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Lima v. Post Consumer Brands, LLC

United States District Court, D. Massachusetts

October 3, 2019

ANITA S. LIMA and SUSAN WRUBLEWSKI, individually and on behalf of others similarly situated, Plaintiffs,
v.
POST CONSUMER BRANDS, LLC, Defendant.

          MEMORANDUM AND ORDER ON PLAINTIFFS' MOTION FOR RECONSIDERATION

          ALLISON D. BURROUGHS U.S. DISTRICT JUDGE

         Anita S. Lima and Susan Wrublewski (“Plaintiffs”) brought a putative class action against Defendant Post Consumer Brands, LLC (“Post”), alleging that Post's advertising and packaging of its Honey Bunches of Oats cereal was deceptive. [ECF No. 25 (“Amended Complaint” or “Am. Compl.”) ¶¶ 20-39, 57-103]. Plaintiffs claimed that Post violated state consumer protection laws and unjustly enriched itself by creating the false impression that Honey Bunches of Oats was primarily sweetened with honey. [Id.]. The Court dismissed the Amended Complaint for failure to state a claim. [ECF No. 45]. Presently before the Court is Plaintiffs' motion for reconsideration. [ECF No. 47]. For the reasons discussed herein, the motion for reconsideration is DENIED.

         I. BACKGROUND

         A. Factual Background

         The following short recitation of facts is drawn from the Amended Complaint. [ECF No. 25]. A more complete version of the facts is provided in the Court's August 13, 2019, Order (“Order”). See Lima v. Post Consumer Brands, LLC, No. 18-cv-12100, 2019 WL 3802885, at *1-4 (D. Mass. Aug. 13, 2019); [ECF No. 45]. Post manufactures and sells several different varieties of cereal under the registered trademark “Honey Bunches of Oats.” U.S. Patent & Trademark Office, Honey Bunches of Oats, Registration No. 1575358, http://tmsearch.uspto.gov/. Plaintiffs alleged that they purchased Honey Bunches of Oats with Almonds under the mistaken belief that honey was the cereal's exclusive or primary sweetener. [Am. Compl. ¶¶ 40-45]. Plaintiffs did not look at the ingredient list, which disclosed that honey is the cereal's fifth most prominent sweetener, and instead relied on “several television commercials” and Post's “branding and packaging” that “emphasized the presence of honey.” [Id. ¶¶ 28, 42, 44]. Plaintiffs claimed that Post's packaging and marketing led them to expect that honey was a much more prominent ingredient. [Id. ¶¶ 41, 44].

         B. Procedural Background

         On October 5, 2018, Plaintiffs filed this lawsuit. [ECF No. 1]. They amended their complaint on February 8, 2019. [Am. Compl.]. The Amended Complaint sought relief on behalf of five putative classes of consumers who had purchased some variety of Honey Bunches of Oats. [Id. ¶¶ 46-50]. Plaintiffs asserted seven counts, including violations of state consumer protection laws and unjust enrichment. [Id. ¶¶ 57-103].

         On February 22, 2019, Post filed a motion to dismiss. [ECF No. 29]. Plaintiffs timely opposed on April 5, 2019. [ECF No. 35]. Post replied on April 17, 2019. [ECF No. 39]. Plaintiffs filed a sur-reply on May 3, 2019. [ECF No. 42]. This Court granted the motion to dismiss on August 13, 2019. [ECF No. 45].

         Plaintiffs filed their motion for reconsideration on September 9, 2019. [ECF No. 47]. Post responded on September 23, 2019. [ECF No. 49].

         II. DISCUSSION

         A. Legal Standard

         Because “[t]he Federal Rules of Civil Procedure do not specifically provide for the filing of motions for reconsideration, ” such motions are usually decided pursuant to either Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 59(e) or Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 60(b). See Cent. Produce El Jibarito v. Luna Commercial Corp., 880 F.Supp.2d 282, 284 (D.P.R. 2012) (citation omitted). In the First Circuit, “a motion which ask[s] the court to modify its earlier disposition of a case because of an allegedly erroneous legal result is brought under Fed.R.Civ.P. 59(e).” Appeal of Sun Pipe Line Co., 831 F.2d 22, 24 (1st Cir. 1987). Though Plaintiffs do not identify the basis for their motion for reconsideration, they claim that the Court “committed manifest errors of law.” [ECF No. 47 at 2, 6]. The Court therefore understands the motion as being brought under Rule 59(e).

         Granting a motion for reconsideration under Rule 59(e) “is an extraordinary remedy which should be used sparingly.” Palmer v. Champion Mortg., 465 F.3d 24, 30 (1st Cir. 2006) (quoting 11 Charles Alan Wright et al., Federal Practice and Procedure § 2810.1 (2d ed. 1995)). “A court . . . may grant a motion for reconsideration where the movant shows a manifest error of law or newly discovered evidence.” Ruiz Rivera v. Pfizer Pharm., LLC, 521 F.3d 76, 81-82 (1st Cir. 2008) (quotation marks omitted). “[S]imple disagreement with the court's decision is not a basis for reconsideration.” Ofori v. Ruby Tuesday, Inc., 205 Fed. App'x 851, 852-53 (1st Cir. 2006). “The repetition of previous arguments is not sufficient to prevail on a Rule 59(e) motion.” United States v. $23, 000 in U.S. Currency, 356 F.3d 157, 165 n.9 (1st Cir. 2004).

         B. ...


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