Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

Liu v. Ma

United States District Court, E.D. Virginia, Alexandria Division

December 14, 2016

LUQUN LIU, Plaintiff,
v.
XIAOKUI MA, Defendant.

          MEMORANDUM OPINION

          JAMES C. CACHERIS UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT JUDGE.

         This matter is before the Court on Defendant Xiaokui Ma's (“Ma” or “Defendant”) Motion for Reconsideration [Dkt. 92]. Defendant seeks reconsideration of this Court's August 11, 2016 Order [Dkt. 90] deeming her Motion for Judgment as a Matter of Law as to Punitive Damages [Dkt. 84] withdrawn pursuant to Eastern District of Virginia Local Civil Rule 7(E). For the following reasons, the Court will deny Defendant's Motion for Reconsideration.

         I. Background

         Plaintiff brought this lawsuit for conversion, breach of fiduciary duty, fraud, and unjust enrichment against Defendant on August 13, 2015. On June 9, 2016, after a three day trial, the jury returned a verdict against Defendant for $20, 000 in compensatory damages and $160, 000 in punitive damages on Plaintiff's fraud claim. (Jury Verdict Form [Dkt. 74].)

         Defendant then filed a Motion to Set Aside the Verdict [Dkt. 79] pursuant to Rule 59(a) on July 6, 2016. Defendant noticed the Motion to Set Aside the Verdict for a hearing on August 4, 2016, in compliance with Local Civil Rule 7(E). (Notice of Hearing Date re Motion To Set Aside Verdict [Dkt. 81].)

         On July 11, 2016, Defendant filed another post-trial motion, her Motion for Judgment as a Matter of Law as to Punitive Damages [Dkt. 84]. Defendant failed to file either a waiver of oral argument on this motion, or a notice of oral argument on this motion. Accordingly, the Motion for Judgment as a Matter of Law was deemed withdrawn pursuant to Local Civil Rule 7(E) on August 11, 2016, thirty-one (31) days after Defendant had filed the motion. Defendant then filed this Motion for Reconsideration on August 18, 2016, and noticed it for oral argument on August 25, 2016. The Motion for Reconsideration has now been fully briefed and argued and is ripe for decision.

         II. Legal Standard

         Defendant asks the Court to amend its previous Order of August 11, 2016 pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 60(b). Specifically, Defendant asks the Court to grant relief pursuant to Rule 60(b)(1) because of “mistake, inadvertence, surprise, or excusable neglect, ” or under the catch-all provision of Rule 60(b)(6). In order to obtain relief under Rule 60(b) the moving party must “show (1) that the Rule 60(b) motion is timely; (2) that [the non-moving party] will not suffer unfair prejudice if the default judgement is set aside; and (3) that that [the movant's defense] is meritorious.” Westlake Legal Group v. Yelp, Inc., 599 F. App'x 481, 484 (4th Cir. 2015)(quoting Heyman v. M.L. Mktg. Co., 116 F.3d 91, 94 n. 3 (4th Cir. 1997)). When the moving party seeks relief under the catch-all provision of subsection (b)(6), she must also show the existence of “extraordinary circumstances.” Murchison v. Astrue, 466 F. App'x 225, 229 (4th Cir. 2012)(quoting Reid v. Angelone, 369 F.3d 363, 370 (4th Cir. 2004)). “[E]xtraordinary circumstances [are those] that create a substantial danger that the underlying judgment was unjust.” Id. (alterations in original)(quoting Margoles v. Johns, 798 F.2d 1069, 1073 (7th Cir. 1986)).

         III. Analysis

         The parties do not dispute that Plaintiff's Motion for Reconsideration was timely. Accordingly, the Court will focus on the other requirements of Rule 60(b), addressing the general threshold requirements that there be no unfair prejudice and the demonstration of a meritorious defense before turning to the specific requirements of excusable neglect or extraordinary circumstances.

         A. Unfair Prejudice to the Non-Moving Party

         Plaintiff argues that she would be prejudiced if the Court were to grant Defendant's Motion for Reconsideration because she would be forced to litigate Plaintiff's post trial Motion for Judgment as a Matter of Law as to Punitive Damages. (Pl.'s Mem. in Opp. [Dkt. 95], at 2.) This would undeniably prejudice Plaintiff, as the deadline for filing a Motion for Judgment as a Matter of Law has since passed, and if the Court does not grant Defendant's Motion for Reconsideration, Defendant will be unable to renew that motion. But this prejudice is not the kind of unfair prejudice the Court is concerned with in the context of a Rule 60(b) motion. The prejudice to the non-moving party must be more substantial to preclude a Rule 60(b) motion. See Werner v. Carbo, 731 F.2d 204, 206-07 (4th Cir. 1984) (finding no unfair prejudice where “the only prejudice claimed by [movant] is that presented when any judgment is vacated: the protraction of proceedings, the time and expense of a new trial, the loss of post-judgment interest”). Defendant has therefore succeeded in demonstrating that granting her Motion for Reconsideration would not inflict any unfair prejudice on Plaintiff. Defendant, however, cannot similarly demonstrate that her Motion for Judgment as a Matter of Law was meritorious, that her failure to notice a hearing for Motion for Judgment as a Matter of Law was the result of excusable neglect, or that this case presents extraordinary circumstances.

         B. Meritorious Defense

         This case is unusual in the context of Rule 60(b) motions, as rather than requesting relief from the judgment, the Rule 60(b) motion is requesting relief from an Order deeming Defendant's prior motion seeking relief from the judgment withdrawn. This ...


Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.