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Mercado-Salinas v Bart Enter. Reconsideration

Mercado-Salinas v Bart Enter. Reconsideration

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Published by: propertyintangible on Sep 07, 2012
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11/11/2012

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IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURTFOR THE DISTRICT OF PUERTO RICOWALTER MERCADO-SALINAS, et al.,Plaintiffs,v.BART ENTERPRISESINTERNATIONAL, LTD., et al., Defendants.Civil No. 09-1509 (GAG)OPINION AND ORDER 
Presently before the court are Defendants’ motion to alter or amend judgment (Docket No.433) and Plaintiffs’ motion for partial reconsideration (Docket No. 434). For the reasons set forthherein, the court
DENIES
Defendants’ motion to alter or amend judgment and
GRANTS in part
and
DENIES in part
Plaintiffs’ motion for partial reconsideration. The claims not addressed by thecourt at this time are contingent upon the findings of the jury and are therefore not considered at thistime.
I.Standard of Review
Motions for reconsideration are generally considered under F
ED
.R.C
IV
.P.
 
59(e) or 60,depending on the time such motion is served. Perez-Perez v. Popular Leasing Rental, Inc., 993 F.2d281, 284 (1st Cir. 1993). Whether under Rule 59 or Rule 60, a motion for reconsideration cannot be used as a vehicle to relitigate matters already litigated and decided by the court.Villanueva-Mendez v. Vazquez, 360 F. Supp. 2d 320, 322 (D.P.R. 2005). A motion for reconsideration is entertained by a court if it seeks to correct a manifest error of law or fact, presentsnewly discovered evidence, or when there is an intervening change in law. See Rivera Surillo & Co.v. Falconer Glass. Indus. Inc., 37 F.3d 25, 29 (1st Cir. 1994) (citing F.D.I.C. Ins. Co. v. World Univ.,Inc., 978 F.2d 10, 16 (1st Cir. 1992); Cherena v. Coors Brewing Co., 20 F. Supp. 2d 282, 286 (D.P.R. 1998)). It is “very difficult to prevail” on a Rule 59(e) motion. Marie v. Allied Home Mortg.Corp., 402 F.3d 1, 7 n.2 (1st Cir. 2005) (citations omitted); see also Villanueva-Mendez, 360 F.
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Civil No. 09-1509 (GAG)
Supp. 2d at 324 (noting that motions for reconsideration are “typically denied”). A motion for reconsideration may not be used by the losing party “to repeat old arguments previously consideredand rejected, or to raise new legal theories that should have been raised earlier.” Nat’l MetalFinishing Co., Inc. v. BarclaysAm./ Commercial, Inc ., 899 F.2d 119, 123 (1st Cir. 1990); see, e.g.,United States v. $23,000 in U.S. Currency, 356 F.3d 157, 165 n.9 (1st Cir. 2004) (“The repetitionof previous arguments is not sufficient to prevail on a Rule 59(e) motion.”); F.D.I.C. Ins. Co., 978F.2d at 16 (motions under Rule 59(e) “may not be used to argue a new legal theory.”).
II. DiscussionA.Defendants’ Motion at Docket No. 433
Defendants’ move the court to alter or amend its March 31, 2012 Opinion and Order (Docket No. 429) to clarify that the Mark is not subject to reversion and that Bart does not owe additionalmonies to Mercado for the assignment of the Mark. (See Docket No. 433 at 10.) Defendants’arguments constitute a rehashing of arguments previously presented at the summary judgment stage,which the court has already considered. Moreover, the court highlights that the reversion issue hasalready been determined by the Florida Court. (See Docket No. 133-23 at 15-16.) Accordingly, thecourt
DENIES
Defendants’ motion at Docket No. 433.
B.Plaintiffs’ Motion at Docket No. 434
Plaintiffs move for the reconsideration of various determinations made by the court in itsOpinion and Order granting Defendants’ summary judgment and denying their summary judgment(Docket No. 429).Plaintiffs seek reconsideration of the court’s determination that Bart is the owner of theMark. Plaintiffs argue that the court committed an error of law by granting summary judgment because there are genuine issues of material fact as to the parties intention to compensate Mercadoafter the Additional Services Period had ended. This is dispositive of the issue. Plaintiffs argue thatif the jury finds Bart had the obligation to compensate Mercado for the assignment of the Mark after the Additional Services Period ended, Bart’s non-compliance would have constituted a valid reasonfor Mercado to terminate the Agreement in 2009 pursuant to the terms of the Agreement. Becauseall rights granted through the Agreement, including the assignment of the Mark, would revert back 2
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Civil No. 09-1509 (GAG)
to Mercado upon valid termination, summary judgment should not have been granted on thetrademark ownership issue. The court notes that although it considered all of the evidence presentedin relation to this issue, it did not consider the fact that Mercado was not obligated to performservices past 2007, when the court determined Mercado could not validly terminate the Agreement because he was in breach. (See Docket No. 429 at 14.) Accordingly, the court finds that itcommitted a manifest error of fact and
GRANTS
reconsideration on this ground.The court
DENIES
reconsideration as to its determination regarding Paragraph 3(b) of theAgreement. Plaintiffs’ argument constitutes a rehashing of arguments already presented duringsummary judgment.Plaintiffs move for reconsideration on Plaintiffs’ claims of publicity rights, false advertising,false attribution of authorship, and tortious interference, as well as their requests for declaratoryrelief regarding trademark use and Shanti Ananda. The court denied their request for declaratory judgment on these issues because it understood them to be premised on Mercado being the rightfulowner of the Mark. (See Docket No. 429 at 18.) Plaintiffs correctly argue there are some issues thatwere not addressed by the court, which may be resolved even if the Mark is held by Defendants.(See Docket No. 434 at 11.) Accordingly, the court
GRANTS
reconsideration regarding theaforementioned claims. At this time, the court only addresses Plaintiffs’ publicity rights, falseadvertising and false attribution of authorship claims. The court finds the remaining claims to becontingent upon the findings of the jury, and therefore, should not be ruled upon by the court at thistime. Depending on the findings by the jury, the issues may become moot. As such, the court
DENIES without prejudice
Plaintiffs’ reconsideration as to the tortious interference claim as wellas the declaratory judgment regarding the use of Shanti Ananda at this time. In the event the jury’sfindings do not moot these issues, the court shall revisit them to the extent necessary.
1.Ownership, Termination, Reversion & Trademark Infringement
In its Opinion and Order of March 31, 2012, the court held that because Mercado had breached the Agreement by not rendering personal services to Bart, he could not validly terminatethe Agreement pursuant to its terms; therefore, the Mark remained the property of Bart. (See Docket No. 429 at 14.) In this respect, the court erred.3
Case 3:09-cv-01509-GAG-BJM Document 451 Filed 08/27/12 Page 3 of 12

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