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AECOM Energy and Construction, Inc. v. Ripley

United States District Court, C.D. California

May 10, 2018

AECOM ENERGY & CONSTRUCTION, INC., Plaintiff,
v.
JOHN RIPLEY; TODD HALE; GARY TOPOLEWSKI; HENRY BLUM; BUD ZUKALOFF; MORRISON KNUDSEN CORPORATION; MORRISON-KNUDSEN COMPANY, INC.; MORRISON-KNUDSEN SERVICES, INC.; and MORRISON-KNUDSEN INTERNATIONAL INC., Defendants.

          ORDER RE: PLAINTIFF'S MOTION FOR FURTHER CIVIL CONTEMPT [103]

          HONORABLE RONALD S.W. LEW SENIOR U.S. DISTRICT JUDGE

         Currently before the Court is Plaintiff AECOM Energy and Construction, Inc.'s (“Plaintiff”) Motion for Further Civil Contempt (“Motion”) [103]. Having reviewed all papers submitted pertaining to this Motion, the Court NOW FINDS AND RULES AS FOLLOWS: the Court GRANTS in part and DENIES in part Plaintiff's Motion.

         I. BACKGROUND

         On July 21, 2017, Plaintiff filed its Complaint [1]. Plaintiff then filed a Motion for Preliminary Injunction on August 1, 2017 [11]. The Court granted Plaintiff's Motion for Preliminary Injunction on September 28, 2017 [45].

         On November 9, 2017, Defendants Morrison Knudsen Corporation, Morrison Knudsen Company, Inc., Morrison Knudsen Services, Inc., and Morrison Knudsen International Inc. (collectively, “Defendants”) filed the Declaration of Mike Johnson [62], outlining their compliance with the Court's Preliminary Injunction Order. According to Mr. Johnson's Declaration, he directed his staff to change the name of each corporate defendant to MK instead of Morrison Knudsen. Decl. of Mike Johnson re Compliance ¶¶ 4-5, ECF No. 62.

         On November 28, 2017, Plaintiff filed its first Motion for Civil Contempt [64]. The Court granted Plaintiff's first Motion for Civil Contempt on January 11, 2018 and ordered Defendants to change the names of their corporate entities to comply with the Court's Preliminary Injunction Order. Order re Pl.'s Mot. for Civil Contempt 13:7-10, ECF No. 86. The Contempt Order also ordered Defendants to pay a daily fine of $500 until Defendants filed an affidavit outlining their compliance with the Court's Contempt Order. Id. at 13:10-14.

         On January 12, 2018, Defendants filed an affidavit informing the Court that they had filed certificates of amendment changing their corporate names to Majestic Corporation, Majestic Company Inc., Majestic Services Inc., and Majestic International Inc. Decl. of Mike Johnson in Supp. of Defs.' Opp'n to Pl.'s Mot. for Contempt (“Johnson Decl.”) ¶ 5, ECF No. 107-1. While the Nevada Secretary of State approved Majestic Services Inc., on February 1, 2018, Defendants received rejections from the Nevada Secretary of State for the other three names due to unavailability. Id. ¶ 6.

         After Plaintiff filed supplemental briefing regarding its attorneys' fees incurred in connection with Plaintiff's first Motion for Civil Contempt, the Court granted Plaintiff's request for attorneys' fees on February 16, 2018 and ordered Defendants to pay Plaintiff $21, 815.80 within twenty-one days.[1] Order re Pl.'s Req. for Att'ys' Fees 4:28-5:5, ECF No. 97.

         On February 23, 2018, Defendants faxed certificates of amendment to the Nevada Secretary of State changing Morrison Knudsen Corporation to International Majestic Corporation, Morrison Knudsen Company, Inc. to International Majestic Company Inc., and Morrison Knudsen International Inc. to International Majestic Inc. Johnson Decl. ¶ 7, Ex. C. After not receiving any word from the Nevada Secretary of State, on March 8, 2018, Mr. Johnson contacted the Secretary of State, which informed Mr. Johnson that it had not received the name change requests. Id. ¶ 8. Defendants then resent the certificates of amendment to the Nevada Secretary of State on March 12, 2018. Id. ¶ 9. On March 22, 2018, Defendants received the Nevada Secretary of State's denial of these name changes due to unavailability. Id. ¶ 10.

         On March 26, 2018, Defendants submitted certificates of amendment changing Morrison Knudsen Corporation to Northern Majestic Corporation, Morrison Knudsen Company, Inc. to Northern Majestic Company Inc., and Morrison Knudsen International Inc. to Northern Majestic International Inc. Id. ¶ 11, Ex. F. The Nevada Secretary of State accepted the name change of Morrison Knudsen International Inc. to Northern Majestic International Inc. on March 29, 2018, but rejected the other two name changes. Pl.'s Reply in Supp. of Mot. for Contempt (“Reply”) 4:12-14, ECF No. 108.

         On March 27, 2018, Plaintiff filed the instant Motion [103]. On April 4, 2018, the day after Defendants filed their Opposition [107] to Plaintiff's Motion, Defendants filed certificates of amendment for the remaining two corporate Defendants. Second Decl. of Mike Johnson in Supp. of Defs.' Opp'n (“Second Johnson Decl.”) ¶ 4, ECF No. 115. On April 10, 2018, Defendants received confirmation that Morrison Knudsen Corporation was changed to Goodbrand Corporation and Morrison Knudsen Company, Inc. was changed to Goodbrand Company Inc. Id. ¶ 5, Ex. B.

         On April 17, 2018, one week after filing its Reply [108] in support of its Motion, Plaintiff filed the Supplemental Declaration of Yungmoon Chang [114] providing new evidence to the Court in support of Plaintiff's Motion. This new evidence included a website allegedly created by Defendants, which mirrored the website the Court previously ordered Defendants to take down.[2] Chang Suppl. Decl. ¶ 10. Defendants then responded on April 20, 2018 with the Second Declaration of Mike Johnson [115] in support of Defendants' Opposition to Plaintiff's Motion. Mr. Johnson declared that he was not aware of the morrison-knudsen.net website but that he had Defendants' IT department take the website down on April 17, 2018. Second Johnson Decl. ¶ 6.

         II. DISCUSSION

         A. Le ...


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