Su v. Wilmington Trust

Case Type:
Case Status:
20-20337 (5th Circuit, Jan 13,2021) Published
5th Cir. affirmed District Court (SD Tx.) denial of Rule 60(b)(6) motion to set aside judgment. Appellant did not seek relief under Rule 60(b)(1) for attorney's failure to appear at hearing; Rule 60(b)(6) was inapplicable. Appellant failed to demonstrate “extraordinary circumstances” where hearing was ruling on briefs that included Appellant's brief.
Procedural context:
After re-opening dismissed case to address unadjudicated counterclaims, District Court (SD Tx.) granted counterclaim-plaintiff's motion for judgment. Defendant appealed to 5th Circuit.
In 2010, four corporations allegedly owned and controlled by Su (the “Whale Corporations”) obtained loans from a syndicate of lenders to finance the construction of several large maritime shipping vessels. In 2013, the Whale Corporations entered Chapter 11 bankruptcy proceedings. During those proceedings, the bankruptcy court authorized the sale of the vessels to OCM Formosa Strait Holdings, Ltd., which at that point held almost all of the Whale Corporations’ debt. In July 2014, Su sued several of the Whale Corporations’ lenders, seeking a declaration that the vessels’ sale did not alter patent rights he allegedly held that were incorporated into the vessels’ design or, in the alternative, the monetary value of his alleged intellectual property. Wilmington Trust as successor-in-interest to one of these lenders, counterclaimed, alleging that Su had personally guaranteed the loans but had failed to pay the outstanding balance left after the vessels’ sale. In 2015, Wilmington Trust filed two motions for summary judgment. Su opposed, through his then-counsel, Hoover Slovacek LLP. While Wilmington Trust’s motions were pending, Su substituted Robins Kaplan LLP as his counsel. On December 7, 2018, the district court ruled that Su was not entitled to declaratory or monetary relief and entered a “final judgment” that purported to terminate all of the outstanding motions, but did not specifically address Wilmington Trust’s counterclaims. On January 30, 2019, Su appealed. On March 4, 2019, the 5th Circuit dismissed the appeal for want of prosecution. On April 11, 2019, Wilmington Trust petitioned the district court to reopen the case to adjudicate its counterclaims against Su. The district court granted this motion and scheduled a hearing on the counterclaims. Su's attorney withdrew before the hearing; Su was in prison in England. The district court entered judgment in the amount of approximately $80 million.
Haynes, Duncan, Engelhardt

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