Cree, Inc. v. Tarr Inc. et al

Filing 30

ORDER Denying as Moot Defendants' 28 Motion to Clarify. Signed by Judge Gonzalo P. Curiel on 10/10/17. (dlg)

Download PDF
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT 9 SOUTHERN DISTRICT OF CALIFORNIA 10 11 CREE, INC., Case No.: 3:17-cv-00506-GPC-NLS Plaintiff, 12 13 v. 14 ORDER DENYING AS MOOT DEFENDANTS' MOTION FOR CLARIFICATION TARR, INC.; IRON ADS, LLC; NATHAN MARTINEZ; DOES 1-10, inclusive; 15 16 [ECF No. 28] Defendants. 17 18 19 20 Before the Court is Defendants’ “motion for clarification.” (ECF No. 28.) For the reasons explained below, the motion is DENIED as moot. Plaintiff Cree, Inc. (“Cree”) filed this action on March 14, 2017, asserting claims 21 relating to trademark infringement against Defendants Tarr, Inc.; Iron Ads, LLC; Nathan 22 Martinez; and ten unnamed individuals. (ECF No. 1.) On May 10, 2017, Defendants 23 filed a motion to dismiss Cree’s complaint in its entirety. (ECF No. 16.) In the same 24 filing, Defendants alternatively sought a more definite statement under Federal Rule of 25 Civil Procedure 12(e). (See ECF No. 16-1 at 12–13.) 26 27 On July 28, 2017, this Court issued an order granting in part and denying in part the motion to dismiss, and denying the motion for a more definite statement. (ECF No. 28 1 3:17-cv-00506-GPC-NLS 1 24 (the “July 28 Order”).) The Court explained that Cree had alleged sufficient facts to 2 state plausible claims for relief and to adequately apprise Defendants of how they have 3 allegedly infringed Cree’s trademark. (Id. at 6–13.) The Court found, however, that 4 Plaintiff’s alter ego allegations were insufficient to state a plausible claim “that 5 [Defendants] Tarr and Iron Ads are the alter egos of Defendant Martinez.” (Id. at 14.) 6 The Court explained that the allegations failed to establish (1) a unity of interest between 7 Defendant Martinez and Tarr and Iron Ads, or (2) that adherence “to the fiction of the 8 separate existence of the corporation . . . would sanction a fraud or promote injustice.” 9 (Id. at 15–16.) Finally, the Court explained that a more definite statement was not 10 required from Plaintiff because the complaint is “sufficiently detailed to apprise 11 Defendants of the misconduct alleged and the claims against them.” (Id. at 17.) The 12 Court therefore granted Defendants’ motion only as to Cree’s alter ego allegations. The 13 Court gave Cree thirty days from the date of its order “to amend its complaint to cure the 14 deficiencies as identified by this order.” (Id. at 18.) 15 On September 1, 2017, Cree filed a notice stating that it “does not intend to file an 16 amended complaint in an effort to cure the deficiencies of the later ego allegations, as 17 identified by the Court’s July 28, 2017 Order, and intends to move forward on its existing 18 Complaint under the effects of [the] Court’s July 28, 2017 Order.” (ECF No. 25.) 19 On September 17, 2017, Defendants filed the pending “request for clarification.” 20 (ECF No. 28.) In their request, Defendants state that they “need to know which 21 allegations are withdrawn and which allegations remain,” and that they “would prefer 22 that Cree file an amended complaint that affirmatively withdraws Cree’s alter-ego 23 allegations and those allegations that rest on Cree’s alter-ego theory of liability.” (ECF 24 No. 28.) 25 The Court disagrees with Defendants’ assertion that the complaint, as it stands, is 26 confusing as to which allegations are still operative after the July 28 Order. In fact, the 27 Court stated as much in its ruling when addressing Defendants’ challenge to Cree’s alter 28 ego allegations: 2 3:17-cv-00506-GPC-NLS 1 2 3 4 5 6 The Court observes that its conclusion that Plaintiff has failed to plead an alter ego relationship between Martinez and Tarr, along with Martinez and Iron Ads, has a minimal effect on the pleadings. This is so because the complaint has alleged that each of the Defendants are primarily liable for all causes of action, and therefore none of Plaintiff’s causes of action rely on the alter ego relationship to establish liability. See Compl. ¶ 11 (Defendants are “jointly, severally and concurrently liable and responsible with one another upon the causes of action hereinafter set forth.”). 7 (ECF No. 24 at 14 n.7 (emphasis added).) Because (1) only a few of the allegations in 8 the complaint refer to any aspect of alter ego liability (see ECF No. 1 at ¶¶ 5–9), (2) the 9 causes of action asserted in the complaint do not rely on an alter ego relationship, and (3) 10 the Court has already determined that the complaint’s allegations are sufficiently clear to 11 apprise Defendants of the misconduct alleged and the claims against them, it is 12 unnecessary for Cree to file an amended complaint. The Court accepts Cree’s declination 13 to file an amended complaint in response to the July 28 Order. Defendants’ motion to 14 dismiss Cree’s claims of alter ego liability between Tarr, Inc., and Nathan Martinez, and 15 Iron Ads, LLC, and Nathan Martinez is GRANTED with prejudice. 16 Defendants’ motion to clarify (ECF No. 28) is DENIED as moot. 17 IT IS SO ORDERED. 18 19 Dated: October 10, 2017 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 3 3:17-cv-00506-GPC-NLS

Disclaimer: Justia Dockets & Filings provides public litigation records from the federal appellate and district courts. These filings and docket sheets should not be considered findings of fact or liability, nor do they necessarily reflect the view of Justia.

Why Is My Information Online?