United States District Court, W.D. Louisiana, Monroe Division
MICHAEL L. McGINLEY, ET AL.
LUV N' CARE, LTD., ET AL.
L. HAYES, MAG. JUDGE
A. DOUGHTY, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
before the Court is the Motion to Amend Rulings on Motions
for Summary Judgment and Related Judgment [Doc. No. 241]
filed by Plaintiffs Michael L. McGinley and S.C. Products,
Inc. (collectively “Plaintiffs”). Luv n'
care, Ltd. (“LNC”), Admar International, Inc.
(“Admar”), BuyBabyDirect, LLC
(“BBD”), Bayou Graphics and Design, LLC
(“BGD”), Control Services, Inc.
(“CS”), and HHHII, LLC (“HHHII”)
(collectively “Defendants”) have filed an
Opposition [Doc. No. 246]. The matter is fully briefed.
Court is now prepared to rule on the motion.
FACTUAL AND PROCEDURAL BACKGROUND
March 30, 2016, Plaintiffs filed a Complaint against
Defendant Luv N. Care, Ltd. (“LNC”), alleging
various patent infringement claims pertaining to its
“'178 Patent” for a flexible panel rinse cup
product [Doc. No. 1]. On July 27, 2018, Plaintiffs expanded
their claims with an Amended Complaint [Doc. No. 109], which
(1) included a claim pertaining to its '178 Patent for
indirect infringement against LNC; (2) added a number of
companies, including Defendants Admar, BGD, CS, and HHHII,
that are commonly-owned and controlled by LNC and its
principals as additional defendants; and (3) included a claim
pertaining to its '178 Patent of infringement against a
new Defendant BuyBabyDirect, LLC (“BBD”), and a
separate, equitable claim against LNC and all of the other
Defendants asserting that they constitute a “single
business enterprise, ” or alter egos, or joint
venturers. Plaintiffs contended that all Defendants are
jointly and severally liable to Plaintiffs for the unlawful
acts of each other.
November 6, 2018, Defendants Admar, BGD, CS, and HHHII
(collectively “Moving Defendants”) filed a Motion
for Summary Judgment to Dismiss Plaintiffs' Claims
(“MSJ to Dismiss Claims”) [Doc. No. 133]. On
January 24, 2019, the Court denied the MSJ to Dismiss Claims
[Doc. Nos. 172, 173]. In its Ruling, the Court stated that
“. . . to the extent that Moving Defendants request
summary judgment holding that they have not infringed or
induced infringement of any of Plaintiffs' alleged patent
rights, the motion is DENIED because those claims have not
been asserted against them.” [Doc. No. 172 at 5]. The
Court further found that there were genuine issues of
material fact which precluded summary judgment. [Doc. No. 172
November 8, 2018, all Defendants filed a Motion for Summary
Judgment seeking a ruling that the '178 Patent asserted
by Plaintiffs is not infringed. [Doc. No. 137]. Plaintiffs
also filed a Motion for Summary Judgment seeking a ruling
that the importation into and/or the use, offers to sell and
actual sale of the Nuby Tear Free Rinse Pail
(“Accused Device”) literally infringed claims 1
and 6 of the '178 Patent. [Doc. No. 136]. On May 15,
2019, the Court granted Defendants' motion and denied
Plaintiffs' Motion. [Doc. Nos. 237, 238].
move the Court pursuant to F.R.C.P. 54(b) to revise its
Rulings on Motions for Summary Judgment [Doc. No. 237] and
related Judgment [Doc. No. 238] to (A) clarify that the
Court's summary judgment of noninfringement was entered
solely in favor of Defendants Luv n' care, Ltd. and
BuyBabyDirect, LLC, and (B) include the Court's
determination as to the continued viability of the claims of
relief stated in Count III of the Amended Complaint [Doc. No.
109] in light of the Court's summary judgment of
noninfringement [Doc. No. 238], and (C) identify the claims
that remain pending in the case after the Court's
consideration of and ruling as to Count III. [Doc. No. 241 at
1]. In addition, Plaintiffs move the Court for its Order
holding that neither Plaintiffs nor Defendants can be justly
deemed the “prevailing party” in this action and
that each side must bear its own costs of suit under F.R.C.P.
54(d)(1). Id. at 2.
LAW AND ANALYSIS
Plaintiffs' Request to Clarify that the Court's
Summary Judgment of Noninfringement was
Entered Solely in Favor of Defendants Luv n' care, Ltd.
and BuyBabyDirect, LLC.
Court granted Defendants' Motion for Summary Judgment of
Noninfringement for all Defendants [Doc. Nos. 237, 238],
which included Defendants Admar, BGD, CS, and HHHII
(collectively “Moving Defendants”). Plaintiffs
contend that the only Defendants in whose favor a summary
judgment of noninfringement could be entered is Luv n'
care, Ltd and BuyBabyDirect, LLC. [Doc. No. 241-1 at 2].
According to Plaintiffs, the Court already denied the MSJ to
Dismiss Claims [Doc. No. 133] filed by Moving Defendants, and
determined that these Defendants could not obtain summary
judgment relief. Id.
the Court stated “to the extent that [these] Defendants
request summary judgment holding that they have not infringed
or induced infringement of any of Plaintiffs' alleged
patent rights, the motion is DENIED because those claims have
not been asserted against them.” [Doc. No. 172 at 5].
In the present motion, Plaintiffs argue that the Court
“apparently overlooked its prior ruling and decision
recognizing that Plaintiffs had not asserted any infringement
claims against Admar International, Inc., Bayou Graphics and
Design, LLC, Control Services, Inc., and HHHII, LLC, and
thus, these Defendants could not obtain such summary
relief.” [Doc. No. 241-1 at 2-3].
issue is not that the Court overlooked its prior ruling.
Instead, the MSJ to Dismiss Claims was a procedurally flawed
attempt by Moving Defendants to exit the case. In effect,
Moving Defendants asked the Court to deny Plaintiffs'
single business entity claim without proper factual support
for doing so. Although the motion was partially postured as a
motion for summary judgment for noninfringement, it was
actually a motion to deny Plaintiffs' equitable relief
claim of a single business enterprise. Given this procedural
history, the ...