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Webster Capital Finance, Inc. v. Newby

United States District Court, District of Kansas

February 21, 2014

DANIEL NEWBY, et al., Defendants.



In this action, Plaintiff Webster Capital Finance f/k/a Center Capital Corporation seeks to enforce personal loan guaranties against Defendants Daniel Newby and Thomacine Newby. This matter comes before the Court on Defendants’ Motion to Reconsider (Doc. 66) and Motion to Set Aside Judgment (Doc. 69). Also before the Court is Plaintiff’s Motion for Attorneys’ Fees (Doc. 65). For the reasons stated herein, the Court grants Plaintiff’s motion and denies Defendants’ motions.

I. Factual Background

Plaintiff, Webster Capital Finance, Inc., is a Connecticut corporation that provides financing to various business ventures. Defendants Daniel Newby and Thomacine Newby are residents of Kansas City, Missouri, who operate Ottawa Bus Service, Inc. (“Ottawa Bus”), a Kansas corporation. On February 19, 2002, Plaintiff and Ottawa Bus entered into a Master Loan and Security Agreement (“Master Loan Agreement”), which provided the terms under which Plaintiff would subsequently provide financing to Ottawa Bus for the purchase of buses and other equipment.

To secure payment under the Master Loan Agreement and the various loan schedules, Defendants each executed a Continuing Guaranty on February 26, 2002 (the “Continuing Guaranties”).[1] In these documents, Defendants personally guaranteed Ottawa Bus’s “prompt payment of all indebtedness, including, but not limited to, principal, accrued interest, costs, late charges, out of pocket expenses, and attorneys’ fees”[2] due under the Master Loan Agreement or any related obligations. Defendants’ guaranties gave rise to “an absolute and unlimited guaranty of payment and performance, not a guaranty of collection, and Guarantor agrees to pay and/or reimburse [Webster Capital] for any attorney’s fees and out of pocket costs incurred in connection with the collection on or enforcement of this Guaranty.”[3]

Plaintiff filed the present action on May 15, 2012, asserting that Defendants have improperly refused to honor their personal guaranties upon Ottawa Bus’s bankruptcy and alleged default under the Master Loan Agreement. On August 2, 2013, the Court granted summary judgment in favor of Plaintiff on all claims, including Plaintiff’s claim for attorneys’ fees. Defendants now argue that the Court should reconsider and set aside its Order, while Plaintiff seeks its final award of attorneys’ fees.

II. Analysis

A. Defendants’ Motion for Reconsideration

Defendants first ask the Court to reconsider its Memorandum and Order granting Plaintiff summary judgment on all claims. “A motion for reconsideration provides the court with an opportunity to correct ‘manifest errors of law or fact and to review newly discovered evidence.’”[4] A court has discretion whether to grant or deny a motion for reconsideration.[5]“There are three circumstances in which a court may appropriately grant a motion for reconsideration: (1) where the court made a manifest error of fact or law; (2) where there is newly discovered evidence; and (3) where there has been a change in the law.”[6] A motion for reconsideration is not a vehicle for the losing party to rehash arguments previously considered and rejected.[7] “The party moving for reconsideration has the burden to show that there has been a change of law, that new evidence is available, or that reconsideration is necessary to correct clear error or prevent manifest injustice.”[8]

Here, Defendants do not allege a change in law or the availability of new material evidence. Instead, Defendants’ motion for reconsideration restates most of the arguments made in response to Plaintiff’s motion for summary judgment, simply asserting that manifest injustice will result because the Court did not find in their favor. “It is well settled that a motion to reconsider is not a second chance for the losing party to ask the Court to revisit issues already addressed or to consider new arguments and supporting facts that could have been presented originally.”[9] Nor is a motion to reconsider to be used as “a second chance when a party has failed to present its strongest case in the first instance.”[10] For these reasons, the Court finds that Defendants have not carried their burden to demonstrate that reconsideration is appropriate. Defendants’ motion for reconsideration must therefore be denied.

B. Defendants’ Motion to Set Aside Judgment Based on Fraud

A postjudgment motion to set aside judgment must arise under either Rule 59(e) or Rule 60(b), which serve different purposes.[11] If the motion is filed more than ten days after the entry of the judgment, it is considered a motion seeking relief from the judgment under Fed.R.Civ.P. 60(b).[12] Because Defendants’ motion was filed fourteen days after the Court entered summary judgment, their submissions must be considered a motion for relief from judgment pursuant to Fed.R.Civ.P. 60(b).

Under that Rule, courts may grant relief from a judgment under the ...

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