Not what you're
looking for? Try an advanced search.
Buy This Entire Record For
RKI, INC. v. GRIMES
May 3, 2002
RKI, INC., D/B/A ROLL-KRAFT, PLAINTIFF,
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.
This Court conducted a bench trial on December 17 — 19, 2001,
and heard closing arguments on December 20, 2001, in
connection with the complaint Roll-Kraft brought against Grimes
and Chicago Roll. Roll-Kraft asserted five causes of action: (1)
violation of the Illinois Trade Secrets Act, 765 ILCS 1065/1 et
seq.; (2) conversion; (3) breach of the duty of loyalty owed by
an employee; (4) breach of the nondisclosure and
non-solicitation covenants; and (5) tortious interference with
contract. Count 1 sought relief against Grimes and Chicago Roll;
Counts 2, 3 and 4 sought relief against Grimes; and Count 5 was
directed against Chicago Roll. This Court found in favor of
Roll-Kraft on all five counts and awarded Roll-Kraft a permanent
injunction, a total of $100,000 in compensatory damages, and a
total of $150,000 in punitive damages against both Defendants.
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.
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
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
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 ...