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Planet Goalie, Inc v. Monkeysports

April 22, 2013


The opinion of the court was delivered by: Ralph Zarefsky United States Magistrate Judge


This matter came before the Court on April 15, 2013 on Defendant's Motion for Summary Judgment. Defendant appeared through its counsel W. Michael Hensley. Plaintiff appeared through its counsel Randy Godin. The Court heard argument of counsel and took the matter under submission. Being fully advised, the Court grants the motion, and issues its Statement of Undisputed Facts and Conclusions of Law.


1. Planet Goalie was and is a corporation incorporated under the laws of Nevada on January 13, 2010 and has its principal place of business in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. It was owned originally by Mike Sherman and Derek Prue. Mr. Sherman and Mr. Prue are not parties to this action.

2. Planet Goalie's principal business was selling hockey goalie equipment and related supplies at the retail level.

3. Defendant MonkeySports is a corporation incorporated under the laws of California, with its principal place of business in Corona, California. It sells all kinds of ice hockey equipment, including some goalie equipment, but the goalie business is a relatively small part of its overall sales.

4. The amount in controversy exceeds the sum of $75,000, exclusive of interest and costs.

5. Vaughn Custom Sports ("Vaughn") is one of the two largest manufacturers in North America of ice hockey goalie equipment and related supplies. It is based in Michigan.

6. Planet Goalie commenced the pending action against Defendant MonkeySports in the Middle District of Pennsylvania on September 2, 2011, asserting two claims, one for interference involving Vaughn and the second for interference against Reebok/CCM. This action was transferred to the Central District of California based on lack of personal jurisdiction/venue grounds, with the parties eventually consenting that the undersigned may hear the case pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 636(c). Earlier, Planet Goalie dismissed with prejudice and without costs the second count of its Complaint involving Reebok/CCM. The sole remaining claim involves Vaughn.

7. MonkeySports had a continuous relationship with Vaughn for several years before Planet Goalie was formed, by which Vaughn supplied goalie equipment to MonkeySports based on booking orders. Under a booking order relationship, a supplier like Vaughn may use its discretion in determining whether to fill an order.

8. Michael Sherman was employed by MonkeySports (with MonkeySports also known as Hawk Hockey) from approximately December 2001 through early January 2010. During this employment, Mr. Sherman had a title of manager of MonkeySports' goalie division, so representing himself to others and to suppliers' representatives such as Vaughn, and mainly working from MonkeySports' Santa Ana warehouse. Mr. Sherman was hired by MonkeySports to help MonkeySports become more competitive with competitor Hockey Goalie. He came up with a Goalie Hockey internet presence implemented by MonkeySports, was a main interface with supplier/customer representatives (such as Vaughn) for goalie products, visited Vaughn's Michigan headquarters while working with MonkeySports and was taken out to a Detroit Red Wings game, and monitored MonkeySports' competitors' websites while at MonkeySports. Mr. Sherman resigned from MonkeySports, relocated to Pennsylvania and opened up Planet Goalie for business in early 2010.

9. In its Complaint, Planet Goalie alleges that MonkeySports interfered with its retail product prospective "booking order" arrangement with Vaughn. MonkeySports interfered, Plaintiff alleges, when two events occurred. First, MonkeySports' owner John Naaman warned Vaughn that MonkeySports would cancel one-half of its booking orders with Vaughn if Vaughn made Planet Goalie an e-commerce dealer for Vaughn. Second, Vaughn terminated Planet Goalie as a dealer.

10. On October 15, 2012, this Court issued and served a scheduling order setting a fact discovery cut-off date of February 18, 2013 and a motion cut-off hearing date of April 15, 2013.

11. In response to Federal Rule 26 mandatory disclosures and a prior document production request, Planet Goalie has produced no emails or documents showing any interference by MonkeySports.

12. Planet Goalie did not provide a computation of damages in its Rule 26 mandatory pretrial disclosures and did not supplement said disclosures.

13. In its Complaint, Planet Goalie states that Vaughn terminated Plaintiff for shipping merchandise to other Vaughn customers even though it promised retailers that no such direct shipments would take place. Planet Goalie avers only on "information and belief" that Vaughn's termination was caused by MonkeySports' "demands."

14. The only competent evidence demonstrates that MonkeySports' Mr. Naaman stated that it was "fine" that Mr. Sherman wanted to resign from MonkeySports on January 2010 and begin to work on a "different business."

15. A separately incorporated entity named MonkeySports N.J., Inc. is owned by Monkey Sports' principals, has opened a retail store in Woodbridge, N.J., sells goalie ...

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