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Domain Protection LLC v. SEA WASP LLC

United States District Court, E.D. Texas, Sherman Division

December 13, 2019

DOMAIN PROTECTION, LLC, Plaintiff,
v.
SEA WASP, LLC, ET. AL. Defendants.

          MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER

          AMOS L. MAZZANT, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE

         Pending before the Court is Plaintiff Domain Protection's Motion for Reconsideration of Sanctions Imposed Against its Counsel (Dkt. #312); Plaintiff Domain Protection's Motion for Clarification on Sanctions Ordered (Dkt. #314); Plaintiff Domain Protection's Motion to Allow Payment into Registry of the Court or for Stay Pending Reconsideration of Imposition of Sanctions (Dkt. #315); and Motion for Leave to File Sealed Certificate (Dkt. #316). Having considered the motion and the relevant pleadings, the Court finds that: Plaintiff Domain Protection's Motion for Reconsideration of Sanctions Imposed Against its Counsel (Dkt. #312) and Plaintiff Domain Protection's Motion to Allow Payment into Registry of the Court or for Stay Pending Reconsideration of Imposition of Sanctions (Dkt. #315) are DENIED. Plaintiff Domain Protection's Motion for Clarification on Sanctions Ordered (Dkt. #314) and Domain Protection's Motion for Leave to File Sealed Certificate (Dkt. #316), however, are GRANTED.

         BACKGROUND

         On November 25, 2019, Domain Protection filed Plaintiff Domain Protection's Motion for Reconsideration of Sanctions Imposed Against its Counsel (Dkt. #312). In its Motion, Domain Protection seeks reconsideration of the Courts imposition of sanctions based upon Schepps failure to disclose his financial interest in the present action. Domain Protection argues that the Court did not provide Schepps with Due Process because the Court “inadvertently imposed sanctions on grounds that were raised in Sea Wasp's first Motion for Sanctions, without allowing Domain Protection the opportunity to be heard on that motion or those grounds” (Dkt. #312) (emphasis in original). Further, Domain Protection avers that Sea Wasp failed to disclose the “full truth” to the Court (Dkt. #312). This purported lack of disclosure, Domain Protection maintains, “induced the Court to find, contrary to the record, that ‘Schepps . . . did not disclose that interest with the Court . . . Schepps did not disclose his nor Katz' financial interest in the present action. Such failure is unacceptable'” (Dkt. #312) (emphasis in original). Finally, Domain Protection contends that “this Honorable Court has found that there was no showing that any purported misrepresentation by counsel for Domain Protection was made willfully. In that circumstance, sanctions against an attorney are inappropriate” (Dkt. #312) (citation omitted).

         On November 26, 2019, Domain Protection filed three Motions. First, Domain Protection filed Plaintiff Domain Protection's Motion for Clarification on Sanctions Ordered (Dkt. #314). Here, Domain Protection seeks clarification for the costs that it is required to pay. Second, Domain Protection filed Plaintiff Domain Protection's Motion to Allow Payment into Registry of the Court or For Stay Pending Reconsideration of Imposition of Sanctions (Dkt. #315). Finally, Domain Protection filed its Motion for Leave to File Sealed Certificate (Dkt. #316). Domain Protection argues here that Schepps should be permitted to file the Court-mandated certificate disclosing his financial interest under seal (Dkt. #316). Permitting the certificate to be filed under seal is warranted, Domain Protection maintains, given that the certificate allegedly contains confidential settlement information and has “no relevance to the matters at issue in the lawsuit at bar” (Dkt. #316).

         On December 2, 2019, Sea Wasp filed Sea Wasp, LLC's Response to Motion for Reconsideration of Sanctions [Dkt. #312] and to Counsel's Certificate [Dkt. #318] (Dkt. #320). As to Domain Protection's Motion for Reconsideration of Sanctions Imposed Against its Counsel, Sea Wasp argues that Schepps was given proper notice, Schepps had an adequate opportunity to respond, and sanctions should be imposed (Dkt. #320). As to Domain Protection's Motion for Leave to File Sealed Certificate, Sea Wasp enumerates a number of grievances it has with the contents of the Certificate (Dkt. #320).

         On December 4, 2019, Sea Wasp filed Sea Wasp, LLC's Response to Plaintiff's Motion for Clarification [Dkt. #314][, ] to Allow Payment in Registry of the Court [Dkt. #315], and for Leave to File Sealed Certificate [Dkt. #316]. First, Sea Wasp argues that any determination of what “costs” entails is for the Court to make (Dkt. #324). Sea Wasp also includes a number of exhibits which outline, among other things, the costs associated with Sea Wasp's Second Motion for Sanctions (Dkt. #324). Second, Sea Wasp opposes Domain Protection's characterization of Sea Wasp's financial integrity in Plaintiff Domain Protection's Motion to Allow Payment into Registry of the Court or for Stay Pending Reconsideration of Imposition of Sanctions (Dkt. #324). Finally, Sea Wasp argues, among other things, that Scheppss “claimed legal fees are relevant and could figure significantly in the a) factual findings underlying the outcome of this case and/or b) relief to be ordered, if any” (Dkt. #324) (citing Dkt. #320, note 13). This was followed by Defendants Vernon Decossas and Gregory Faia's Response to Domain Protection's Motions for Clarification (Dkt. #314) To Allow Payment into Registry of the Court (Dkt. #315), and For Leave to File Sealed Certificate (Dkt. #316) (Dkt. #325). The Individual Defendants make similar arguments to those already proffered by Sea Wasp.

         On December 4, 2019, Domain Protection filed its Reply in Support of Plaintiff Domain Protection's Motion for Reconsideration of Sanctions Imposed Against its Counsel (Dkt. #326). On December 11, 2019 Sea Wasp filed Sea Wasp, LLC's Sur-Reply to Plaintiff's Reply in support of Plaintiff's Motion for Reconsideration of Sanctions [Dkt. #312] (Dkt. #330). Domain Protection, also on December 11, 2019, filed its Reply in Support of Plaintiff Domain Protection's Motions for Clarification, to Stay and for Leave to Seal (Dkt. #331). The Court now turns to Domain Protection's Motions.

         LEGAL STANDARD

         I. Motion to Reconsider

         Motions to reconsider serve a very limited purpose: “to permit a party to correct manifest errors of law or fact, or to present newly discovered evidence.” Krim v. pcOrder.com, Inc., 212 F.R.D. 329, 331 (W.D. Tex. 2002) (citations omitted). Mere disagreement with a district court's order does not warrant reconsideration of that order. Id. at 332. A party should not restate, recycle, or rehash arguments that were previously made. Id. District court opinions “are not intended as mere first drafts, subject to revision and reconsideration at a litigant's pleasure.” Verdin v. Fed. Nat'l. Mortg. Ass'n, No. 4:10-cv-590, 2012 WL 2803751, at *1 (E.D. Tex. July 10, 2012) (citations omitted).

         II. Motion to Seal

         The public has a common law right to view judicial records and judicial proceedings. Nixon v. Warner Commc'ns, Inc., 435 U.S. 538, 598 (1978); United States Holy Land Found. for Relief 7 Dev., 624 F.3d 685, 690 (5th Cir. 2010); Data Engine Techs. LLC v. IBM Corp., Nos. 6:13-CV-858-RWS-JDL, 6:13-CV-859-RWS-JDL, 6:13-CV-860, 2016 WL 9281313, at *1 (E.D. Tex. Apr. 27, 2016). However, such right is not absolute. Sec. Exch. Comm'n v. Van Wayenberghe, 990 F.2d 845, 858 (5th Cir. 1993). In deciding whether to seal a transcript, the Court must balance the common law right of access to judicial records with the purported interest in sealing the record. Data Engine Techs., 2016 WL 9281313, at *1 (citations omitted). “The Court considers ‘the relevant facts and circumstances of the particular case,' and weighs ‘the interests advanced by the parties in light of the public interest and the duty of the courts.'” Id. (citations omitted).

         ANALYSIS

         The Court will address each of Domain Protection's ...


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