World Wrestling Entertainment, Inc. v. Unidentified Parties
ORDER AND REASONS denying 10 Motion for Reconsideration. FURTHER ORDERED that no further motions for reconsideration, to supplement, or the like may be filed unless Plaintiff can submit specific facts that can be used to identify Defendants (other than merely describing their conduct). FURTHER ORDERED that the Clerk shall not issue any summons to unidentified parties in this case. Signed by Judge Helen G. Berrigan on 04/03/2014. (kac)
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
EASTERN DISTRICT OF LOUISIANA
VARIOUS JOHN DOES AND JANE
DOES, ET AL
ORDER AND REASONS
This matter comes before the Court on ex parte motion for reconsideration of the
Court’s order denying Plaintiff’s ex parte motion for a temporary restraining order, order
for seizure of counterfeit marked goods, and order to show cause why a preliminary
injunction should not issue. Rec. Doc. 10. Having considered the record, the
memorandum of counsel and the law, the Court rules as follows.
There is no doubt that, as Plaintiff explains, Congress intended to expand the
remedies available to trademark holders confronting counterfeiters by providing them a
mechanism to obtain ex parte seizure orders. But the ability to obtain a seizure order
without notice is not the same as the ability to obtain a seizure order without identifying
the “person” against whom it is directed. 28 U.S.C. § 1116(d)(4(B). Plaintiff’s only
authority for the proposition that Congress intended that second result is a House Report
that accompanied the enactment of what is now Section 1116(d), and the language of that
report is ambiguous. While it rules out the necessity of a trademark holder providing the
name of the person against whom seizure is to be ordered, it does not unambiguously
state that a trademark holder may proceed against wholly unidentified defendants. Even
if it did, that would conflict with the plain language of Section 1116(d), as the Court
explained in its earlier order. And even if it did not, it is doubtful whether Congress
could constitutionally provide such a power. Unlike an in personam case, such as the one
Plaintiff cites allowing a copyright suit to proceed against defendants identified only by
their IP addresses and internet service providers, Plaintiff asks the Court to order the
seizure of Defendants’ property without any idea who Defendants are, and so without
any idea of what each Defendant has done that might merit seizure.1 That is, Plaintiff has
not provided any information about Defendants anywhere near as unique as an IP
Plaintiff’s motion argues around this central issue: Plaintiff’s inability, or more
accurately, unwillingness to conduct the investigation required, to identify any “person”
An action commenced in personam does not present the same due process
issues as a case commenced by seizure of a defendant’s property. Merely
being made a defendant does not deprive a person of property, while having
property seized does. And in any event, unless an in personam defendant is
identified, there is no possibility of enforcing a judgment against that person.
against whom seizure would be ordered.2 The Court believes that inability is fatal to the
relief Plaintiff requests, no matter how serious the problem Plaintiff faces. The Court
nevertheless provided Plaintiff with an opportunity to seek another (and controlling)
opinion by certifying its earlier order for interlocutory appeal. Plaintiff may avail itself of
that option, but it may not relitigate decided issues in the guise of a motion for
IT IS ORDERED that the motion for reconsideration is DENIED. Rec. Doc. 10.
IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that no further motions for reconsideration, to
supplement, or the like may be filed unless Plaintiff can submit “specific facts” that can
be used to identify Defendants (other than merely describing their conduct).
IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that the Clerk shall not issue any summons to
unidentified parties in this case.
New Orleans, Louisiana, this 3rd day of April, 2014.
HELEN G. BERRIGAN
UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
Plaintiff also suggests that the Court misunderstood the temporal and
geographic limits of the relief it requested. Having reread Plaintiff’s first
proposed order, the Court disagrees—and Plaintiff’s felt need to submit a
revised proposed order incorporating a narrower time frame and geographic
focus suggests the Court is correct. In any event, even with such narrowing,
Plaintiff’s revised request fails for the reason identified above as central.
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?