The opinion of the court was delivered by: URBINA, District Judge.
GRANTING THE PLAINTIFF'S MOTION TO AMEND THE COURT'S JUDGMENT
Plaintiff Fresh Kist Produce ("Fresh Kist"), a seller of perishable
produce, brings this motion to collect pre-judgment interest from
defendant J.C. Watson ("JCW"), also a seller of perishable produce. Fresh
Kist asks the court to amend its July 31, 2002 Memorandum Opinion by
adding to its judgment the requirement that JCW pay pre-judgment interest
on the disgorged funds. The Memorandum Opinion granted in part Fresh
Kist's motion for summary judgment and required JCW to disgorge certain
funds. For the reasons that follow, the court grants the plaintiff's
motion to modify the judgment and require JCW to pay pre-judgment
Both Fresh Kist and JCW are produce sellers falling within the
provisions of the Perishable Agricultural Commodities Act ("PACA"),
7 U.S.C. § 499a et seq. PACA requires produce buyers to pay proceeds
from sales into floating trusts to protect produce sellers when produce
buyers default on payment. Pursuant to PACA, if a produce buyer becomes
insolvent and is unable to pay its sellers for their perishable goods,
the sellers may collect a pro rata payment from the PACA trust,
preempting other creditors' claims.
Produce seller Fresh Kist brought the instant case to recover PACA
trust funds that produce seller JCW obtained by filing an earlier case,
C.A. No. 01-1225 (D.D.C. filed on June 5, 2001), against Washington
Wholesale Produce Company ("WWP"), a buyer that bought produce from both
Fresh Kist and JCW. The facts of the instant case are intertwined with
those of the earlier case (C.A. No. 01-1225). In the earlier case,
produce seller JCW asserted that produce buyer WWP owed it $70,946.90 for
unpaid invoices for perishable produce commodities. JCW's Compl. (C.A.
No. 01-1225). In its June 5, 2001 complaint, JCW plead that WWP was
insolvent. Id. ¶ 19. WWP paid a total of $59,189.40 to JCW pursuant
to a partial settlement and the Consent Order compelling this payment.
Consent Order dated Aug. 10, 2001 (C.A. No. 01-1225); Mem. Op. dated July
31, 2002 at 3.
On August 28, 2001, Fresh Kist filed, in the instant case, a complaint
and a motion for a temporary restraining order and an order establishing
a non-party PACA claims procedure. The court issued a temporary
restraining order freezing WWP's PACA trust funds and requiring WWP to
pay $11,757.50, the amount still owed to JCW pursuant to the Consent Order
in C.A. No. 01-1225, into the court's registry. Order Granting Motion for
T.R.O. dated Aug. 29, 2001. In its motion for summary judgment, Fresh
Kist argued that JCW violated applicable laws by taking WWP's PACA trust
funds once it knew WWP was insolvent. Pl.'s Mot. for Summ. J. Ruling on
Fresh Kist's and JCW's cross-motions for summary judgment, this court
held, inter alia, that (1) Fresh Kist is a qualified PACA trust
beneficiary, (2) JCW breached and dissipated the PACA trust, (3) JCW did
not enhance the value of the trust, and (4) JCW must return $59,189.40
(the funds JCW had demanded from WWP in violation of PACA) to the PACA
trust. Mem. Op. dated July 31, 2002 at 5, 18.
In the instant motion, Fresh Kist asks the court to amend its judgment
by ordering JCW to pay pre-judgment interest on the disgorgement amount
the $59,189.40 it accepted from WWP in violation of PACA. Pl.'s
Mot. to Amend Summ. J. ¶ 7. The plaintiff argues that the interest is
needed to compensate the PACA trust beneficiaries for the interest that
would have accrued to them had WWP promptly paid the money owed to them
pursuant to the provisions governing the PACA trust. Id. Fresh Kist argues
that the court should award pre-judgment interest calculated from June
5, 2001 (the date of JCW's complaint alleging that WWP was insolvent)
through July 31, 2002 (the date of the court's Memorandum Opinion
ordering disgorgement). Id. at 3.
A. Legal Standard for Amendment of Judgment Pursuant to Rule 59(e)
Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 59(e) motions to alter or amend a
judgment must be filed within 10 days of the entry of the judgment at
issue. FED. R. CIV. P. 59(e); W.C. & A.N. Miller Cos. v. United
States, 173 F.R.D. 1, 3 (D.D.C. 1997) (citing Derrington-Bey v. Dist. of
Columbia Dep't of Corrections, 39 F.3d 1224, 1226 (D.C. Cir. 1994)).
While the court has considerable discretion in ruling on a Rule 59(e)
motion, the reconsideration and amendment of a previous order is an
extraordinary measure. Firestone v. Firestone, 76 F.3d 1205, 1208 (D.C.
Cir. 1996) (per curiam) (citations omitted). Rule 59(e) motions "need not
be granted unless the district court finds that there is an `intervening
change of controlling law, the availability of new evidence, or the need
to correct a clear error or prevent manifest injustice.'" Id. Finally,
"[a] Rule 59(e) motion to reconsider is not simply an opportunity to
reargue facts and theories upon ...