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Sussman v. Financial Guards, LLC

United States District Court, E.D. Louisiana

January 18, 2017

EDDIE SUSSMAN, SR. ET AL.
v.
FINANCIAL GUARDS, LLC ET AL.

         SECTION: “H” (4)

          ORDER AND REASONS

          JANE TRICHE MILAZZO UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE

         Before the Court are Defendant Daniel Dragan's Motion for Relief from Judgment (Doc. 45) and Motion for Reconsideration (Doc. 46). For the following reasons, the Motions are DENIED.

         BACKGROUND

         Plaintiffs Eddie Sussmann, Sr. and Leading Edge Financial Services LLC (“Leading Edge”) brought this action against former employee Daniel Dragan (“Dragan”) and his company, Financial Guards, LLC (“Financial Guards”). In their Complaint, Plaintiffs allege that Dragan worked as an independent contractor managing IT and marketing for Leading Edge for many years before he was terminated on May 15, 2015. They allege that shortly after his termination, Dragan formed Defendant Financial Guards. Plaintiffs allege that Defendants then converted Plaintiffs' assets and confidential information and refused to return them. Plaintiffs allege that, among other things, Defendants used the converted property to create websites and alter an existing website, lifeguy.com, with the intention of confusing customers of Leading Edge and attracting customers to Financial Guards.

         Plaintiffs filed an Amended Complaint on August 21, 2015 and served both Defendants. After Defendant Financial Guards failed to answer or otherwise make an appearance in this matter, Plaintiffs moved for the entry of default and a default judgment, which this Court granted on July 21, 2016. In doing so, the Court found that it had personal and subject matter jurisdiction over Financial Guards and that Plaintiffs had pleaded allegations against it under the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act, the Lanham Act, the Louisiana Unfair Trade Practices Act, the Louisiana Uniform Trade Secrets Act, and state law conversion. The Court entered a permanent injunction at Plaintiffs' request, stating that:

1. Financial Guards, LLC is hereby enjoined from utilizing Plaintiffs' trade secrets or other confidential and proprietary information; enjoined from accessing Plaintiffs' website platforms, email systems, and telephone systems; ordered to return any and all trade secrets, property, and information belonging to Plaintiffs in their possession, custody, or control, including all login credentials and passwords to any database, web portal, or web domain belonging to Plaintiffs; and ordered to delete and destroy any and all copies of confidential and proprietary information belonging to Plaintiffs, including, but not limited to, files maintained on any computer, drive, or email account in their possession or to which they have access or over which they have control, whether in hard copy or in electronic format;
2. Financial Guards, LLC, together with its officers, directors, agents, partners, employees and related companies, and all persons acting in concert with them, are enjoined from copying, reproducing, distributing, advertising, promoting, or displaying the infringing website and content described in the Complaint and First Amended Complaint;
3. Financial Guards, LLC, together with its officers, directors, agents, partners, employees and related companies, and all persons acting in concert with them, are ordered to destroy all materials or articles infringing Leading Edge Financial's trade dress;

         On September 13, 2016, Defendant Dragan filed two motions for relief from this judgment. In his first motion, he seeks relief under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 60(b), arguing that the Court's judgment is based on a fraudulent misrepresentation of facts and limits the use of his personal property. In his second motion, Plaintiff seeks relief under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 59(e), setting forth the same arguments.[1] This Court will consider each motion in turn.

         LEGAL STANDARD

         Under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 59(e), a party may file a Motion to Alter or Amend a Judgment within 28 days of the entry of the judgment. Under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure Rule 60(b), a Motion for Relief from Judgment may be considered outside of this time period. While the scope of Rule 59(e) is unbounded, “Rule 60(b) relief may be invoked . . . only for the causes specifically stated in the rule.”[2] Pursuant to Rule 60, there are six reasons for which this Court is authorized to grant relief from final judgment:

         (1) mistake, inadvertence, surprise, or excusable neglect;

         (2) newly discovered evidence that, with reasonable diligence, could not have been discovered in time to move for a new trial under Rule 59(b); 3) fraud (whether previously called intrinsic or extrinsic), ...


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