Youngevity International, Corp. v. Smith et al

Filing 694

ORDER. Signed by Magistrate Judge Jill L. Burkhardt on 2/13/2020.(sxa)

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1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT 9 SOUTHERN DISTRICT OF CALIFORNIA 10 11 12 YOUNGEVITY INTERNATIONAL, CORP., 15 16 ORDER Plaintiff, 13 14 Case No.: 16-cv-00704-BTM-JLB v. TODD SMITH, et al., Defendants. 17 18 On December 26, 2019, the Honorable Barry Ted Moskowitz issued an Order 19 Setting Trial, which set May 11, 2020, as the trial date for Plaintiff’s (“Youngevity’s”) 20 claims under the Lanham Act and Unfair Competition Law. (ECF No. 675 at 1–2.) The 21 Order also set February 14, 2020, as the deadline for the parties to submit a proposed 22 pretrial order, which must contain: (1) a statement to be read to the jury; (2) a list of the 23 causes of action to be tried; (3) a list of witnesses; (4) a list of exhibits; (5) a statement of 24 stipulated facts; (6) a list of all deposition transcripts; and (7) proposed jury instructions. 25 (Id. at 2.) In the Order, Judge Moskowitz directed the parties “to meet with the assigned 26 magistrate judge to work out as many stipulations of fact as possible” and encouraged the 27 parties “to consult with the assigned magistrate judge to work out any problems in 28 preparation of the proposed pretrial order.” (Id. at 3.) 1 16-cv-00704-BTM-JLB 1 On January 29, 2020, counsel for the parties left a joint voicemail message with 2 Judge Burkhardt’s chambers requesting the Court’s assistance in resolving disputes 3 concerning the fact stipulations and proposed jury instructions in the parties’ proposed 4 pretrial order. (ECF No. 690.) On February 6, 2020, the Court held a telephonic, counsel- 5 only Status Conference wherein each party’s disputed fact stipulations were discussed. 6 (ECF No. 692.) During the Conference, Defendants (“Wakaya”) took issue with the fact 7 that Youngevity had not disclosed to Wakaya what allegedly false statements it intended 8 to present to the jury in support of its Lanham Act claims for false or misleading 9 advertising. Wakaya argued that knowing exactly what false statements Youngevity 10 intends to present is critical to preparing the parties’ fact stipulations and crafting 11 appropriate jury instructions. Youngevity objected to providing a specific list of statements 12 it would rely on during trial and argued that the task would be impossible. Youngevity 13 further argued that it had already identified which exhibits (more than 500) it intended to 14 use in support of its Lanham Act claims. On February 10, 2020, the Court held a second 15 telephonic, counsel-only Status Conference with the parties. (ECF No. 693.) Each party’s 16 position on the issue remained the same. 17 Judge Moskowitz has directed this Court to address whether Youngevity must now 18 disclose to Wakaya the specific and allegedly false statements it intends to present to the 19 jury in support of its Lanham Act claims. Section 43(a) of the Lanham Act, 15 U.S.C. 20 § 1125(a), prohibits the use of false designations of origin, false descriptions, and false 21 representations in the advertising and sale of goods and services. See Cleary v. News Corp., 22 30 F.3d 1255, 1259 (9th Cir. 1994). There are five elements of a false advertising claim 23 under the Lanham Act, the first element being “a false statement of fact by the defendant 24 in a commercial advertisement about its own or another’s product.” Southland Sod Farms 25 v. Stover Seed Co., 108 F.3d 1134, 1139 (9th Cir. 1997). Given that Youngevity will be 26 required to identify for the jury what false statements Wakaya made to satisfy the first 27 element of its Lanham Act claims, the Court determines that Youngevity should now be 28 required to disclose a specific list of those statements upon which it intends to rely at trial. 2 16-cv-00704-BTM-JLB 1 Doing so will facilitate the parties’ trial preparation and will save judicial and litigation 2 resources. 3 Accordingly, no later than February 21, 2020, Youngevity shall provide Wakaya 4 with a document specifying every allegedly false statement it intends to use to satisfy the 5 “false statement of fact” requirement in the first element of a false advertising claim under 6 the Lanham Act. The document shall individually list the specific statements and shall not 7 reference general statements or categories of statements. 8 9 IT IS SO ORDERED. Dated: February 13, 2020 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 3 16-cv-00704-BTM-JLB

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