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Ltd. v. Laurain

United States District Court, W.D. Louisiana, Monroe Division

January 8, 2020

LUV N'CARE, LTD., Plaintiff
v.
LINDSEY LAURAIN, ET AL., Defendants

          DOUGHTY JUDGE

          MEMORANDUM ORDER

          JOSEPH H.L. PEREZ-MONTES UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE

         Plaintiff Luv N' Care, Ltd. (“LNC”) filed “Motion for Sanctions in the Form of an Adverse Inference and Attorneys' Fees Due to EZPZ's Spoliation of Evidence.” ECF No. 324. Because LNC has not shown that Defendant Eazy-PZ, L.L.C. (“EZPZ”) destroyed evidence or acted in bad faith, the Motion is DENIED.

         I. Procedural Background

         LNC filed a Complaint for Unfair Competition and Declaratory Judgment (Doc. No. 1) against Defendants Lindsey Laurain[1] and EZPZ. LNC seeks damages and injunctive relief for false advertising, false representation, unfair competition under the Lantham Act, 15 U.S.C. §§ 1051, et seq., and the Louisiana Unfair Trade Practices and Consumer Protection Law, La. Rev. Stat. 51:1401, et seq. ECF No. 21. LNC also seeks a declaratory judgment that LNC violated no valid claim of EZPZ's design patent, utility patent, or any other intellectual property (“IP”) right. ECF No. 21. The alleged IP rights at issue are:

(1) On July 17, 2014, Laurain filed United States Patent Application No. 14/333, 682 (“the ‘682 Utility Application”) for Surface Contact Self-Sealing Integrated Tablewear and Dining Mat. ECF Nos. 21, 27.
(2) On December 3, 2014, Laurain filed a design patent application for “Dining Mat with Integrated Tablewear, ” and on December 15, 2015, the United States Patent and Trademark Office (“USPTO”) issued United States Patent No. D745, 327 (“the 327 Design Patent”). ECF Nos. 21, 27.
(3) On March 17, 2016, the application for the 682 Utility Application was published as United States Published Patent Application No. 2016/0073805, Surface Contact Self-Sealing Integrated Tablewear and Dining Mat (“the 805 Publication”). ECF No. 27.
(4) On October 11, 2016, the USPTO issued United States Patent No. 9, 462, 903, Surface Contact Self-Sealing Integrated Tablewear and Dining Mat (“the 903 Utility Patent”). ECF Nos. 21, 27.

         LNC seeks an injunction and damages for EZPZ's alleged acts of false advertising, false representation, and unfair competition, all based on claims of patent infringement. ECF No. 21. LNC alleges the product giving rise to this action is a feeding mat, which is an integrated self-sealing silicone place mat with a built-in bowl or plate that attaches to a table using suction. ECF No. 21. LNC alleges EZPZ has no valid existing IP right that covers any aspect of LNC's feeding mats. ECF No. 21. LNC further alleges EZPZ sells competing feeding mats. ECF No. 21.

         EZPZ filed an answer and counterclaim against LNC, alleging that LNC: (1) infringed the 903 Utility Patent and the 327 Design Patent; (2) violated 15 U.S.C. §§ 1114 and 1125(a); and (3) unfairly competed with EZPZ in violation of state and common law. ECF No. 27. EZPZ seeks monetary damages and a permanent injunction against LNC. ECF No. 27.

         LNC answered EZPZ's counterclaim. ECF No. 33. EZPZ then amended its counterclaim, asserting claims against third-party Counter-Defendants Admar International, Inc. (“Admar”) and Nouri E. Hakim (“Hakim”). ECF No. 40. Defendants Admar, Hakim, and LNC answered, asserting affirmative defenses. ECF No. 45.

         LNC filed a Motion for Sanctions in the Form of an Adverse Inference and Attorneys' Fees Due to EZPZ's Spoliation of Evidence. ECF No. 324. EZPZ opposes that motion. ECF No. 334. LNC replied. ECF No. 335. Briefing is now complete.

         II. Law ...


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