State of South Carolina, The v. Hitachi Displays Ltd et al
ORDER denying 34 MOTION for Reconsideration of 33 Order denying Motion to Stay, allowing parties to conduct discovery limited to personal until February 23, 2014. Signed by Honorable Joseph F. Anderson, Jr on 01/10/2014.(bshr, ). Modified on 1/10/2014 to replace order with corrected version per the direction of Judge Anderson's Chambers(bshr, ).
IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
FOR THE DISTRICT OF SOUTH CAROLINA
The State of South Carolina,
Hitachi Displays, Ltd., Epson Imaging
Devices Corporation, and Sharp
C/A No.: 3:13-cv-00899-JFA
The State of South Carolina (“Plaintiff”) has moved this court to reconsider its
order that denied extending a stay to include Epson Imaging Devices Corp.
(“Defendant”). ECF No. 34. Specifically, Plaintiff contends that the court erred by
allowing the question of personal jurisdiction over Defendant to move forward, and that
the court should extend the stay to Defendant pending the United States Supreme Court’s
decision on the question related to subject-matter jurisdiction.1 See id. Alternatively,
Plaintiff seeks a brief period of jurisdictional discovery before responding to Defendant’s
motion to dismiss. Id. Defendant opposes the motion. ECF No. 35.
As motions to reconsider are not expressly contemplated by the Federal Rules of
Civil Procedure, the court will treat this motion as a Rule 54(b) motion to revise its order.
This court has stayed proceedings as to two other defendants in this case. The case is one of
four complaints on hold since April 15, 2013, pending the outcome of a petition for a writ of
certiorari filed in the Supreme Court. The question presented to the Court concerns the Class
Action Fairness Act (“CAFA”) and subject-matter jurisdiction. The Court has granted
certiorari in a similar case and heard oral arguments on the matter on November 6, 2013.
Fed. R. Civ. P. 54(b). While the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals has offered little
guidance on the standard for evaluation, it has held that motions under Rule 54(b) are
“not subject to the restrictive standards” of motions under Rule 60. Fayetteville Investors
v. Commercial Builders, Inc., 936 F.2d 1462, 1472 (4th Cir. 1991) (finding it
“unnecessary to thoroughly express [its] views on the interplay of Rules 60, 59, and 54”).
Thus, this court turns to cases involving Rule 59 for guidance.
A court’s reconsideration under Rule 59 “is an extraordinary remedy that should
be applied sparingly.” EEOC v. Lockheed Martin Corp., 116 F.3d 110, 112 (4th Cir.
1997). Accordingly, the Fourth Circuit has held that a court should grant a motion to
reconsider only when (1) an intervening change in controlling law occurs; (2) additional
evidence not previously available has been presented; or (3) the prior decision was based
on clear error or would work manifest injustice. Hutchinson v. Staton, 994 F.2d 1076,
1081 (4th Cir. 1993). As a result, Rule 59 motions are neither an opportunity “to make
arguments that could have been made before the judgment was entered,” Hill v. Braxton,
277 F.3d 701, 708 (4th Cir. 2002), nor a chance to rehash issues already ruled upon
because a party disagrees with the result. See Tran v. Tran, 166 F. Supp. 2d 793, 798
In this case, Plaintiff contends that this court erred in its application of the law to
the facts of this case, urging the court to take another look at the framework of Ruhrgas
AG v. Marathon Oil Co., 526 U.S. 574 (1999), which addresses the issue of jurisdictional
hierarchy. Additionally, Plaintiff submits that this court’s previous orders on subject-
matter jurisdiction in related cases should control the proceedings and preclude resolution
of personal jurisdiction.
Plaintiff’s arguments are not new. Instead, these are the same issues the court
considered in denying the motion to stay. In light of the Supreme Court’s decision to
grant certiorari to resolve a conflict among circuits on the question of subject-matter
jurisdiction raised in this case, it is not error to address the issue of personal jurisdiction
as to Defendant first. Furthermore, while allowing the previous orders in related case to
control might support “finality and efficiency [in] the judicial process,” Christianson v.
Colt Indus. Operating Corp., 486 U.S. 800, 816 (1988), so too does letting Defendant out
of this case if it turns out that the court lacks personal jurisdiction.
In the view of this court, the motion presents neither new controlling law, nor new
evidence, nor points out a clear legal error. Because Plaintiff has not advanced any
arguments compelling the court to reconsider its order denying an extension of the stay,
the court hereby denies Plaintiff’s motion. However, the court will allow the parties to
conduct discovery limited to personal jurisdiction until February 23, 2014. A regular
briefing schedule will resume after that.
IT IS SO ORDERED.
January 10, 2014,
Columbia, South Carolina
Joseph F. Anderson, Jr.
United States District Judge
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