United States District Court, C.D. California
HOMELAND HOUSEWARES, LLC, a California LLC; NUTRIBULLET, LLC, L a California LLC, Plaintiff,
SHARKNINJA OPERATING LLC, Defendants.
ORDER DENYING CROSS-MOTIONS FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT OR
PARTIAL SUMMARY JUDGMENT AND MOTION TO EXCLUDE EXPERT
TESTIMONY OF SARAH BUTLER [DKT. NOS. 185, 186, 189]
D. PREGERSON, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
before the court are: (1) Plaintiffs Homeland Housewares,
LLC, and Nutribullet, LLC (collectively
“Plaintiffs” or “Homeland”)’s
Motion for Summary Judgment or, in the Alternative, Summary
Adjudication of Plaintiffs’ False Advertising Claim;
(2) Plaintiffs’ Motion to Exclude the Expert Testimony
of Sarah Butler; and (3) Defendant SharkNinja Operating LLC
(“SharkNinja”)’s Motion for Summary
Judgment or, in the Alternative, for Partial Summary
Judgment. (Dkt. Nos. 185, 189, 186). After considering the
parties’ submissions and hearing oral argument, the
court enters the following Order.
court has set forth the relevant background in several
previous Orders. (See Dkts. 33, 39, 46, 69.) In brief,
Homeland and SharkNinja are competitors in the home blender
market. (Decl. Kaitlyn Hebert in support of Def.’s Mot.
Summ. J. (“Def. Mot.”), ¶3.) Primarily at
issue in this case is a comparison chart printed on the
packaging for SharkNinja’s NutriNinja Pro
(“BL450”) product. (Wilton Decl., Exs. 5 &
6.) The chart in question, labeled “NUTRI NINJA vs.
NUTRIBULLET, ” compares the products along various
criteria including wattage, speed, portability, and other
features. (Id.) Notably, the chart does not specify
whether it is comparing the BL450 to a particular Nutribullet
model or all Nutribullet products.
to Homeland, the chart constitutes false advertising that is
entirely inaccurate as to the higher end NutriBullet Pro
(“NB 900”) and largely inaccurate as to the
NutriBullet Classic (“NB 600”). This court
previously granted a preliminary injunction requiring
SharkNinja to remove the allegedly infringing statements from
the BL450 box. (Dkt. 33 at 17-18.) Homeland now brings a
motion for summary judgment, and in the alternative, for
summary adjudication, of its false advertising claims against
SharkNinja. Homeland also moves to exclude the testimony of
SharkNinja’s expert Sarah Butler who has conducted a
survey on certain aspects of how consumers interpret the
BL450’s packaging. SharkNinja has moved for summary
judgment, and in the alternative, for summary adjudication,
on all claims.
judgment is appropriate where the pleadings, depositions,
answers to interrogatories, and admissions on file, together
with the affidavits, if any, show “that there is no
genuine dispute as to any material fact and the movant is
entitled to judgment as a matter of law.” Fed.R.Civ.P.
56(a). A party seeking summary judgment bears the initial
burden of informing the court of the basis for its motion and
of identifying those portions of the pleadings and discovery
responses that demonstrate the absence of a genuine issue of
material fact. See Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477
U.S. 317, 323 (1986). All reasonable inferences from the
evidence must be drawn in favor of the nonmoving party.
See Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242,
242 (1986). If the moving party does not bear the burden of
proof at trial, it is entitled to summary judgment if it can
demonstrate that “there is an absence of evidence to
support the nonmoving party’s case.”
Celotex, 477 U.S. at 323.
the moving party meets its burden, the burden shifts to the
nonmoving party opposing the motion, who must “set
forth specific facts showing that there is a genuine issue
for trial.” Anderson, 477 U.S. at 256. Summary
judgment is warranted if a party “fails to make a
showing sufficient to establish the existence of an element
essential to that party’s case, and on which that party
will bear the burden of proof at trial.”
Celotex, 477 U.S. at 322. A genuine issue exists if
“the evidence is such that a reasonable jury could
return a verdict for the nonmoving party, ” and
material facts are those “that might affect the outcome
of the suit under the governing law.”
Anderson, 477 U.S. at 248. There is no genuine issue
of fact “[w]here the record taken as a whole could not
lead a rational trier of fact to find for the nonmoving
party.” Matsushita Elec. Indus. Co. v. Zenith Radio
Corp., 475 U.S. 574, 587 (1986).
not the court’s task “to scour the record in
search of a genuine issue of triable fact.” Keenan
v. Allan, 91 F.3d 1275, 1278 (9th Cir. 1996). Counsel
has an obligation to lay out their support clearly.
Carmen v. San Francisco Sch. Dist., 237 F.3d 1026,
1031 (9th Cir. 2001). The court “need not examine the
entire file for evidence establishing a genuine issue of
fact, where the evidence is not set forth in the opposition
papers with adequate references so that it could conveniently
be found.” Id.
Daubert Motion and Summary Judgment Claims
moves to exclude the testimony of Defendant’s expert
Sarah Butler under Federal Rule of Evidence 702 and
Daubert v. Merrell Dow Pharms., Inc., 509 U.S. 579
(1993). Having reviewed the expert report and considered the
parties’ arguments, the court DENIES the motion.
Furthermore, both parties seek summary judgment, or in the
alternative, summary adjudication on the false advertising
claim arising under Lanham Act section 43. Defendant also
seeks summary judgment on Homeland’s state law claims
for unfair competition, false advertising, and trade libel.
Having considered the admissible record evidence, the court
finds there are triable issues of fact and DENIES summary
judgment on all claims.
Plaintiff Homeland Houseware’s Standing
to the Supreme Court’s decision in Lexmark Intern.
v. Static Control Components, 134 S.Ct. 1377 (2013), a
party seeking to establish standing to recover under Section
43(a) of the Lanham Act must meet the minimum requirements of
Article III standing-injury, causation, and
redressability-and must also “plead (and ultimately
prove) an injury to a commercial interest in sales or
business reputation proximately caused by the defendants
misrepresentations.” Id. at 1395. The
requirement that a plaintiff allege “injury to a
commercial interest in reputation or sales” exists to
ensure that their claims come within the zone of interests