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RKI, INC. v. GRIMES

May 3, 2002

RKI, INC., D/B/A ROLL-KRAFT, PLAINTIFF,
V.
STEVEN GRIMES AND CHICAGO ROLL CO., INC., DEFENDANTS.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Denlow, United States Magistrate Judge.

    MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER

Following a four day bench trial, this Court entered a Memorandum Opinion and Order ("Opinion") finding in favor of Plaintiffs RKI, Inc., d/b/a Roll-Kraft ("Roll-Kraft") on all five counts of its complaint against Defendants Steven Grimes ("Grimes") and Chicago Roll Company, Inc. ("Chicago Roll") (collectively "Defendants"). RKI, Inc. v. Grimes, 177 F. Supp.2d 859 (N.D.Ill. 2001). Grimes and Chicago Roll have now each filed a Motion for New Trial or to Alter or Amend Judgment Pursuant to Federal Rules of Civil Procedure 52(b) and 59. For the following reasons, Defendants' motions are denied.

I. BACKGROUND FACTS*fn1

II. ANALYSIS

Defendants' post-trial motions raise questions regarding the liability and damages components of the December 21, 2001 decision. At oral argument, both Chicago Roll and Grimes withdrew their claims of judicial bias and withdrew their objections to the injunction. Therefore, this Court will only address the liability and monetary damages issues raised by the posttrial motions. This opinion is intended to supplement the Court's earlier. Opinion and not to replace it.

A. Post-Trial Motions Standard

Defendants request a new trial or to alter or amend judgment pursuant to FRCP 52(b) and 59. FRCP 52(b) provides in part:

On a party's motion filed no later than 10 days after entry of judgment, the court may amend its findings — or make additional findings — and may amend the judgment accordingly. The motion may accompany a motion for a new trial under Rule 59.

Fed.R.Civ.Pro. 52(b). FRCP 59 provides in pertinent part:

(a) Grounds. A new trial may be granted to all or any of the parties and on all or part of the issues . . . in an action tried without a jury, for any of the reasons for which rehearings have heretofore been granted in suits in equity in the courts of the United States . . . the court may open the judgment if one has been entered, take additional testimony, amend findings of fact and conclusions of law or make new findings and conclusions, and direct the entry of a new judgment.
(e) Motion to Alter or Amend Judgment. Any motion to alter or amend a judgment shall be filed no later than 10 days after entry of the judgment.

Fed.R.Civ.Pro. 59.

Post-trial motions serve the limited function of correcting manifest errors of law or fact or presenting newly discovered evidence. Keene Corp. v. International Fidelity Ins. Co., 561 F. Supp. 656, 665 (N.D.Ill. 1982), affd, 736 F.2d 388 (7th Cir. 1984). Such motions are not vehicles to introduce new evidence that could have been presented at trial. Id. Nor are they intended to serve as an opportunity to tender new legal theories for the first time. Id. at 666.

Rather, the motion to reconsider is appropriate where the Court has patently misunderstood a party, made a decision outside the issues presented, to the Court, or made an error not of reasoning but of apprehension. Refrigeration Sales Co., Inc. v. Mitchell-Jackson, Inc., 605 F. Supp. 6, 7 (N.D.Ill. 1983). A controlling or significant change in the law or facts since the issue was submitted to the Court is a further basis for the motion; however, "such problems rarely arise and the motion to reconsider should be equally rare." Id. To support such a motion based on newly discovered evidence, the moving party must "show not only that this evidence was newly discovered or unknown to it until after the hearing, but also that it could not with reasonable diligence have discovered and produced such evidence [during the pendency of the motion]." Caisse Nationale De Credit Agricole v. CBI Industries, Inc., 90 F.3d 1264, 1269 (7th Cir. 1996).

A motion for reconsideration is not a tool by which a losing party may retry its case. Refrigeration Sales Co., Inc., 605 F. Supp. at 9. Each party is entitled to only one bite at the apple. Id. Therefore, a party failing to present evidentiary matters during trial is bound by that trial strategy. Id. at 8. If evidence is available to a party at the time of trial, the party is obligated to make those arguments at that time; failure to do so waives the party's right to do so later in a motion for reconsideration. Publishers Resource, Inc., v. Walker-Davis Publications, Inc., 762 F.2d 557, 561 (7th Cir. 1985). Furthermore, intentionally withholding facts for post-trial motions is flatly prohibited. Caisse Nationale De Credit Agricole, 90 F.3d at 1270.

In this case, Defendants chose to rest their case without presenting any evidence. After hearing this, the Court expressed its concerns to defense counsel and allowed a recess so defense counsel could again discuss this strategy with his clients. Tr. 571-73. After the recess, Defendants reiterated their decision to rest without presenting any evidence. Tr. 573. As the law proscribes, Defendants had their bite at the apple and cannot now ask to put on evidence available to them at the time of trial. Therefore, Defendants' Motions for a New Trial are denied.

B. Liability Issues

1. Illinois Trade Secret Act Claim

In the Opinion, this Court thoroughly addressed the Illinois Trade Secrets Act violations by Grimes and Chicago Roll in paragraphs 11-16, 24-32, 36-44, and 62 — 75. RKI, Inc., 177 F. Supp.2d at 865-867, 868-871, 873-877. Therefore, this Court will only address the new concerns of Defendants.

First, Chicago Roll claims the Court failed to differentiate between Grimes' and Chicago Roll's misappropriation of Roll-Kraft's trade secrets. The Court did address each Defendant separately when discussing the misappropriation of Roll-Kraft's trade secrets; Grimes' misappropriation was discussed in paragraphs 24-32, 36-44, and 70 and Chicago Roll's misappropriation was discussed in paragraphs 42-43 and 71. Id. at 868-871, 875. The Court did address the Defendants together in paragraph 72 while discussing the inevitable use of the misappropriated Roll-Kraft trade secret information; however, within that paragraph, the Court did explain Grimes' role and Chicago Roll's participation separately. Id. at 875-876.

This Court stands by its ruling finding Grimes violated the Illinois Trade Secrets Act. Grimes asserts the finding of misappropriation against him was based only on his access to Roll-Kraft's computers on the evening of October 16, 2001 and the defragmentation of his computer four times between November 15 and 24, 2001. Grimes is mistaken. In addition to the George Tracy deposition testimony in which Grimes admitted taking information from Roll-Kraft and diverting business from Roll-Kraft (Tracy Dep. 10-13, 17-20, 23-24, 28-29, 42-45) and the David Methvin of PCPitstop deposition testimony stating PCPitstop never told Grimes to defragment his computer (Methvin Dep. 20-23), this Court can now point to specific pages in the record to further substantiate its ruling.*fn2 Grimes deleted 60 megabytes of data, equaling 29,297 pages of text, from his home computer between November 15, 2001 and December 8, 2001 while his computer was being inspected by computer forensics expert Jerry Saperstein. Tr. 419-445. Grimes' home computer was also defragmented four times in ten days despite a lack of mechanical or engineering reason requiring ...


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