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TVI, Inc. v. Harmony Enterprises, Inc.

United States District Court, W.D. Washington, Seattle

September 13, 2019

TVI, INC., a Washington corporation, Plaintiff,
v.
HARMONY ENTERPRISES, INC., a Minnesota corporation, Defendant.

          ORDER

          JOHN C. COUGHENOUR UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.

         This matter comes before the Court on Defendant's motion for reconsideration (Dkt. No. 42) of the Court's order granting Plaintiff's motion to compel and for sanctions for spoliation and discovery abuses (Dkt. No. 39). Having thoroughly considered the parties' briefing and the relevant record, the Court finds oral argument unnecessary and hereby DENIES the motion for the reasons explained herein.

         I. BACKGROUND

         The Court previously set forth the underlying facts of this case and will not restate them here. (See Dkt. No. 34.) On July 18, 2019, Plaintiff moved for an order compelling Defendant to provide complete and accurate discovery responses and imposing sanctions for spoliation of evidence and discovery abuses. (Dkt. No. 28.) Plaintiff's motion sought, inter alia, an order compelling Defendant to provide complete responses to Plaintiff's interrogatories and requests for production pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 37(a)(3)(B) and awarding Plaintiff monetary sanctions of $5, 000 to offset the “significant legal costs [incurred] to pursue accurate and complete discovery, including . . . the preparation of this motion.” (Id. at 11, 13.) In concluding its motion to compel, Plaintiff reiterated its request for monetary sanctions premised on Defendant's failure to provide requested discovery. (Id.) Defendant did not address Plaintiff's request for monetary sanctions in its response brief. (See Dkt. No. 30 at 10-12.)

         On August 13, 2019, the Court granted Plaintiff's motion. (Dkt. No. 39.) In its order, the Court found that Defendant spoliated the Mt. Vernon baler and concluded that an adverse jury instruction regarding Defendant's spoliation was an appropriate sanction. (See id. at 4-7.) The Court also found that discovery sanctions were warranted due to Defendant's failure to timely disclose discovery and accordingly awarded Plaintiff its requested monetary sanctions. (See id. at 7-8.)

         Defendant moves for reconsideration of the Court's order, arguing that the Court committed manifest error in imposing its spoliation sanction and awarding Plaintiff attorney fees. (See generally Dkt. No. 42.) The Court called for a response from Plaintiff only as to Defendant's challenge to the Court's award of attorney fees. (Dkt. No. 44.)

         II. DISCUSSION

         A. Legal Standard

         Motions for reconsideration are generally disfavored. W.D. Wash. Local Civ. R. 7(h)(1). Reconsideration is appropriate only where there is “manifest error in the prior ruling or a showing of new facts or legal authority which could not have been brought to [the Court's] attention earlier with reasonable diligence.” Id. “A motion for reconsideration should not be used to ask the court to rethink what the court had already thought through-rightly or wrongly.” Premier Harvest LLC v. AXIS Surplus Ins. Co., No. C17-0784-JCC, Dkt. No. 61 at 1 (W.D. Wash. 2017) (quoting U.S. v. Rezzonico, 32 F.Supp.2d 1112, 1116 (D. Ariz. 1998)).

         B. Spoliation Sanction

         Defendant contends that the Court committed manifest error when it found that Plaintiff is entitled to an adverse jury instruction following Defendant's spoliation of the Mt. Vernon baler. (Dkt. No. 42 at 10-13.) Defendant argues that the Court erred by looking only to Defendant's conscious disregard of its discovery obligations to determine that Defendant's degree of fault warranted an adverse jury instruction. (See id. at 10-12.) But the Court's order looked beyond Defendant's conscious disregard in finding that an adverse jury instruction was warranted. Specifically, the Court considered: Defendant's exclusive control over the Mt. Vernon baler; Defendant's substantial prior notice that it had an obligation to preserve the Mt. Vernon baler; and Defendant's subsequent conscious disregard of that obligation when it sold the Mt. Vernon baler for scrap. (See Dkt. No. 39 at 2-3, 6.) Defendant's remaining arguments opposing the Court's evaluation of Defendant's degree of fault simply restate those it raised in its response to Plaintiff's original motion. (Compare Dkt. No. 42 at 11-12, with Dkt. No. 30 at 8-9.) Thus, Defendant has not identified a manifest error in the Court's evaluation of Defendant's degree of fault in spoliating the Mt. Vernon baler. See Premier Harvest, No. C17-0784-JCC, Dkt. No. 61 at 1; W.D. Wash. Local Civ. R. 7(h)(1).

         Defendant also challenges the Court's evaluation of the degree of prejudice to Plaintiff resulting from Defendant's spoliation of the Mt. Vernon baler. (Dkt. No. 42 at 12-13.) Defendant merely reiterates the arguments it raised in response to Plaintiff's original motion, and asks the Court to reach a different conclusion at the second time of asking. (Compare Dkt. No. 42 at 12-13, with Dkt. No. 30 at 10.) Defendant's request that the Court revisit the same arguments it previously considered is insufficient to warrant reconsideration of the Court's decision. See Premier Harvest, No. C17-0784-JCC, Dkt. No. 61 at 1; W.D. Wash. Local Civ. R. 7(h)(1).

         In sum, Defendant has not identified a manifest error in the Court's determination that an adverse jury instruction is an appropriate sanction for Defendant's spoliation of the Mt. Vernon baler. Defendant's motion for reconsideration is DENIED on this ground.

         C. ...


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