United States District Court, D. New Mexico
INFORMATION DOCK ANALYTICS LLC, a Delaware Series Limited Liability Company; INFORMATION DOCK ANALYTICS LLC PROTECTED SERIES SHORT; INFORMATION DOCK ANALYTICS LLC PROTECTED SERIES MID; INFORMATION DOCK ANALYTICS LLC PROTECTED SERIES LONG; INFORMATION DOCK ANALYTICS LLC PROTECTED SERIES ISLAND; and INFORMATION DOCK ANALYTICS LLC PROTECTED SERIES MUTLI, Plaintiffs,
MICHAEL COUGHLIN and M. KAY COUGHLIN, Defendants.
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER
instant motion represents the latest in a long-running
dispute pending in state court, Coughlin v. Cultural
Assets I, LLC, D-101-CV-2012-02707, filed in the First
Judicial District Court for the State of New Mexico (State
Court Lawsuit). Having retained new counsel, Plaintiffs
filed their Motion for Reconsideration (Motion) on April 22,
2019, and now move this Court to reconsider its March 22,
2019, Memorandum Opinion and Order (March 22 Order) (Doc. 26)
granting in part Defendants' Motion to Dismiss based on
the abstention doctrine announced in Younger v.
Harris, 401 U.S. 37 (1971). (Doc. 31). Defendants filed
their response on May 6, 2019, and Plaintiffs' filed
their reply on May 20, 2019. (Docs. 33 and 34). Having
considered the record, the briefing, and the applicable law,
the Court denies Plaintiffs' Motion. The Court thoroughly
addressed the factual background of this case in its March 22
Order, and need not restate the same here.
motion for reconsideration is appropriate to allow the court
to consider 1) an intervening change in law, 2) new evidence
that was previously unavailable, and 3) the need to correct
clear error or prevent injustice. Servants of the
Paraclete v. Does, 204 F.3d 1005, 1012 (10th Cir. 2000)
(citing Brumark Corp. v. Samson Res. Corp., 57 F.3d
941, 948 (10th Cir. 1995)). “Thus, a motion for
reconsideration is appropriate where the court has
misapprehended the facts, a party's position, or the
controlling law. It is not appropriate to revisit issues
already addressed or advance arguments that could have been
raised in prior briefing.” Id. (citations
abstention remains appropriate when: “(1) there is an
ongoing state . . . proceeding, (2) the state court provides
an adequate forum to hear the claims raised in the federal
complaint, and (3) the state proceedings involve important
state interests, matters which traditionally look to state
law for their resolution or implicate separately articulated
state policies.” Weitzel v. Div. of Occupational
& Prof'l Licensing of the Dep't of Commerce of
the State of Utah, 240 F.3d 871, 875 (2001) (internal
quotation and citation omitted).
basis for the instant Motion, Plaintiffs assert the Court
misapprehended the State Court Lawsuit docket because their
petition to intervene in the State Court Lawsuit was denied,
rendering Plaintiffs without any other forum to advance their
claim of ownership. Of course, denial of Plaintiffs'
motion to intervene in the State Court Lawsuit has not been
reduced to a written order entered on the State Court docket
and Plaintiffs failed to apprise the Court of that denial, or
the reasons therefore, prior to the Court's March 22
affirmatively represent, by affidavit of counsel, that their
motion to intervene in the State Court Lawsuit was denied
because prior counsel was disbarred, Plaintiffs made no
attempt to obtain subsequent counsel, and the State Court
Judge treated the motion as “abandoned.” (Doc.
31-2) at 3. Plaintiffs' failed to renew their motion,
challenge the Judge's decision, or otherwise pursue their
motion to intervene.
Plaintiffs state Defendants' motion for declaratory
judgment in the State Court Lawsuit was denied. (Doc. 31) at
4. Again, while not reduced to a written order on the State
Court docket, the State Court Judge apparently denied the
declaratory judgment motion for lack of ripeness.
fail to persuade this Court that the denial of their
abandoned motion to intervene or denial without prejudice of
Defendants' motion for declaratory judgment constitutes a
misapprehension of the facts or the law that alters the
Court's abstention calculus under Younger.
issue of adequacy, Plaintiffs state “the ownership
issue remains open” in the State Court Lawsuit.
(Id.) at 6. That simple statement defeats their
argument: the ownership issue, in fact, remains open. When
presented with a Writ of Execution expressly identifying
property that allegedly does not belong to the
judgment-debtor, the appropriate course of action is to raise
that issue with the judge who issued the Writ. Plaintiffs may
contest ownership in the underlying proceeding.
further contend they need discovery to assert their claim of
ownership. This is somewhat mystifying; on one hand,
Plaintiffs contend they own the property at issue in the
State Court Lawsuit, and on the other, state they need
discovery from the Defendants to adequately prove
Plaintiffs' ownership. It should be a relatively simple
matter: if Plaintiffs own the property as they claim, they
presumably have the records to prove it. The Court construes
Plaintiffs' argument as self-serving and appears
calculated to further frustrate the ongoing State Court
Lawsuit. The Court finds nothing in Plaintiffs' argument
to disturb its conclusion that the State Court Lawsuit
provides an adequate forum to hear Plaintiffs' ownership
Plaintiffs misapprehend the Court's determination of the
important state interests at play in this case. The State
Court Lawsuit involves execution of the state court's
As the Court previously noted, There is little difference in
forcing persons to transfer property in response to a
court's judgment and in forcing persons to respond to the
court's process on pain of contempt. . . . [T]his case
involve[s] challenges to the processes by which the State
compels compliance with the judgment of its courts.
Pennzoil Co. v. Texaco, Inc., 481 U.S. 1, 13-14
(1987). Plaintiffs essentially seek to circumvent
the State Court Lawsuit and, in doing so, ask this Court to
be complicit in their scheme and vitiate the State
Court's Writ of Execution. The Court disfavors this type
of “procedural fencing, ” and declines to do so.
State Farm Fire & Cas. Co. v. Mhoon, 31 F.3d
979, 983 (10th Cir. 1994). Moreover, proceeding with this
case would violate basic principles of comity and impair the
State Court's ability to enforce its judgments.
nothing in Plaintiffs' Motion to warrant reconsideration,
the Motion is denied. This case shall remain stayed pending
resolution of the State Court Lawsuit. The parties shall file
a joint status update with the Court 180 days from the entry
of this Memorandum Opinion and Order, and every 180 days
thereafter or within 10 days of the final termination of the
State Court Lawsuit. Of specific interest to the Court in
these updates will ...