United States District Court, E.D. Louisiana
ORDER & REASONS
E. Fallon, United States District Judge.
the Court is Defendant Donald Rulh's Motion for
Reconsideration of the Court's Order Affirming Magistrate
Judge North's Order granting a Motion to Intervene filed
by Movant Fowler Rodriguez, LLC (“Fowler”). R.
Doc. 190. The motion is unopposed.
underlying action, Plaintiff Complete Logistical Services,
LLC (“CLS”), a Louisiana LLC that provides
contract labor to various marine industries, brings claims
against Defendants Donald Rulh, Arnold Baker, Morris Kahn,
Michelle Elwell, and Shawana Harris, alleging its former
member, Defendant Rulh, breached his fiduciary duties to CLS,
misappropriated CLS' assets, damaged CLS' image, and
took confidential and proprietary information after he was
removed from the LLC by its remaining members. R. Doc. 98 at
1-3. Based on these allegations, CLS brings claims against
Defendants for violations of the Defend Trade Secrets Act
(“DTSA”); Louisiana Uniform Trade Secrets Act
(“LUTSA”); Computer Fraud and Abuse Act
(“CFA”); Louisiana Unfair Trade Practices Act
(“LUTPA”); and for unjust enrichment; breach of
fiduciary duties, duty of loyalty, and duty of due care;
conversion; conspiracy; and fraud. Id. at 3. CLS
also seeks injunctive relief in the form of a declaratory
judgment. Id. at 4.
7, 2018, Defendants answered the complaint and filed
counterclaims against CLS and a third-party complaint against
CLS members Spencer Sens and Natchez Morice, III. R. Doc. 30.
In their counterclaim, Defendants claim CLS wrongfully seized
information from them in violation of the Defend Trade
Secrets Act and the Louisiana Unfair Trade Practices Act
(“LUTPA”). Additionally, Mr. Rulh brings claims
against CLS for breach of fiduciary duties and due care,
breach of contract, unjust enrichment, conversion, and
derivative action. Mr. Rulh also seeks an accounting of CLS.
R. Doc. 30 at 18-24. On June 25, 2018, Plaintiff moved to
dismiss Defendants' counterclaims, which the Court
granted in part, dismissing Defendants' LUTPA claim and
Defendant Rulh's claims for unjust enrichment,
conversion, and derivative action. R. Doc. 93.
until this point in the litigation, Defendants were
represented by Movant, Fowler. On August 10, 2018, however,
Defendant Rulh filed a motion to substitute Randall Smith and
Geoffrey Ormsby as counsel of record in place of Fowler,
which the Court granted on August 13, 2018. R. Docs. 86, 89.
On September 19, 2018, Fowler moved to withdraw as counsel
for the remaining Defendants, which the Court granted on
September 21, 2018. R. Docs. 106, 107.
November 26, 2018, Fowler filed a motion seeking to intervene
in the case, alleging Mr. Rulh had terminated the firm as
counsel without paying any of the legal fees it had incurred.
R. Doc. 144. In its motion to intervene, Fowler stated it
held a contract with Mr. Rulh, pursuant to which Fowler would
be paid attorney's fees on an hourly basis. Id.
In filing its motion, Fowler seeks to recover its hourly fees
from any monies awarded to Mr. Rulh based on his
counterclaims against CLS. Id. The motion was
referred to Magistrate Judge North who granted the motion
following oral argument on December 14, 2018. R. Doc. 163. On
December 27, 2018, Mr. Rulh objected to Judge North's
decision. R. Doc. 165. On February 12, 2019, the Court
affirmed Judge North's order. Although to Court held
Fowler's intervention could not be sustained as a matter
of right, the Court exercised its discretion to grant a
permissive intervention. R. Doc. 184.
March 12, 2019, Mr. Rulh filed a motion seeking
reconsideration of the Court's order affirming Judge
North's order granting Fowler's motion to intervene.
R. Doc. 190. In his motion, Mr. Rulh argues this Court's
order is contrary to law, as Fowler has failed to meet the
standard for intervention as a matter of right, nor did it
meet the standard for permissive intervention. Id.
at 2. Mr. Rulh argues that, because Fowler's interest in
hourly attorney's fees is unrelated to the underlying
cause of action-namely the alleged misappropriation of trade
secrets-Fowler may not intervene in this action. Id.
at 6. According to Mr. Rulh, the Court's order granting
Fowler's intervention was legally erroneous.
support of his argument, as he did in his initial motion, Mr.
Rulh again points to Premier, Inc. v. Commercial
Underwriters Insurance Co., No. 02-3199, 2004 WL 32918
(E.D. La. Jan. 5, 2004), in which the court distinguished
between contingency fee-based payment arrangements and hourly
fee-based payments, concluding that, although the former
entitles a discharged attorney to intervene as a matter of
right, the latter does not. Id. at *3. Although the
Court discussed Premier at length in its order
affirming Judge North, Mr. Rulh contends this Court “in
ignoring to Premier could cite to no case in this or
any other circuit permitting an intervention for the reasons
espoused by Fowler Rodriguez, its decision to permit
intervention was legal error.” Id. at 5.
the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure do no provide
specifically for motions for reconsideration, in this
Circuit, motions styled as motions for reconsideration are
evaluated under Rules 54(b), 59, or 60. In re Gulf States
Long Term Acute Care of Covington, L.L.C., No. 11-1659,
2014 WL 1365950, at *1 (E.D. La. Apr. 7, 2014). Because Rules
59 and 60 apply to final judgments only, a motion to
reconsider that challenges an interlocutory order is analyzed
pursuant to Rule 54(b), which provides courts with “the
inherent procedural power to reconsider, rescind, or modify
an interlocutory order for cause seen by it to be
sufficient.” Martikean v. United States, No.
11-1774, 2014 WL 4631620, at *2 (N.D. Tex. Sept. 16, 2014)
(quoting Iturralde v. Shaw Group, Inc., 512
Fed.Appx. 430, 432 (5th Cir. 2013)); Gulf Fleet Tiger
Acquisition, LLC v. Thoma- Sea Ship Builders,
LLC, 282 F.R.D. 146, 151-52 (E.D. La. 2012).
54(b) permits this Court to reconsider an interlocutory order
for any reasons it deems sufficient. United States v.
Randa, 709 F.3d ...