CHURCH OF SCIENTOLOGY INTERNATIONAL and Citizens' Commission on Human Rights,
ELI LILLY & CO., Painewebber, Inc., and Ronald Nordmann, Defendants.
No. 90 Civ. 7009 (MJL).
United States District Court, S.D. New York.
April 8, 1992.
Morrison Cohen Singer & Weinstein by Jonathan W. Lubell, New York City, for
Michael L. Hertzberg by Michael L. Hertzberg, New York City, for plaintiffs.
Cravath, Swaine & Moore by Alan J. Hruska, New York City, for defendants
PaineWebber Inc. and Ronald Nordmann.
Dewey Ballantine by Harvey Kurzweil, New York City, for Eli Lilly & Company.
OPINION AND ORDER
LOWE, District Judge.
*1 Before this Court is the plaintiffs' motion, pursuant to Fed.R.Civ.P.
60(b)(2), (3) and (6) for an order relieving them of that portion of this
Court's Opinion and Order of October 29, 1991 which dismissed the plaintiffs'
claims against defendant Eli Lilly & Co. ("Lilly"). Plaintiffs also seek
sanctions, pursuant to Fed.R.Civ.P. 11, including reasonable attorney's fees
incurred "because of the filing of the subject motion to dismiss of Eli Lilly &
Co." Plaintiffs' Notice of Motion, January 14, 1992, at 2. In response to the
motion, defendant Eli Lilly & Co. requests, pursuant to Fed.R.Civ.P. 11,
that plaintiffs pay Lilly's costs and attorneys' fees incurred in connection
with this motion.
This is an action for defamation brought by Church of Scientology
International ("CSI") and Citizens' Commission on Human Rights ("CCHR"). By
Opinion and Order of October 25, 1991, this Court denied the motion of
defendants PaineWebber, Inc. and Ronald Nordmann to dismiss this action
pursuant to Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(6). By the same Opinion and Order, we
granted defendant Lilly's motion to dismiss pursuant to Fed.R.Civ.P.
12(b)(6). Familiarity with the Opinion and Order will be presumed.
Plaintiffs' now move for relief from that part of the Opinion and Order which
dismissed the plaintiffs' claims against Lilly.
Plaintiffs make their argument pursuant to Rule 60(b)(2), (3), and (6) of
the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, which provide:
On motion and upon such terms as are just, the court may relieve a party or a
party's legal representative from a final judgment, order, or proceeding for
the following reasons: (2) newly discovered evidence which by due diligence
could not have been discovered in time to move for a new trial under Rule
59(b); (3) fraud (whether heretofore denominated intrinsic or extrinsic),
misrepresentation, or other misconduct of an adverse party; ... (6) any other
reason justifying relief from the operation of the judgment.
Defendant Lilly argues that the motion is "procedurally infirm" because
Rule 60(b) is only applicable to final orders, judgments, or proceedings.
Plaintiffs reply to this charge by arguing that "[i]f Rule 60(b) is
inapplicable ... then this Court should in its discretion under Rule 54(b)
revise its order dismissing Lilly." Plaintiffs' Reply Memorandum of Law in
Response to Eli Lilly & Co. Memorandum of Law in Opposition, January 29, 1992,
Rule 60(b) is, by its very terms, intended to provide relief from final
judgments. Bentley v. New York, Slip Op., 82 Civ. 3492 (RLC) (S.D.N.Y.1986).
Thus, we agree that plaintiffs have failed to articulate the appropriate
procedural vehicle by which they may make their request. However, in the
interests of fairness and efficiency, we will consider the motion properly
filed pursuant to Rule 3(j) of the Local Civil Rules for the United States
District Court for the Southern District. [FN1]
A motion for reargument "may be granted only where the court has overlooked
matters or controlling decisions which might have materially influenced the
earlier decision." Caleb & Co. v. E.I. du Pont De Nemours & Co., 624
F.Supp. 747, 748 (S.D.N.Y.1985); See also Local Rule 3(j). This standard is
high in order to preclude repetitive arguments on issues that have already been
considered by the Court. Ruiz v. Commissioner of Department of
Transportation of the City of New York, 687 F.Supp. 888, 890 (S.D.N.Y.), aff'd
858 F.2d 898 (2d Cir.1988).
*2 Plaintiffs argue that discovery conducted after the issuance of this
Court's Opinion and Order of October 25, 1991, constitutes an admission by
defendants that Lilly is liable for the allegedly defamatory statements made in
the Advisory which was distributed on PaineWebber's computer system. However,
our review of the evidence upon which plaintiffs base their claims provides
nothing to contradict our prior Opinion. In that Opinion, we found that
plaintiffs failed to adequately allege that Lilly had a role in the precise
wording of the allegedly defamatory statements, statements that must be taken
together in order to establish a reasonable possibility that they could be
interpreted as defamatory. See Opinion and Order, October 25, 1991, at 13-14.
Therefore, we fully endorse our prior finding that plaintiffs' allegations with
respect to Lilly are "conclusory allegations [that] will not survive a motion
to dismiss...." Id. at 14.
For these reasons, plaintiffs' motion for reargument is denied. In addition,
both requests for Rule 11 sanctions are denied.
It Is So Ordered.
FN1. Local Civil Rule 3(j) provides:
A notice of motion for reargument shall be served within ten (10) days
after the docketing of the court's determination of the original motion and
shall be served at least the same number of days before the return day as
was required for the original motion. There shall be served with the
notice of motion a memorandum setting forth concisely the matters or
controlling decisions which counsel believes the court has overlooked. No
oral argument shall be heard unless the court grants the motion and
specifically directs that the matter shall be reargued orally. No
affidavits shall be filed by any party unless directed by the court.