United States District Court, C.D. California
AUDIGIER BRAND MANAGEMENT GROUP, LLC, a California limited liability company, Plaintiff,
RHITA PEREZ, a/k/a RUTH PEREZ, a/k/a RUTH KRAIF, an individual, Defendant.
CHRISTINA A. SNYDER, District Judge.
This action brought by plaintiff Audigier Brand Management Group, LLC ("ABMG") against defendant Rhita Perez, a/k/a Ruth Perez, a/k/a Ruth Kraif ("Perez") is presently set for trial on March 25, 2014. Defendant Perez, who knowingly and voluntarily submitted to the jurisdiction of this Court and the application of United States and California law to the present action, has determined that she does not intend to continue to defend this case, and has stipulated to judgment in favor of ABMG on ABMG's Claim 3 for declaratory relief. The parties agree that Claims 1-2, and Claims 4-13 in ABMG's complaint, Dkt. No. 1, are moot, and should be dismissed with prejudice.
Judgment is hereby entered in favor of ABMG on its Claim 3. Ms. Perez is personally liable as an alter ego for the obligations of Mood Signatures, LLC ("Mood Signatures"), a limited liability company of which Ms. Perez was the sole member, as those obligations have been determined in the Final Award, dated December 13, 2013, issued in the arbitration proceeding entitled Audigier Brand Management Group, LLC v. Mood Signatures, LLC, American Arbitration Association Case No. 72 130 Y 00117 12 SIM. Pursuant to said Final Award, Mood Signatures, LLC's, and thus Ms. Perez's, obligations to ABMG presently total $1, 096, 769.49, plus interest accruing from and after December 13, 2013 on the sum of $975, 160.89 as provided by law. A true and correct copy of the Final Award is attached hereto as Exhibit 1 and is incorporated by reference herein as though fully set forth.
Claims 1-2 and Claims 4-13 alleged in ABMG's Complaint in this action are hereby dismissed with prejudice.
Each party shall bear its own costs.
This Court shall retain jurisdiction over Ms. Perez for the purpose of making any further orders necessary or proper for the construction or modification of the Judgment and for the enforcement or compliance with or punishment of violations of the Judgment.
IT IS SO ORDERED, ADJUDGED AND DECREED.
FINAL ARBITRATION AWARD
THE UNDERSIGNED ARBITRATOR, having been designated in accordance with the license agreement between the parties dated as of February 1, 2009, and having been duly sworn, and having duly heard the proofs and allegations of the parties, hereby issues this FINAL ARBITRATION AWARD as follows:
1. The parties agreed that this dispute is arbitrable pursuant to paragraph 21 of the Trademark License Agreement dated as of February 1, 2009 between Claimant and Counter-Respondent Audigier Brand Management, LLC ("Claimant" or "ABMG") and Respondent and Counter-Claimant Mood Signatures, LLC ("Respondent" or "Mood"). The parties also agreed that the Commercial Arbitration Rules of the American Arbitration Association (-AAA") apply in this matter.
2. The applicable pleadings are Claimant's Amended Statement of Claims dated July 23, 2012, Respondent's Response to the statement of claims dated August 6, 2012 (which included counterclaims), and Claimant's answer to the counterclaims dated September 14, 2012.
3. The parties, by agreement, conducted discovery prior to the merits hearing, including mutual production of documents, interrogatories and responses thereto, and depositions of certain witnesses. The merits hearing was held on April 18 and 19, and May 21, 22, 23 and 24, 2013. By agreement of the parties, the hearings were held at the offices of Claimant's counsel at 2049 Century Park East, 7th Floor, Los Angeles, California 90067. At the hearing Claimant was represented by James Turken, Esq., and Fawn Schanz, Esq., and Respondent was represented by James Smith, Esq., and Judd Serotta, Esq. At the hearing, the parties introduced documentary evidence and the testimony of Rhita Perez, Hubert Guez, Fiona Nottingham and Serge Kraif. Ms. Perez testified in the French language and her testimony was translated into English by an interpreter agreed upon by the parties. All the other witnesses testified in English. Following the hearing, the parties submitted certain additional documentary evidence, which has been considered by the arbitrator. The parties then submitted post-hearing briefs, and counsel gave oral arguments on August 1, 2013, whereupon the hearing was closed. The parties agreed to extend the time for issuance of the award to September 17, 2013, to be followed by an application for an award of attorneys' fees and costs to the prevailing party. The arbitrator issued an Interim Arbitration Award dated September 16, 2013, deciding all issues except for an award of attorneys' fees and costs and an allocation of the fees and expenses of the AAA and the arbitrator. The findings of the Interim Award are reaffirmed and are set forth verbatim below.
4. The arbitrator finds that Mood entered into and is bound by the Trademark License Agreement dated as of February 1, 2009, and that the agreement was not induced by fraud or mistake.
5. Respondent breached the License Agreement by, among other things, failing to report and pay earned royalties and minimum guaranteed royalties as required by the Agreement. Claimant ABMG is entitled to recover, as damages resulting from Respondent's breaches of the Agreement, the amount of $648, 935.89.
6. The arbitrator finds in favor of Respondent Mood, and against Claimant ABMG, on ABMG's trademark infringement claim.
7. The arbitrator finds in favor ABMG and against Mood on Mood's counterclaim.
8. Claimant ABMG is the prevailing party in this arbitration and, pursuant to paragraph 21.2 of the Trademark License Agreement, ABMG is entitled to recover its reasonable attorneys' fees and costs incurred herein. The parties stipulated for a briefing schedule on Claimant's application for an award of attorneys' fees and costs, and Claimant timely filed its application on October 15, 2013. The parties stipulated to further extensions of the briefing schedule on Claimant's application. On December 4, _2013, counsel advised the arbitrator that the parties had stipulated to an award to Claimant of attorneys' fees and costs in the amount of $325, 000. Pursuant to this stipulation, Claimant shall recover attorneys' fees and costs from Respondent in the amount of $325, 000.
9. Pursuant to paragraph 21.2 of the License Agreement (Ex. 5), Section 3289(b) of the Civil Code and Section 685.010 of the Code of Civil Procedure, the amount awarded pursuant to paragraph 5 above shall bear interest at a rate of 10% per annum from and after January 29, 2012 until the amount of this award is paid in full. The amount of such interest due and payable as of the date hereof is $121, 608.60.
10. The stipulated amount of attorneys' fees and costs of $325, 000 as reflected in paragraph 8 hereof, includes all fees and expenses of the AAA and all fees and expenses of the arbitrator except for the arbitrator's fees of $2, 450.00 reflected in his invoice dated December 6, 2013. Respondent shall reimburse Claimant ABMG the sum of $1, 225.00, representing that ...