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L.A. Printex Industries, Inc v. Le Chateau

June 20, 2011

L.A. PRINTEX INDUSTRIES, INC.,
PLAINTIFF,
v.
LE CHATEAU, INC. AND DOES 1 THROUGH 10, INCLUSIVE DEFENDANTS.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Hon. Otis D. Wright, II United States District Judge

JS-6

ORDER GRANTING PLAINTIFF'S MOTION TO TRANSFER PURSUANT TO 28 U.S.C. 1404(a) [27] ORDER FINDING AS MOOT DEFENDANT'S MOTION FOR SANCTIONS [34], DEFENDANT'S MOTION FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT [41], AND PLAINTIFF'S MOTION FOR SUMMARY ADJUDICATION [51]

I. INTRODUCTION

Currently before the Court are Defendant, Le Chateau, Inc.'s ("Defendant"), Motion for Summary Judgment (Dkt. No. 41), Defendant's Motion for Sanctions (Dkt. No. 34), Plaintiff, L.A. Printex Industries, Inc.'s ("Plaintiff"), Motion for Summary Adjudication (Dkt. No. 51), and Plaintiff's Motion to Transfer the Case. (Dkt. No. 27.) The Court deems the matter appropriate for decision without oral argument pursuant to Rule 78 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure ("Rule __") and Local Rule 7-15. After careful consideration of the arguments submitted by the parties in support of and in opposition to the instant Motions, the Court GRANTS Plaintiff's Motion to Transfer the Case. As a result, the Court FINDS AS MOOT the remaining Motions for the following reasons.

II. BACKGROUND

Plaintiff is a California corporation in the business of manufacturing textile goods primarily for the fashion industry. (Compl. at 1.) Particularly, Plaintiff creates and copyrights designs for use on textiles, and its products bear these designs. (Compl. at 1-2.) Plaintiff alleges that Defendant, a Canadian corporation having its principal place of business in Montreal, Quebec (Compl. ¶ 5), along with other DOE Defendants, are manufacturers, and/or vendors (and/or agents or employees of a manufacturer or vendor) of garments and handbags that bear Plaintiff's copyrighted designs. (Compl. ¶ 6.) Plaintiff specifically claims that the copyrighted textile design at issue ("Subject Design"), U.S. Copyright Registration No. VA 1-344-916, is featured on Defendant's products without Plaintiff's authorization. (Compl. ¶¶10-13.) Consequently, Plaintiff alleges that Defendant and other DOE Defendants are liable for direct and vicarious/contributory copyright infringement pursuant to 17 U.S.C. § 101 et seq.

Prior to the Motions currently pending before this Court, on January 11, 2011, Defendant filed a Motion for Summary Judgment arguing that the court lacked personal and subject matter jurisdiction. (Dkt. No. 22.) While opposing Defendant's Motion for Summary Judgment, Plaintiff filed a Motion to Transfer the Case to the Southern District of New York on January 28, 2011. (Dkt. No. 27.) Subsequently, on February 11, 2011, Defendant filed a Motion for Sanctions pursuant to Rule 11. (Dkt. No. 34.)

To better evaluate the propriety of the parties' Motions, on March 1, 2011, the Court ordered the parties to conduct expedited discovery on issues concerning: (1) the proper parties in this case; (2) where these parties are domiciled; (3) the nature and extent of the relationship between or among these parties; and (4) the nexus of those parties to Plaintiff's theories of liability. (See Dkt. No. 27.) In response to the March 11, 2011 Order, the parties filed supplemental briefs on April 25 and 26, 2011. (Dkt. No. 44, 46.)

In its supplemental brief, Plaintiff sets forth previously unknown pertinent facts. First, Plaintiff purchased alleged infringing products at stores in New York operated by Chateau Stores, Inc. ("Chateau Stores") which has been established to be Defendant's wholly-owned subsidiary. (Pl.'s Supplemental Br. ("Pl.'s Br."), Dkt. No. 44, Exh. 2, Interrogatory Response and Answer No. 12.) Particularly, Defendant admits to having a controlling, wholly-owned interest in Chateau Stores where Defendant has authority to create company policy. (Pl.'s Br., Exh. 3, Responses to Pl.'s Request for Admissions No. 14-16, 18) Second, both entities share common executive officers. (Pl.'s Br., Exh. 2, No. 12.) Third, Defendant admits that certain infringing products were distributed to Chateau Stores, Inc. (Pl.'s Br., Exh. 2, No. 10.) Fourth, Defendant admits it designed at least one of several infringing products. (Pl.'s Br., Exh. 2, No. 20.) Lastly, Defendant admits that it shipped and sold certain infringing products to Chateau Stores in New York. (Pl.'s Br., Exh. 3, No. 21-24.)

Defendant's supplemental brief addresses issues directed to whether Plaintiff maintains a valid copyright and whether personal jurisdiction exists over Defendant, which the currently pending Motions address. (See generally Def.'s Br., Dkt. No. 46.)

III. DISCUSSION

Defendant moves this Court, on several occasions, arguing that no personal jurisdiction exists. Yet, Defendant, at the same time, invokes the jurisdiction of this Court by requesting the Court to examine the merits of Plaintiff's claims. Specifically, while skillfully preserving its defense in the Answer, the personal jurisdiction issue was first brought up in Defendant's Motion for Summary Judgment in conjunction with the subject matter jurisdiction argument. (See Dkt. No. 22.) In addition, the same argument persists in Defendant's Motion for Sanctions (See Dkt. No. 34) and in its Supplemental Brief filed in response to the March, 11, 2011 Order. (See Dkt. No. 46.) Defendant's most recent Motion for Summary Judgment contains arguments that attack the validity of Plaintiff's Copyright Registration. (See Dkt. No. 41.) Surely, arguing that the Court lacks personal jurisdiction while flooding the Court's docket with substantive motions is an uninviting practice. Indeed, such conduct constitutes incivility that has become common practice for far too many that come before this Court. Nevertheless, the Court turns to the parties' Motions.

A. MOTION TO TRANSFER PURSUANT TO 28U.S.C.§1404(A)*fn1

Plaintiff argues that transferring this case to the Southern District of New York is proper because it is undisputed that Defendant's wholly-owned subsidiary sold infringing products that Defendant provided in New York.(Mot. at 5-7.) Plaintiff, therefore, argues that transferring the case will conserve resources as most witnesses and evidence will be more readily accessible in New York. (Mot. at 8-9.) In Opposition, Defendant contends that transfer is improper because the interest of the parties is not served in transferring this case where Plaintiff deliberately instituted this action in the wrong venue. (Opp'n at 6-7.) In addition, Defendant argues that transfer would be improper because Plaintiff's claims are without merit. ...


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