,
08 CIV. 613 l(DLC), 2010 WL 1141145, at *5 (S.D.N.Y. Mar. 24, 2010) ajf'd sub nom. HSH
Nordbank AG New York Branch v. St., 421 F. App'x 70 (2d Cir. 2011) (summary order) (citing
N.Y. C.P.L.R. § 5001; Capital Ventures Int'! v. Republic ofArgentina, 552 F.3d 289, 296 (2d
Cir. 2009). "'While awards of interest are generally discretionary, New York law does not permit
the trial court to exercise any discretion where a party is entitled to prejudgment interest as a
matter of right."' Id. (quoting Capital Ventures, 552 F.3d at 296 (citation omitted in original)).
oflaw, to prejudgment interest of9% per annum from February 2, 2007 until the date of entry of
judgment, October I 0, 2008.
C. Reasonable Attorney's Fees
In this Court's September 30, 2008 Order, Plaintiff was awarded $35,781.54 in attorney's
fees. Plaintiff now seeks an additional award of attorney's fees in the amount of $23,974.85, for
representation between October 10, 2008 through August 31, 2009. Under the March 14, 1985
Guarantee Agreement between the parties, Plaintiff is entitled to "reasonable counsel fees
incurred ... by reason of default in payment of [Eltron's] indebtedness." (Comp!. Ex. I.)
Pursuant to this provision, the Court previously granted Plaintiffs request for attorney's fees.
However, Defendant Schneider appealed, and prevailed on appeal, largely because Plaintiff
sought an inflated damages figure and did not reveal to the Court that Plaintiff had received
distributions from Eltron's bankruptcy estate reducing Plaintiffs debts. The additional years of
litigation are attributable to Plaintiffs counsel's litigation tactics and could have been avoided if
Plaintiffs counsel had been forthright with the Court. Accordingly, the additional attorney's
fees sought are not "reasonable counsel fees incurred ... by reason of[Eltron's] default" and the
application for an additional award of attorney's fees to Plaintiff is denied. Plaintiff is entitled
to $35,781.54 in attorney's fees.
For the foregoing reasons, the Clerk of Court is respectfully directed to correct the
October I 0, 2008 judgment [Dkt. 40] as follows: Defendant, Barry A. Schneider, is liable to
Philips Lighting Company in the amount of$206,199.46, plus $35,781.54 in attorney's fees, plus
9% interest per annum from February 2, 2007 until the date of entry of judgment, October I 0,
Judge Sandra L. Townes
United States District Judge
Dated: ~i(f, 2014
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