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Union Pacific Railroad Co. v. Kansas City Southern Railway Co.

December 1, 2009

UNION PACIFIC RAILROAD COMPANY, A CORPORATION, PLAINTIFF,
v.
KANSAS CITY SOUTHERN RAILWAY COMPANY, A CORPORATION, AND GATE- WAY EASTERN RAILWAY COMPANY, A CORPORATION, DEFENDANTS.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Reagan, District Judge

MEMORANDUM AND ORDER

I. Introduction and Procedural Posture

On April 26, 2007, Plaintiff Union Pacific Railroad Company ("UP") filed this action (Doc. 2) alleging that Defendants Kansas City Southern Railway Company ("KCSR") and Gateway Eastern Railway Company ("GWER") breached a 1993 Settlement Agreement by refusing to permit UP to use approximately two miles of railroad trackage between points known as Q Tower and Willows Tower in East Saint Louis, Illinois. UP's complaint sought damages incurred from the alleged breach, a declaratory judgment determining that the 1993 Agreement is binding and remains in effect, and a permanent injunction prohibiting KCSR and GWER from further preventing UP's use of the trackage.

On September 9, 2008, this Court denied UP's Motion for Summary Judgment on the issue of liability (Doc. 53). Union Pac. R.R. v. Kan. City S. Ry. Co., No. 07-CV-0320-MJR, 2008 WL 4190255 (S.D. Ill. Sept. 9, 2008) (memorandum and order). The Court found that ambiguity in the language of Paragraph 7 of the December 20, 1993 agreement between Plaintiff and Defendants-the contract provision on which this case turns-created a genuine issue of material fact regarding the meaning of that paragraph and prevented granting UP's motion. Id. at *6.

In that same September 9, 2008 Order, the Court granted the Motion for Summary Judgment on Damages (Doc. 82) filed by KCSR and GWER. The Court found the following:

[E]ven if this Court assumes arguendo that the 1993 Agreement does include a grant of trackage rights at Paragraph 7, that agreement cannot be put into effect (and Union Pacific cannot legally use the trackage) until the STB grants the exemption [allowed under 49 C.F.R. § 1180.2(d)] or otherwise authorizes the transaction.

Id. at *8.

On September 15, 16, and 17, 2008, this matter proceeded to trial by the Court to resolve the proper interpretation of Paragraph 7 of the December 20, 1993 agreement (the "1993 Agreement") and to determine whether Plaintiff was entitled to a declaratory judgment (Count II) or to injunctive relief (Count III) based upon an alleged right to access the railroad trackage at issue.

The Court entered detailed Findings of Fact and Conclusions of Law denying plaintiff 's requested relief, Union Pac. R.R. v. Kan. City S. Ry. Co., No. 07-CV-00320-MJR, 2009 WL 2489279 (S.D. Ill. Aug. 12, 2009), which prompted the following that are the subject of this order and memorandum:

1. Doc.135: Defendants' Bill of Costs in the amount of $16,095.50, entered 8/26/2009.

2. Doc.137: Plaintiff 's Motion to Amend and Make Additional Findings of Fact and Conclusions of Law and to Amend the Judgment Pursuant to Rule 52 and/or for a New Trial to Alter/Amend Judgment, and to Enter Judgment in its Favor Pursuant to Rule 59, entered 8/27/2009.

3. Doc.139: Plaintiff 's Objections to Defendants' Bill of Costs and Plaintiff 's Motion to Deny Defendants' Bill of Costs Pursuant to FRCP 54, 28 USC § 1920 and Local Rule 54.2, entered 9/1/2009.

For the reasons below, plaintiff 's motions under Rules 52 and 59 are DENIED; plaintiff 's objections to defendants' Bill of Costs are OVERRULED; anddefendants' Bill of Costs is GRANTED.

II. Plaintiff's Motion Under Rule 59

Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 59(e), which permits the filing of motions to alter or amend judgment "no later than 10 days after the entry of the judgment," governs plaintiff 's motion.*fn1 A district court may alter or amend a judgment under Rule 59(e) only "when there is newly discovered evidence or there has been a manifest error of law or fact." Harrington v. City of Chi., 433 F.3d 542, 546 (7th Cir. 2006); accord Publishers Res., Inc. v. Walker--Davis Publ'ns, Inc., 762 F.2d 557, 561 (7th Cir. 1985) Rule 59(e) motions serve a limited function: "to correct manifest errors of law or fact or to present newly discovered evidence."). Four grounds justify reconsideration under Rule 59(e): (1) an intervening change in the law; (2) new evidence not available at the time of the original ruling; (3) a clear legal error; and (4) the prevention of manifest injustice.See Steven Baicker--McKee, William M. Janssen & John B. Corr, Federal Civil Rules Handbook 2009, at 1149--50 (2008); see alsoPublishers Res., 762 F.2d at 561.

Although Rule 59 relief is appropriate if the movant "presents newly discovered evidence that was not available at the time of trial or . . . points to evidence in the record that clearly establishes a manifest error of law or fact," such relief is not properly awarded based on arguments or theories that could have been proffered before the district court rendered judgment. County of McHenry v. Ins. Co. of the W., 438 F.3d 813, 819 (7th Cir. 2006) (citing LB Credit Corp. v. Resolution Trust Corp., 49 F.3d 1263 (7th Cir. 1995)).

The Seventh Circuit has emphasized that Rule 59(e) may not be used to re-litigate issues already argued or to present new arguments that could have been presented before judgment was entered. See, e.g., Caisse Nationale de Credit Agricole v. CBI Indus., Inc., 90 F.3d 1264, 1270 (7th Cir. 1996); Bally Export Corp. v. Balicar, Ltd., 804 F.2d 398, 404 (7th ...


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