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Schmidt v. The Washington Newspaper Publishing Company, LLC

Superior Court of Delaware

December 20, 2019

JOSEPH SCHMIDT, Plaintiff,
v.
THE WASHINGTON NEWSPAPER PUBLISHING COMPANY, LLC d/b/a WASHINGTON EXAMINER, a Delaware entity, Defendant.

          Date Submitted: November 6, 2019

         Upon Defendant Washington Examiner's Motion for Reconsideration regarding California's Applicable Statute of Limitations Granted.

          Bartholomew J. Dalton, Esquire, Ipek Kurul, Esquire, Dalton & Associates, P.A., Wilmington, Delaware, Andrea A. Lewis, Esquire (pro hac vice), Searcy Denney Scarola Barnhart & Shipley, P.A., West Palm Beach, Florida, Attorneys for Plaintiff.

          Joseph J. Bellew, Esquire, White and Williams LLP, Wilmington, Delaware, Todd R. Ehrenreich, Esquire (pro hac vice), David L. Luck, Esquire (pro hac vice), Lewis Brisbois Bisgaard & Smith LLP, Coral Gables, Florida, Attorneys for Defendant.

          ORDER

          SCOTT, J.

         Before the Court is Defendant Washington Examiner's Motion for Reconsideration regarding California's Applicable Statute of Limitations. For the following reasons, Defendant's motion is GRANTED.

         Background

         On April 21, 2017, Defendant Washington Examiner ("Defendant") published an article about a Navy Seal who was charged with making child pornography. The article made national news. Attached to the article was a photo of Joseph Schmidt ("Plaintiff'), who was not the subject of the article but who was also a Navy Seal.

         In response to the article, Plaintiff filed a complaint against Defendant in Florida state court on April 4, 2018. On May 11, 2018, Defendant removed the case to the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida. A federal magistrate judge dismissed the case for lack of personal jurisdiction on October 3, 2018. Plaintiff then filed a motion for reconsideration and sought to transfer the case to Washington, D.C.; the federal judge denied this motion on December 6, 2018.

         OnMarch25, 2019, Plaintiff filed a Complaint with this Court. On September 30, 2019, this Court dismissed Plaintiffs case for forum non conveniens. Defendant filed the instant motion for reconsideration on October 7, 2019.

         Parties' Assertions

         In its motion for reconsideration, Defendant argues that the Court misapprehended California law when the Court found that Plaintiffs claims were not time-barred. Defendant contends Plaintiffs claims are time-barred because neither a literal nor an equitable application of California's Savings Statute applies to Plaintiffs case. In addition, Defendant argues that the Court improperly considered California's Savings Statute because Plaintiff never made this argument in his response to Defendant's motion to dismiss.

         In response to Defendant's motion for reconsideration, Plaintiff argues that the Court correctly concluded his claims were timely because California's equitable tolling doctrine applies to Plaintiffs claims. Plaintiff states that he sufficiently briefed his position on California's Savings Statute in his response to Defendant's motion to dismiss; Plaintiff incorporates that argument by reference here.

         Defendant filed a reply to Plaintiffs response arguing that Defendant's position is unopposed because Plaintiff did not brief the California's Savings Statute in his response to Defendant's motion to dismiss. Defendant further argues that Plaintiff impermissibly attempts to make new arguments for the first time in his opposition to Defendant's reconsideration motion. Finally, Defendant argues that Plaintiffs new arguments are meritless.

         Standard of Review

         A motion for reconsideration under Superior Court Rule of Civil Procedure 59(e) will be granted only if "the Court has overlooked a controlling precedent or legal principles, or the Court has misapprehended the law or facts such as would have changed the outcome of the underlying decision."[1] A motion for reconsideration is not an opportunity for a party to rehash the arguments already decided by the Court or to present new arguments not previously raised.[2] A party seeking to have the Court reconsider the earlier ruling must "demonstrate newly discovered evidence, a change in the law, or manifest injustice."[3]

         Discussion

         A. Plaintiff raised the California Savings Statute argument in his response to Defendant's motion to dismiss.

         Contrary to Defendant's assertion, Plaintiff did raise the California Savings Statute argument in his response ...


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