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Joe Hand Productions, Inc v. Bill Davis

December 4, 2012

JOE HAND PRODUCTIONS, INC., PLAINTIFF,
v.
BILL DAVIS, DEFENDANT.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Claudia Wilken United States District Judge

AMENDED ORDER GRANTING MOTION FOR LEAVE TO FILE THIRD-PARTY COMPLAINT (Docket No. 43)

United States District Court For the Northern District of California

Defendant Bill Davis moves for leave to file a third-party complaint against Dish Network L.L.C. pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 14(a). Plaintiff Joe Hand Productions, Inc. has 13 not filed an opposition. The Court took the matter under 14 submission on the papers and now grants the motion. 15

BACKGROUND

Plaintiff brings this action against Defendant for 17 conversion, violations of 47 U.S.C. §§ 553 and 605, and violations 18 of California's Unfair Competition Law (UCL), Cal. Bus. & Prof. 19 Code § 17200 et seq. Docket No. 8, First Am. Compl. (1AC) ¶¶ 13-20 41. Plaintiff alleges that it was granted the exclusive 21 nationwide commercial distribution rights to Ultimate Fighting 22 Championship 124: Georges St. Pierre v. Josh Koscheck, which was 23 telecast nationwide on December 11, 2010. Id. ¶ 14. Plaintiff 24 further alleges that Defendant unlawfully intercepted the program 25 and showed it at his commercial establishment, West Coast Cigars. 26

Id. ¶¶ 11, 17. 27

On May 29, 2012, Defendant filed a third-party complaint 28 against DirecTV. Docket No. 27. Three months later, however, he moved to dismiss the complaint voluntarily against DirecTV after 2 he realized that "the correct third-party defendant should have 3 been identified as Dish Network." Docket No. 37, at 1. The next 4 month, on October 15, 2012, he filed this motion for leave to file 5 a third-party complaint against Dish Network. 6

LEGAL STANDARD

"A defending party may, as third-party plaintiff, serve a 8 summons and complaint on a nonparty who is or may be liable to it 9 for all or part of the claim against it." Fed. R. Civ. 10 P. 14(a)(1). If the defendant does not file the third-party complaint within fourteen days of its original answer, it must first obtain leave from the court to file the complaint. Id. 13

"The decision whether to implead a third-party defendant is 14 addressed to the sound discretion of the trial court." Southwest 15 Adm'rs, Inc. v. Rozay's Transfer, 791 F.2d 769, 777 (9th Cir. 16 1986). In exercising this discretion, the court typically 17 considers several factors, including "(1) prejudice to the 18 original plaintiff; (2) complication of issues at trial; 19 (3) likelihood of trial delay; and (4) timeliness of the motion to 20 implead." Green Valley Corp. v. Cado Oil Co., 2011 WL 1465883, at 21 *8 (N.D. Cal.). The court's central purpose in granting leave to 22 implead a third party is "to promote judicial efficiency by 23 eliminating the necessity for the defendant to bring a separate 24 action against a third individual who may be secondarily or 25 derivatively liable to the defendant for all or part of the 26 plaintiff's original claim." Southwest Adm'rs, 791 F.2d at 777. 27 28

DISCUSSION

Defendant seeks to implead as third-party defendant his 3 satellite television provider, Dish Network, which he alleges 4 knowingly provided his business with unlawful services. Because 5 he seeks to file a third-party complaint more than fourteen days 6 after filing his answer, Defendant must obtain leave of the court. 7 Fed. R. Civ. P. 14(a). 8

Defendant's proposed third-party complaint asserts claims of 9 negligent misrepresentation, breach of contract, UCL violations, 10 and negligence against Dish Network. Specifically, he contends 11 that Dish Network wrongfully provided West Coast Cigars with access to the television program that serves as the basis for 13

Plaintiff's lawsuit against him. Because Defendant's motion is 14 both timely and unopposed, the Court finds that the addition of a 15 third-party defendant would not undermine the Court's current 16 schedule or substantially prejudice Plaintiff. Under the current 17 scheduling order, the parties still have six more months to take 18 fact discovery and nearly a full year before trial is set to 19 begin. Docket No. 24, at 1. This ...


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