Scholz Design Inc. v. Jaffe, __ F. Supp.2d __, 2007 WL 1276910 (N.D. Ill. Apr. 24, 2007) (Grady, J.).

Judge Grady treated plaintiff’s untimely motion to reconsider as a Fed. R. Civ. P. 60(b) motion to vacate judgment (Judge Grady’s previous order is discussed in the Blog’s archives) and denied the motion because it simply rehashed previously rejected arguments.  After a bench trial, the Court entered judgment on behalf of defendants because they had neither directly nor contributorily infringed plaintiff’s copyrighted home design.  The Court held that, while defendants approved the design, any actual copying of the copyrighted design was done by defendants’ architects without defendants knowledge.  In the instant motion, plaintiff argued that defendants infringed its copyrighted designs as a matter of law because the Court had deemed admitted — for failure to respond to requests for admission — that the interior and exterior designs of the house at issue were derivative works based upon plaintiff’s design.  But the Court explained that the admission of infringement did not include an admission as to which parties committed the infringement.  As a result, the Court denied plaintiff’s motion and allowed its prior judgment to stand.

Practice tip:  Read the Federal Rules and watch your filing deadlines.  Had plaintiff filed its motion within ten (10) days of entry of the Court’s judgment, its motion could have been considered pursuant to the more lenient Rule 59 standards.  Although this case’s outcome would likely have been the same, in other cases the application of the Rule 59 standard could be outcome-determinative.