Perfetti Van Melle USA Inc. et al v. Midwest Processing, LLC et al
OPINION AND ORDER granting in part Request for Damages and 8 Motion for Permanent Injunction. Signed by U.S. District Judge Roberto A. Lange on 2/25/16. (DJP)
FEB 2 5 20f6
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
DISTRICT OF SOUTH DAKOTA
PERFETTI VAN MELLE USA INC., and
PERFETTI VAN MELLE BENELUX B.V.,
OPINION AND ORDER GRANTING IN
PART REQUEST FOR DAMAGES AND
MOTION FOR PERMANENT INJUNCTION
MIDWEST PROCESSING, LLC,
and DEXTER JORGENSEN,
Plaintiffs Perfetti Van Melle USA, Inc. and Perfetti Van Melle Benelux B.V.
(collectively, "Perfetti") arranged through a third party for Defendants Midwest Processing, LLC
("Midwest") and Dexter Jorgensen ("Jorgensen") to recycle candy that Perfetti had manufactured
but deemed unsalable. Perfetti sued Defendants in this Court after learning that Defendants
wrongfully had diverted the candy to retail stores for sale rather than recycling it. This Court
entered a default judgment against Defendants under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 55(b)(2),
Doc. 43, and set a briefing schedule on the issue of Perfetti's recoverable damages, Doc. 44.
Perfetti filed a brief and supporting evidence concerning its damages, and the time for
Defendants to respond has long passed. 1 For the reasons explained below, this Court grants in
part Perfetti's request for damages and permanent injunction.
Defendants had until December 2, 2015, to respond to Perfetti's opening brief on damages. The
parties communicated to this Court informally that Defendants would not be filing any response.
Defendants thereby did not contest Perfetti' s ultimate damage calculations.
Perfetti is a global manufacturer of candy and chewing gum whose brands include
Airheads®, Airheads Xtremes®, and Mentos®.
Doc. 1 at
All Perfetti products
manufactured in the United States are sold through authorized distribution channels to retailers
around the country. Doc. 1 at if 13. Perfetti introduced a new p·roduct in 2014 called "Airheads
Xtremes® Bites" ("Xtremes® Bites"). Doc. 1atif20; Doc. 18-1 at 1; Doc. 18-2 at 1. Xtremes®
Bites were initially imported from Italy, but Perfetti USA began manufacturing the candy in the
United States in July 2014. Doc. 1atif23; Doc. 18-1at1; Doc. 18-2 at 1.
Between November 2014 and February 2015, Perfetti USA determined that certain
Xtremes® Bites production runs did not meet specifications and would therefore be withheld as
unsalable product. Doc. 1 at if 25; Doc. 18-2 at 1-2. The sanding sugar on some of the product
did not adhere correctly, causing the product to become harder than usual, and individual pieces
showed signs of clumping together in the package. Doc. 1 at if 25. Other problems arose with
packaging of the product, including sealing defects. Doc. 1 at if 25. Although posing no health
or safety risk to consumers, the withheld product had defects in quality or packaging that are
common when calibrating a new production line and that would make the product less appealing
to consumers. Doc. 1 at if 26; Doc. 18-2 at 2.
Perfetti USA contacted an environmental services broker, Advanced Environmental, Inc.
("Advanced Environmental"), to arrange for the recycling of the unsalable Xtremes® Bites.
Doc. 1 at if 28; Doc. 18-2 at 2. Perfetti USA specifically instructed Advanced Environmental
that the candy was not to be sold out on the market.
On Perfetti USA' s behalf, Advanced
Environmental engaged Midwest, a South Dakota company operated by Jorgensen, to haul away
and recycle the unsalable Xtremes® Bites. Doc. 1 at
8, 28; Doc. 18-2 at 2. Midwest and
Jorgensen agreed with Advanced Environmental to recycle the unsalable Xtremes® Bites. Doc.
18-3 at 2. Advance Environmental never told Jorgensen or Midwest that they could sell the
candy.. Doc. 18-3 at 3.
Between November 2014 and February 2015, Midwest, through a logistics company,
picked up fifteen truckloads of unsalable Xtremes® Bites and candy slurry from Perfetti USA' s
facility in Kentucky. Doc. 1 at~~ 29, 30, 31; Doc. 18-2 at 3. Rather than recycling the loads,
Midwest had the majority of them shipped to Silver Dollar Sales, Inc. ("Silver Dollar"), a
Mississippi wholesaler. Doc. 1
30, 31 ; Doc. 45-1 at 2; Docs 38, 39.
falsified certificates of disposal to Perfetti USA attesting to the recycling of the individual loads.
Doc. 1 at
33. The certificates of disposal came attached to bills of lading showing that the
ultimate destination of the loads was Midwest' s business address in Burbank, South Dakota.
Doc. 18-2 at 6-7; Doc. 18-3 at 16- 29.
In mid-April 2015, Perfetti USA first learned that an independent grocery sales broker,
Tray Harrison ("Harrison"), had approached JONS International Markets ("JONS"), a Southern
California-based grocer, with sample 3.8 ounce bags of Xtremes® Bites. Doc. 1
18-2 at 2. Harrison had offered to sell JONS multiple pallets of Xtremes® Bites for well below
the average wholesale price. Doc. 1 at ~ 36; Doc. 18-2 at 2. Suspicious of the low price and the
fact that Harrison was not affiliated with Crossmark, Perfetti' s authorized sales broker, JONS
contacted a Crossmark representative about the offer, who in tum contacted Perfetti USA. Doc.
1 at~~ 3 7, 38; Doc. 18-2 at 2. Perfetti USA traced the lot code on a sample bag that Harrison left
with JONS to a production run of Xtremes® Bites that Midwest received in February 2015 for
recycling. Doc. 1 at~ 39; Doc. 18-2 at 2- 3.
Perfetti hired two law firms-Frost Brown Todd LLC and Carrington, Coleman, Sloman
& Blumenthal, LLP-to sue Harrison after he refused to cooperate with Perfetti's attempt to
determine how its unsalable product reached the marketplace. Doc. 45-1 at 1-2. At a hearing in
late April 2015, Harrison revealed that he had obtained the Xtremes® Bites from Silver Dollar
Sales. Doc. 1 at
Around the same time, Perfetti learned that another independent sales
representative, Timothy Avers ("Avers"), was attempting to sell a large quantity of Xtremes®
Bites at a price well below wholesale. Doc. 45-1 at 2. Perfetti engaged an Illinois firm, Schopf
& Weiss LLP, to investigate Avers, who eventually cooperated and revealed that Silver Dollar
was his supplier. Doc. 45-1 at 2.
Diverted Xtremes® Bites also have appeared in Alabama. Doc. 1 at
store in Hartford, Alabama offered to sell Crossmark representatives a bin of two-ounce
Xtremes® Bites packages for $800.00. Doc. 1 at
The store was selling the two-ounce
packages individually for well below the suggested retail price. Doc. 1 at
ii 46; Doc.
18-2 at 3.
The bin was gone when a Crossmark employee returned to purchase it on April 22, 2015, but the
employee was still able to obtain twenty-five leftover packages of two-ounce Xtremes® Bites.
Doc. 1 at ii 47; Doc. 18-2 at 3. The lot codes on the twenty-five packages matched with product
that Perfetti USA had provided to Midwest for recycling in November 2014. Doc. 1 at
Doc. 18-2 at 3.
Perfetti filed the present complaint on May 22, 2015, alleging, among other things, that
Defendants committed fraud and deceit, violated the Lanham Act, and engaged in unfair
competition. Doc. 1. This Court set a hearing on Perfetti' s motion for a temporary restraining
order that same day, notifying the Defendants by email of the time and place of the hearing and
inviting them to participate in person or by telephone. Doc. 33 at 6. Perfetti alone appeared at
the hearing, after which this Court granted Perfetti's motion. Doc. 33 at 6. This Court set a
second hearing for May 28, 2015, to consider Perfetti's motion for a preliminary injunction.
Doc. 33 at 6. Although Defendants received notice of the hearing via email from this Court and
personal service by Perfetti, they did not participate. Doc. 33 at 6. On June 4, 2015, this Court
entered a preliminary injunction enjoining Defendants from distributing or selling Xtremes®
Bites and giving Defendants ten days to produce an accounting explaining to whom they had
sold the candy and the amount of profits they received from doing so. Doc. 24.
On June 22, 2015, Perfetti moved for an order to show cause because Defendants had
failed to produce the accounting. Doc. 25. Perfetti also applied for an entry of default judgment,
which the Clerk of Court granted on June 25, 2015, because Defendants had not answered or
otherwise responded to the complaint. Doc. 30. Thereafter, this Court granted Perfetti's motion
to show cause, Doc. 33, held a hearing at which both Perfetti and counsel for Defendants
appeared, and issued an order finding Defendants in contempt of court and giving them until July
17, 2015, to produce the previously-ordered accounting, Doc. 36.
Defendants submitted two responses to this Court's order for an accounting. Docs. 38,
39. In the first response, Defendants stated that they sold eight truckloads of Airheads Xtremes®
Bites to Silver Dollar for $6,000 a truckload. Doc. 38 at 1. Defendants explained that the $6,000
per a truckload price "was reduced by amount Defendants had to pay Advanced for the product
or the transportation cost. After all costs were deducted, Defendants' net profit per load was
$2,000, for a total profit of $16,000.00." Doc. 38 at 1. Defendants further explained that they
paid Advanced Environmental "approximately $4,000.00 per load of packaged product." Doc.
38 at 1. In their second response, Defendants again stated that they made $16,000 in total profit
but gave a different accounting of their costs. Doc. 39. Specifically, Defendants said that they
paid Advanced Environmental $2,000 per load2 of candy and then sold the loads to Silver Dollar
for $6,000 a load, minus $2,000 per load for shipping costs borne by Silver Dollar. Doc. 39 at 1.
Because of the discrepancy in Defendants' accountings, this Court granted Perfetti leave
to subpoena Silver Dollar. Doc. 42. Silver Dollar's response and documentation established that
Defendants' calculations were at best unreliable and at worst fraudulent. Silver Dollar responded
that it had paid Defendants a total of $93,200.00 for the Xtremes® Bites and that it had paid the
shipping for each load. Doc. 45-3 at 1-5, 17. Perfetti eventually purchased Silver Dollar's
remaining inventory of Xtremes® Bites for $42,554.45. Doc. 45-1 at 2. Through January 1 of
2016, Perfetti has paid $1,611.00 for the unloading and storage of the Xtremes® Bites it
purchased from Silver Dollar. Doc. 45-1 at 2.
Perfetti now seeks to recover as damages the cost of purchasing and storing Silver
Dollar's remaining inventory of Xtremes® Bites and the profit Defendants made by selling the
Xtremes® Bites to Silver Dollar. Perfetti requests that this Court treble the amount of Perfetti's
actual damages as punitive damages against Defendants. Perfetti also seeks its attorney's fees
for this action, the related pre-suit investigation, and the action Perfetti brought against Harrison.
Finally, Perfetti asks this Court to grant Perfetti's previous motion for a permanent injunction
prohibiting Defendants from engaging in the diversion and sale of Perfetti products.
After a default judgment, the factual allegations of the complaint are taken as true, except
those concerning damages. Murray v. Lene, 595 F.3d 868, 871 (8th Cir. 2010). A party who
wins a default judgment is still "required to prove the amount of damages that should be
awarded." Oberstar v. FDIC, 987 F.2d 494, 505 n.9 (8th Cir. 1993). Here, the parties agreed to
Defendants stated in their second response that they had only paid Advanced Environmental
$10,000 for the eight loads and thus still owed Advanced Environmental $6,000. Doc. 39 at 1.
submit the issue of damages through briefing and affidavits, with the understanding that this
Court would conduct a hearing to resolve any factual disputes. See Stephenson v. El-Batrawi,
524 F.3d 907, 915 (8th Cir. 2008) ("It is a familiar practice and an exercise of judicial power for
a court upon default, by taking evidence when necessary or by computation from facts of record,
to fix the amount which the plaintiff is lawfully entitled to recover and to give judgment
accordingly." (quoting Pope v. United States, 323 U.S. 1, 12 (1944))). Given Perfetti's wellsupported request for damages and the lack of any response by Defendants, this Court finds that
an evidentiary hearing is unnecessary.
A. Actual Damages
Perfetti contends that it may recover its actual damages under Count I of its complaint,
which alleges that Defendants engaged in fraud and deceit under South Dakota law. Although
Perfetti already has obtained a default judgment, this Court affirms here that the facts support
recovery for fraud and deceit. Defendants agreed to recycle the unsalable Xtremes® Bites yet
decided to sell the candy to Silver Dollar instead. Doc. 1 at
iii! 30, 55 .
Defendants issued false
certificates of disposal to Perfetti attesting that Defendants had recycled the unsalable Xtremes®
Bites. Doc. 1 at iii! 33, 57. Defendants' intent in issuing the certificates was to deceive Perfetti.
Doc. 1 at if 59. Perfetti continued to supply the unsalable Xtremes® Bites based on Defendants'
representation that the product was being recycled.
Doc. 1 at
Had Perfetti known
otherwise, it never would have provided unsalable product to Defendants and would have
immediately ceased providing the unsalable Xtremes® Bites for Defendants to recycle. Doc. 1
These facts meet the elements of fraud and deceit under South Dakota law. See S.D.
Codified Laws ("SDCL") § 20-10-1 (setting forth tort action of deceit); Brookings Mun. Utils.,
Inc. v. Amoco Chem. Co., 103 F. Supp. 2d 1169, 1177 n.11 (defining tort of deceit) (D.S.D.
2000); N. Am. Truck & Trailer, Inc. v. M.C.I. Commc'n Servs., Inc., 751 N.W.2d 710, 713 (S.D.
2008) (listing elements of fraud).
Under South Dakota law, a party is liable for damages resulting from its fraud and deceit.
SDCL § 20-10-1 ("One who willfully deceives another, with intent to induce him to alter his
position to his injury or risk, is liable for any damage which he thereby suffers."); Liebig v.
Kirchoff, 851 N.W.2d 743, 749, 751 (S.D. 2014). The false certificates of disposal Defendants
issued caused Perfetti damages.
Perfetti continued supplying Defendants with the unsalable
Xtremes® Bites based on Defendants' representation that they were recycling the candy. When
Perfetti learned that Defendants were actually selling the Xtremes® Bites to Silver Dollar, it had
to spend $42,554.45 to recover Silver Dollar's remaining inventory and $1,611.00 to store this
inventory. Doc. 45-1 at 2. Perfetti is entitled to recover from Defendants the cost of purchasing
and storing Silver Dollar' s inventory of Xtremes® Bites under the fraud and deceit theory as
well as other damages discussed below.
B. Defendants' Profits
Perfetti argues that it is entitled to Defendants' profits from selling the unsalable
Xtremes® Bites under Counts IV and VII of its complaint, which allege that Defendants violated
section 43(a) of the Lanham Act, 15 U.S.C. § 1125(a)(l). Section 1125(a)(l) imposes liability
"[a]ny person who, on or in connection with any goods or services,
. . . uses in commerce any . . . false or misleading description of
fact, or false or misleading representation of fact, which(A) is likely to cause confusion, or to cause mistake, or to
deceive as to the affiliation, connection, or association of such
person with another person, or as to the origin, sponsorship, or
approval of his or her goods, services, or commercial activities by
another person, or
(B) in commercial advertising or promotion, misrepresents
the nature, characteristics, qualities, or geographic origin of his or
her or another person's goods, services, or commercial activities.
Defendants passed off the unsalable Xtremes® Bites that Perfetti had entrusted to
Defendants for recycling as merchantable items to Silver Dollar. Doc. 1 at
31, 52, 73-74,
110-112. Silver Dollar then distributed multiple truckloads of the unsalable Xtremes® Bites to
dollar and convenience stores across the country, Doc. 1 at~ 32, which materially impacted the
launch of Xtremes® Bites by allowing off-specification candy to circulate in the market. Those
dollar and convenience stores acquiring the unsalable Xtremes® Bites and those customers
purchasing the product would have thought the product to be salable and representative of
Perfetti's newly launched product based on the labeling and packaging. In reality, the product
was deemed unsalable by Perfetti, not representative of salable product, and supposed to have
been recycled. A§ 1125(a)(l) violation exists under these circumstances.
A plaintiff who proves a violation of § 1125(a) is entitled "subject to the principles of
equity, to recover (1) defendant's profits, (2) any damages sustained by the plaintiff, and (3) the
costs of the action." 15 U.S.C. § 1117(a). A plaintiff seeking profits under § 1117(a) bears the
burden of proving the defendant's sales while the defendant is responsible for proving its costs or
deductions. Id. Recovery under § 1117(a) "shall constitute compensation and not a penalty."
Id. In Minnesota Pet Breeders, Inc. v. Schell & Kampeter, Inc., 41F.3d1242 (8th Cir. 1994), the
Eighth Circuit stated that "[i]f a registered owner proves willful, deliberate infringement or
deception, an accounting of profits may be based upon 1) unjust enrichment, 2) damages, or 3)
deterrence of a willful infringer." Id. at 1247 (quotation and internal quotation marks omitted).
A congressional amendment to § 1117(a) in 1999 prompted a circuit split concerning whether a
plaintiff establishing a violation of§ 1125(a) must also establish that the violation was willful to
recover the defendant's profits under§ 1117(a). See Masters v. UHS of Del., Inc., 631 F.3d 464,
471 n.2 (8th Cir. 2011).
The Eighth Circuit in Masters assumed "without deciding" that
willfulness remains a requirement under§ 1117(a) for violations of§ 1125(a). Id.
This Court need not decide whether willfulness remains a prerequisite to the recovery of
profits because Defendants, by virtue of their default, admitted Perfetti's allegations that their
violations of§ 1125(a) were willful. See Chanel, Inc. v. Gordashevsky, 558 F. Supp. 2d 532,
538 (D.N.J. 2008) (finding that defaulting defendant admitted allegations in complaint that he
acted willfully for purposes of 15 U.S.C. § 1117(c)(2)); Sigel v. Interplay Entm't Corp., No.
6:06-cv-135-0rl-31DAB, 2007 WL 601613, at *1 (M.D. Fla. Feb. 21, 2007) (concluding that by
defaulting, defendant admitted allegations in complaint that its violation of the Lanham act was
Even if Defendants had not made this admission, other allegations in Perfetti's
complaint and evidence in this case-including that Defendants sold the Xtremes® Bites it was
supposed to recycle to Silver Dollar as merchantable product and issued false certificates of
disposal to Perfetti-are sufficient to establish that Defendants acted willfully.
Perfetti is entitled to recover Defendants' profits under the theories of unjust enrichment
and deterrence of willful infringement. Perfetti has spent significant resources developing and
promoting its products, which have garnered expansive goodwill within the United States. Doc.
When Defendants sold the Xtremes® Bites to Silver Dollar, they
exploited Perfetti's goodwill and reputation to make a profit, despite not having any right to do
so and not giving Perfetti anything in return.
These circumstances justify disgorgement of
Defendants' profits so that they are not unjustly enriched. There is also a need for deterrence in
Defendants have been sued on two prior occasions for taking possession of a
company's unsalable goods, issuing falsified certificates of disposal, and then selling the goods
into the stream of commerce.
Doc. 1 at
Notwithstanding these two pnor lawsuits,
Defendants engaged in the same conduct in this case.
Requiring Defendants to disgorge their profits is consistent with the applicable principles
of equity. See Quick Techs., Inc. v. Sage Grp. PLC, 313 F.3d 338, 349 (5th Cir. 2002) (listing
equitable factors to consider when determining whether to award profits). First, there is a strong
public interest in making the deceptive scheme Defendants engaged in here unprofitable.
Second, Defendants do not have any legitimate interest in the profits they made from passing off
the unsalable Xtremes® Bites as merchantable product. Third, Perfetti did not delay in asserting
its rights; Perfetti launched an investigation within days of learning that the Xtremes® Bites
were being sold in the stream of commerce and filed this suit to protect its trademarks just over a
month later. Doc. 1 at ii 34-48. Finally, injunctive relief alone is not sufficient to do equity in
this case. See Minn. Pet Breeders, 41 F.3d at 1247 (stating that "an accounting will be denied in
a trademark infringement action where an injunction will satisfy the equities of the case"
(quotation omitted)). Defendants stated in their accountings that they have already sold all of the
Xtremes® Bites they possessed to Silver Dollar, who in tum sold a significant amount of the
candy to multiple dollar stores and grocers. As it is highly unlikely that Defendants will ever be
entrusted with Perfetti' s products again, an order enjoining Defendants from selling Xtremes®
Bites and exploiting Perfetti' s trademarks would not be much of a remedy. Further, such an
order would not ameliorate the effect of having the unsalable Xtremes® Bites on the market;
customers who purchase these unsalable Xtremes® Bites may dislike the product and refuse to
buy it in the future, unaware that the product is not representative of the Xtremes® Bites
manufactured by Perfetti. Perfetti is entitled to more than an injunction to remedy this harm.
Having determined that Perfetti is entitled to an accounting, this Court must calculate the
amount of profits Defendants made through their infringing conduct. Perfetti calculates that
Defendants made $83,200 in profits by selling the Xtremes® Bites to Silver Dollar. Perfetti
bases this calculation on Silver Dollar' s response to its subpoena and a declaration from
Advanced Environmental employee Amber Edwards ("Edwards"). Silver Dollar' s response and
an affidavit from Perfetti's counsel state that Silver Dollar paid Defendants a total of $93,200 for
the unsalable Xtremes® Bites and that Silver Dollar covered the shipping for each load of the
product. Doc. 45-3 at 1- 5, 17. The $93 ,200 total that Silver Dollar paid for the unsalable
Xtremes® Bites is based on a January 12, 2015 check from Silver Dollar to Defendants for
$20,000, Doc. 45-3 at 4; a January 20, 2015 electronic payment to Defendants for $40,800, Doc.
45-3 at 3, Doc. 39-3; and a March 26, 2015 check from Silver Dollar to Defendants for $32,400,
Doc. 45-3 at 5. Perfetti filed copies of the checks, Doc. 45-3 at 4-5, and Defendants themselves
confirmed the $40,800 electronic payment in their second accounting, Doc. 39 at 1; Doc. 39-3 .
Perfetti relies on Edwards' s declaration with respect to Defendants' costs. Edwards stated in her
declaration that Defendants paid her a total of $10,000 for the unsalable Xtremes® Bites, at a
price of $1,000 per a truckload of candy.
Doc. 18-3 at 2.
The $10,000 Defendants paid
Advanced Environmental was the Defendants' only verifiable cost because Silver Dollar paid for
Despite having ample opportunity to do so, Defendants failed to provide any response to
Perfetti's calculation of the profits Defendants made by selling the Xtremes® Bites. Under these
circumstances- where Perfetti has submitted detailed evidence concerning Defendants' profits
and Defendants failed to file any evidence in response or otherwise object to Perfetti' s
calculation-this Court finds that Perfetti has established that Defendants made $83,200 in
profits by selling the Xtremes® Bites to Silver Dollar. 3 Defendants are entitled to recover the
$83,200 Defendants made in profits under§ 1117(a).
C. Attorney's fees
Perfetti contends that it is entitled to its attorney's fees in this case under § 1117 and
South Dakota law.
Section 1117(a) provides that a "court in exceptional cases may award
reasonable attorney fees to the prevailing party." 15 U.S.C. § 1117(a). A case may qualify as
Although Defendants filed two accountings earlier in this case, they have not given any
indication that they wish to rely on these accountings to dispute Perfetti's calculation of profits.
Further, the evidence Perfetti submitted in support of its request for damages shows that
Defendants' calculations were at least inaccurate and probably fraudulent. For instance,
Defendants stated in their second accounting that they made $16,000 in net profits from selling
eight truckloads of Xtremes® Bites to Silver Dollar. Doc. 39 at ii 2. Defendants arrived at this
$16,000 figure by acknowledging receipt of the $40,800 electronic payment from Silver Dollar
on January 20, 2015, subtracting $8,800 of the electronic payment because this amount was
allegedly for non-Perfetti product, and subtracting an additional $16,000 they say they owe or
paid Advanced Environmental for the Xtremes® Bites. In support of their calculation of profits,
Defendants filed what they claim are invoices showing that they charged Silver Dollar $32,000
for the Xtremes® Bites and $8,800 for the delivery of non-Perfetti product. Docs. 39-2, 39-4.
Yet Silver Dollar stated that the $40,800 electronic payment, as well as the January 12, 2015
check and the March 26, 2015 check, were payment for the Xtremes® Bites alone. Doc. 45-3 at
17. Further, the record establishes that Defendants delivered a truckload of Xtremes® Bites to
Silver Dollar as late as February 3, 2015, Doc. 1 at ii 29, Doc. 18-4 at 1-2, Doc. 45-3 at 19,
which is well beyond the January 10, 2015 date appearing on the alleged invoice for the
Xtremes® Bites and the January 20, 2015 date Defendants claim they were paid in full for the
Xtremes® Bites. There are other indications in the record that Defendants have refused to be
forthcoming about their profits from these transactions. In both the order granting the
preliminary injunction and the order to show cause, this Court required Defendants to produce all
emails, documents, and records within Defendants' control concerning payments they received
for selling the Xtremes® Bites. Nevertheless, Defendants did not include any documents, such
as checks, banking records, or invoices, in their first accounting to support their calculations of
the profits they made. Doc. 38. It was only after Perfetti emailed Defendants that their
accounting was incomplete that Defendants provided a different calculation of their profits,
acknowledged receiving the $40,800 electronic payment, and submitted the alleged invoices.
Doc. 39. Now that Perfetti has filed the documentation from Silver Dollar, Defendants have
declined to offer any evidence at all. Defendants attempted to satisfy this Court's order in the
first accounting by being vague and incomplete, sought in the second accounting to change their
calculations and play with one verifiable number, and now have chosen not to contest the
evidence of damages. Indeed, the fact that Perfetti had to pay Silver Dollar $42,554.45 to buy
back the unsalable Xtremes® Bites still with Silver Dollar after all of its sales demonstrates that
Defendants' submitted and conflicting accountings are altogether unreliable.
"exceptional" under § 1117(a) when the defendant acted willfully and deliberately. Cmty. of
Christ Copyright Corp. v. Devon Park Restoration Branch of Jesus Christ's Church,. 634 F.3d
1005, 1013 (8th Cir. 2011). In addition to willfulness, courts have considered the defendant's
conduct during litigation when determining whether the plaintiff is entitled to attorney's fees
under § 1117(a). See Fifty-Six Hope Road Music, Ltd. v. A.V.E.L.A., Inc., 915 F. Supp. 2d
1179, 1185 (D. Nev. 2013) (" [T]he non-prevailing party's litigation conduct may support a
finding that the case is exceptional."); Harris v. Fairweather, No. 11 Civ. 2152(PKC)(AJP), 2012
WL 3956801 , at *6 (S.D.N.Y. Sept. 10, 2012) (finding that allegations of willful infringement,
"along with defendants' default" were sufficient to justify an award of attorney's fees under
§ 1117(a)), adopted by, No. 11 Civ. 2152(PKC)(AJP), 2012 WL 5199250 (S.D.N.Y. Oct. 9,
The facts of this case justify an award of attorney' s fees under § 1117(a). Defendants
willfully violated the Lanham Act by diverting the unsalable Xtremes® Bites to Silver Dollar.
Defendants' diversion scheme involved fraudulent and deceitful conduct, including accepting the
Xtremes® Bites under the guise of recycling them, selling the Xtremes® Bites to Silver Dollar
as merchantable product, and issuing falsified certificates of disposal to Perfetti. Defendants'
unacceptable behavior continued in this Court.
Defendants initially ignored the preliminary
injunction requiring them to produce an accounting and failed to otherwise participate in the case
until this Court issued an order to show cause threatening Jorgensen with temporary
incarceration. Defendants then filed two accountings, the first of which provided a vague and
incomplete calculation of profits and failed to include any documents evidencing the payments
Defendants received for the Xtremes® Bites, and the second of which provided a different and
obviously incomplete calculation of profits and included certain documents Defendants should
have produced in the first accounting.
Evidence Perfetti obtained from Silver Dollar and
submitted in support of its request for damages demonstrated that Defendants' accountings were
inaccurate and understated their actual profit. Defendants ultimately did not contest Perfetti' s .
documented and supported damage calculations. This Court entered default judgment against
Defendants because they failed to answer Perfetti's complaint. Taken as a whole, these facts
make this an "exceptional" case under§ 1117(a).
Perfetti also contends that South Dakota law entitles it to recover as compensatory
damages the legal fees and expenses for the suit against Harrison and the investigation of Avers.
Although South Dakota follows the American Rule for attorney's fees, the Supreme Court of
South Dakota has held that attorney's fees are recoverable in tort actions if those fees are
"incurred in other litigation which is necessitated by the act of the party sought to be charged."
Jacobson v. Leisinger, 746 N.W.2d 739, 743 (S.D. 2008) (quoting Grand State Prop., Inc. v.
Woods, Fuller, Shultz & Smith, P.C., 556 N.W.2d 84, 88 (S.D. 1996)); see also Hurley v. State
Farm Mut. Auto. Ins., No. CIV. 10-4165-KES, 2012 WL 6012803, at *2-3 (D.S.D. Dec. 3,
2012) (holding that attorney's fees generated while litigating a separate breach of contract action
are recoverable as compensatory damages in a subsequent bad faith action). Perfetti's fraud and
deceit claim is a tort action under South Dakota law under which Perfetti is entitled to damages.
Defendants' fraud caused Perfetti to incur legal fees for the case against Harrison to determine
how Harrison received the unsalable Xtremes® Bites that he was selling, thereby tracing those to
Silver Dollar. Likewise, Defendants' fraud caused Perfetti to incur costs to investigate how
Avers received unsalable product, which again was via Silver Dollar. Defendants' issuance of
the false certificates of disposal caused Perfetti not to sue Defendants immediately, but to sue
Harrison, investigate Avers, and then approach Silver Dollar to unravel Defendants' fraudulent
scheme. An award to Perfetti for its ancillary legal fees due to Defendants' fraud and deceit
under South Dakota law has the effect of providing full compensation for another element of
actual damages to Perfetti, because Perfetti incurred such legal fees to uncover Defendants'
subterfuge. Perfetti's attorney's fees in the Harrison action were $9,987.43, and in the Avers
investigation were $1,890, for a total of $11,877.43. Doc. 45-3 at 2.
D. Treble and Punitive Damages
Perfetti contends that it is entitled to damages in an amount three times its actual damages
under 15 U.S.C. § 1117(a). Section 1117(a) provides that "[i]n assessing damages the court may
enter judgment, according to the circumstances of the case, for any sum above the amount found
as actual damages, not exceeding three times such amount." Id. Section§ 1117(a) is designed to
compensate the prevailing party and make trademark infringement unprofitable, not to penalize
the defendant. 15 U.S.C. § 1117(a); Rainbow Play Sys., Inc. v. GroundScape Techs., LLC, 364
F. Supp. 2d 1026, 1034 (D. Minn. 2005). This Court is already requiring Defendants to disgorge
their profits, reimburse Perfetti for the purchase and storage of Silver Dollar's remaining
inventory of Xtremes® Bites, and pay Perfetti's attorney's fees both in this case and in tracing
the diversion of the Xtremes® Bites to Defendants. The question is whether Perfetti should be
entitled to any additional compensation.
Perfetti relatedly argues that it is entitled to punitive damages under South Dakota law
because Defendants engaged in willful fraud and deceit. See SDCL § 21-3-2 ("In any action for
the breach of an obligation not arising from contract, where the defendant has been guilty of
oppression, fraud, or malice, actual or presumed, ... committed intentionally or by willful and
wanton misconduct, in disregard of humanity, the jury, in addition to the actual damage, may
give damages for the sake of example, and by way of punishing the defendant."); Biegler v. Am.
Family Mut. Ins., 621N.W.2d592, 605 (S.D. 2001) (holding that jury's finding of deceit was "a
sufficient basis upon which the jury's award of punitive damages is justified"). Courts in South
Dakota consider five factors when determining whether an award of punitive damages is
appropriate: the amount of compensatory damages allowed, the "nature and enormity of the
wrong,'' the wrongdoer's intent, the wrongdoer's financial status, and "all of the circumstances
attendant to the wrongdoer' s actions." Roth v. Farner-Boeken Co., 667 N.W.2d 651 , 666 (S.D.
A careful consideration of the factors relevant to this case shows that an award of
punitive damages, while warranted, should not be large.
First, Defendants' conduct was
fraudulent and deceitful, but it did not put anyone' s health or safety at risk. See Grynberg v.
Citation Oil & Gas Coro., 573 N.W.2d 493, 506 (S.D. 1997) (explaining that acts "which result
in injury to persons through indifference to and reckless disregard for the health or safety of
others" are considered " [o]f a more serious nature" for purposes of punitive damages (internal
quotation marks and quotation omitted)). Second, Perfetti, the target of Defendant's fraudulent
conduct, is a sophisticated business rather than a naive mark with few financial resources. See
Roth, 667 N.W.2d at 666 (listing financial vulnerability of plaintiff as a factor to consider when
gauging the degree of reprehensibility of defendant' s conduct); Grynberg, 573 N.W.2d at 505
(considering sophistication of plaintiff when determining whether amount of punitive damage
award was appropriate). Third, although Defendants have not offered any evidence about their
financial condition, it appears from the record that Midwest is a small business that Jorgensen
operates with his family. This Court is concerned about Defendants' ability to pay punitive
damages on top of the significant amount of actual damages and attorney' s fees they already
owe. After all, punitive damages are meant to punish, not "permanently cripple or destroy."
Grynberg, 573 N.W.2d at 507-08. Yet this case marks the third occasion where Defendants
fraudulently diverted materials it took for recycling, and Defendants were uncooperative and
misleading in what they submitted to this Court. Under § 1117(a) and SDCL § 21-3-2, this
Court awards a total of an extra $10,000.00 to the remaining damage amounts to punish
Defendants for the fraudulent conduct and to deter Defendants from perpetrating any similar
E. Permanent Injunction
Perfetti requests a permanent injunction enjoining Defendants from engagmg in the
diversion and sale of Perfetti products.
The standard for determining whether a permanent
injunction should issue "is essentially the same as for a preliminary injunction, except that to
obtain a permanent injunction the movant must obtain success on the merits." Bank One, Utah
v. Guttau, 190 F.3d 844, 847 (8th Cir. 1999). In determining whether to grant a preliminary
injunction, courts consider the factors set forth in Dataphase Systems, Inc. v. C L Systems, Inc.,
640 F.2d 109 (8th Cir. 1981) (en bane): "(1) the threat of irreparable harm to the movant; (2) the
state of the balance between this harm and the injury that granting the injunction will inflict on
other parties litigant; (3) the probability that movant will succeed on the merits; and (4) the
public interest." Id. at 113.
Here, Dataphase factors two through four favor granting a permanent injunction for many
of the same reasons discussed in this Court's order granting Perfetti's request for a preliminary
injunction. The first Dataphase factor-the threat of irreparable harm to Perfetti-is a different
According to Defendants' accountings, they have either recycled or sold all of the
Xtremes® Bites in their possession. However, Defendants' representations to Perfetti and to this
Court have been unreliable. Defendants have not opposed such a permanent injunction and
although Defendants may or may not have Xtremes® Bites still in their possession or control, a
permanent injunction will enter.
For the reasons stated above, it is hereby
ORDERED that Defendants pay Perfetti $139,242.88 in damages. This sum is the total
of Defendants' profits, Perfetti's costs for buying back and storing Silver Dollar's remaining
inventory of Xtremes® Bites, and Perfetti' s legal fees for the Harrison action and the Avers
investigation. It is further
ORDERED that Defendants pay Perfetti an additional $10,000.00 in punitive damages.
It is further
ORDERED that Defendants shall pay Perfetti' s reasonable attorney' s fees and costs in
this case. It is further
ORDERED that Perfetti submit an affidavit setting forth its attorney' s fees and costs in
this case and attaching all billing statements and itemizing its costs. It is further
ORDERED that Perfetti submit a calculation of the prejudgment interest it is seeking, if
any. This calculation should include citations to the record and the relevant statutes and case
law. It is finally
ORDERED that Defendants are permanently enjoined from engaging in the diversion and
sale of Perfetti products including, but not limited to, any remaining Xtremes® Bites.
DATED this ~ day of February, 2016
BY THE COURT:
UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
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