United States District Court, W.D. Virginia, Charlottesville Division
GLEN E. CONRAD UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
Pharmaceuticals, Inc. ("Concordia") prevailed
before a jury on its claim that defendants Method
Pharmaceuticals, LLC and Matthew Scott Tucker (collectively,
"Method") engaged in false advertising in violation
of the Lanham Act, 15 U.S.C. § 1125(a)(1)(B). The jury
awarded Concordia $733, 200.00 in actual or compensatory
damages. On March 2, 2017, the court issued an opinion and
order granting Concordia's motion for enhanced damages,
denying its request for prejudgment interest, and denying its
motion for attorneys' fees. The court exercised its
discretion to treble the jury's damages award under 15
U.S.C. § 1117(a). The court determined that an award of
treble damages was necessary to fairly and adequately
compensate Concordia for the adverse effects of Method's
actions. Method has moved to alter or amend the judgment
under Rule 59(e) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure. The
court held a hearing on the motion via conference call on
June 9, 2017. For the reasons that follow, the motion will be
Rule 59(e) motion may be granted only in three situations:
'(1) to accommodate an intervening change in controlling
law; (2) to account for new evidence not available at trial;
or (3) to correct a clear error of law or prevent manifest
injustice.'" Mayfield v. Nat'l Ass'n
for Stock Car Auto Racing, 674 F.3d 369, 378
(4th Cir. 2012) (quoting Zinkand v. Brown, 478 F.3d
634, 637 (4th Cir. 2007)). "It is an extraordinary
remedy that should be applied sparingly" and only in
"exceptional circumstances." IcL The rule "may
not be used to relitigate old matters, or to raise arguments
or present evidence that could have been raised prior to the
entry of judgment." Exxon Shipping Co. v.
Baker. 554 U.S. 471, 486 n.5 (2008) (citation and
internal quotation marks omitted).
these principles, the court concludes that Method is not
entitled to relief under Rule 59(e). In reaching its decision
on Concordia's motion for enhanced damages, the court
carefully considered each of the factors set forth by the
United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit in
Synergistic International, LLC v. Korman, 470 F.3d
162, 175 (4th Cir. 2006). The court ultimately determined
that the majority of those factors weighed in favor of
enhancing the damages awarded to Concordia. Method does not
identify any clear error in the court's analysis.
Although Method disagrees with the court's decision and
devotes much of its briefing to rearguing its position that
the Synergistic factors weigh against an
enhancement, "mere disagreement does not support a Rule
59(e) motion." Hutchinson v. Staton, 994 F.2d
1076, 1082 (4th Cir. 1993).
same reasons, the court must reject Method's argument
that an award of treble damages is excessively punitive.
After thoroughly reviewing the testimony and evidence
presented at trial, the court ultimately found it appropriate
to treble the amount of damages awarded by the jury in order
to fairly and adequately compensate Concordia for the adverse
effects of Method's false advertising. See 15 U.S.C.
§ 1117(a) (authorizing the court to award up to three
times the amount found as actual damages, but instructing
that such an award "shall constitute compensation and
not a penalty"); see also Badger Meter, Inc. v.
Grinnell Corp., 13 F.3d 1145, 1157 (7th Cir. 1994)
(explaining that "because plaintiffs' lost profits
are notoriously difficult to prove, " section 1117(a)
permits a district court to "award up to three times the
damages plaintiff can actually prove" in order to
"approximate a fair recovery for the plaintiff). The
court carefully considered whether an award of treble damages
would constitute an impermissible penalty and ultimately
concluded that it would not. See Concordia Pharms., Inc.
v. Method Pharms., LLC, No. 3:14CV00016, 2017 U.S. Dist.
LEXIS 29342, at *20, 2017 WL 837688, at *6 (W.D. Va. Mar. 2,
2017) ("The court believes that this enhanced award is
necessary to fairly and adequately compensate Concordia for
the adverse effects of the defendants' misconduct, and
that it does not constitute an impermissible
'penalty.'") (quoting 15 U.S.C. § 1117(a)).
While Method obviously disagrees with the court's
conclusion, Method has failed to establish that it was the
product of clear error or a manifestly unjust application of
law. Accordingly, relief is not authorized under Rule
reasons stated, Method's motion to alter or amend the
judgment will be denied. The Clerk is directed to send copies
of this memorandum opinion and the accompanying order to all
counsel of record.
its initial brief in support of the pending motion, Method
also injected a new public policy argument that was not
previously presented. This new argument, which Method chose
not to pursue at the recent hearing, also provides no basis
for relief under Rule 59(e). See Pac. Ins. Co. v. Am.
Nat'l Fire Ins. Co.. 148 F.3d 396, 404 (4th Cir.
1998) (emphasizing that "Rule 59(e) may not be used to
raise new ...