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Continental Petroleum Corporation, Inc., and Plastitex, S.A v. Corporation Funding Partners

May 22, 2012

CONTINENTAL PETROLEUM CORPORATION, INC., AND PLASTITEX, S.A., PLAINTIFFS,
v.
CORPORATION FUNDING PARTNERS, LLC, PABLO ANTONIAZZI, CAREN RAPHAEL, JOSEPH LAU, AND GREEN PAMPAS, INC., DEFENDANTS.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Paul A. Engelmayer, District Judge:

OPINION & ORDER

Continental Petroleum Corporation, Inc. and Plastitex, S.A. (collectively, "plaintiffs"), bring this claim against Corporate Funding Partners, LLC ("CFP"), Green Pampas, Inc. ("Green Pampas"), Pablo Antoniazzi, Caren Raphael, and Joseph Lau (collectively, "defendants") under sections 1962(c) and (d) of the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act of 1970, 18 U.S.C. § 1961 et seq. ("RICO"), and under New York law. In an Opinion and Order issued on April 12, 2012 (the "Opinion"), the Court granted in full defendants' motions to dismiss the Amended Complaint as to Green Pampas, Antoniazzi, Raphael, and Lau, and granted in part and denied in part those motions as to CFP. See Dkt. 47. As to the only claims that have not been dismissed-plaintiffs' contract claims against CFP-plaintiffs were directed to submit a memorandum of law explaining why diversity jurisdiction has been adequately pleaded. Plaintiffs now move pursuant to S.D.N.Y. Local Civil Rule 6.3 for reconsideration of the Court's Opinion, and, implicitly, for authorization to again amend the complaint. See Dkt. 49. For the reasons that follow, those motions are denied.

I.Legal Standard

A.Motion for Reconsideration

The standard governing motions for reconsideration under Rule 6.3 "is strict, and reconsideration will generally be denied unless the moving party can point to controlling decisions or data that the court overlooked matters, in other words, that might reasonably be expected to alter the conclusion reached by the court." Shrader v. CSX Transp. Inc., 70 F.3d 255, 257 (2d Cir. 1995). A motion for reconsideration is "neither an occasion for repeating old arguments previously rejected nor an opportunity for making new arguments that could have previously been made." Associated Press v. U.S. Dep't of Defense, 395 F. Supp. 2d 17, 19 (S.D.N.Y. 2005). Accordingly, "[c]courts have repeatedly warned parties that motions for reconsideration should not be made reflexively in order to reargue those issues already considered when a party does not like the way the original motion was resolved." Families for Freedom v. U.S. Customs & Border Prot., No. 10-cv-2705, 2011 WL 4599592, at *2 (S.D.N.Y. Sept. 30, 2011) (citing Makas v. Orlando, No. 06-cv-14305, 2008 WL 2139131, at *1 (S.D.N.Y. May 19, 2008)) (internal quotation marks and additional citation omitted). Generally, district courts will only amend or alter a judgment "to correct a clear error of law or prevent manifest injustice." In re Assicurazioni Generali, S.P.A., 592 F.3d 113, 120 (2d Cir. 2010).

B.Motion to Amend the Amended Complaint

Pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 15(a)(2), leave to amend a complaint shall be given "freely" when "justice so requires." "If the underlying facts or circumstances relied upon by a plaintiff may be a proper subject of relief, he ought to be afforded an opportunity to test his claim on the merits." Williams v. CitiGroup Inc., 659 F.3d 208, 213 (2d Cir. 2011) (quoting Foman v. Davis, 371 U.S. 178, 182 (1962)). However, "a district court has discretion to deny leave for good reason, including futility, bad faith, undue delay, or undue prejudice to the opposing party." McCarthy v. Dun & Bradstreet Corp., 482 F.3d 184, 200--01 (2d Cir. 2007); see also AEP Energy Servs. Gas Holding Co. v. Bank of Am., N.A., 626 F.3d 699, 725 (2d Cir. 2010) ("Leave to amend may be denied on grounds of futility if the proposed amendment fails to state a legally cognizable claim.").

II.Discussion

A.Motion for Reconsideration

In support of the motion for reconsideration of the Opinion, plaintiffs make three principal arguments: (1) that the Court misapprehended certain portions of plaintiffs' argument relating to the alleged pattern of racketeering; (2) that plaintiffs adequately pled their RICO claims in the Amended Complaint; and (3) that new information relating to non-party corporations and the disbarrment of a non-party individual is further evidence of Antoniazzi's fraudulent intent. The Court addresses each argument in turn.

1.Misapprehension of Plaintiffs' "Pattern of Racketeering" Argument

Plaintiffs argue that the Court misconstrued the facts underlying plaintiffs' claim that defendants were engaged in a "pattern of racketeering" under 18 U.S.C. § 1962(c). This misunderstanding, plaintiffs submit, is demonstrated by the Court's discussion of plaintiffs' assertions bearing on the "pattern of racketeering" in the Opinion. The Court stated:

Here, plaintiffs allege that defendants' pattern of racketeering activity consisted of "numerous counts" of bank fraud, mail fraud, and wire fraud in violation of § 1961(1)(B). Am. Compl. ¶ 9.5. However, these alleged illegal acts (even if each were adequately pleaded, which they are not) do not together establish a closed-ended pattern of continuity, because these acts occurred within too narrow a time frame. At most, plaintiffs allege three predicate illegal acts by defendants: The letters of credit issued in May 2008 to satisfy the initial urea purchase transactions; the letters of credit issued in July 2008 to satisfy the agreement with Trifecta Trading; and the letter of credit issued in January 2009 to satisfy Plastitex's agreement with Green Pampas. These acts, even if pleaded with sufficient specificity, span only nine months. Together, they fall far short of the two-year minimum requirement prescribed by the Second Circuit.

Opinion at 13. In their motion, plaintiffs argue that, in fact, there were not three, but five predicate acts. See Pls.' Mot. ΒΆ 3.5. However, as a careful reading of the Opinion would reveal, the Court's reference to the "letters of credit issued in May 2008" and the "letters of credit issued in July 2008" clearly encompassed each of the five transactions-between CFP and Continental, and between CFP and Plastitex-cited by plaintiffs. Opinion at 13 (emphasis added). The difference between the Court's and plaintiffs' ...


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