Garcia v. Global Development Strategies, Inc.
ORDER DENYING 16 Sealed Motion; DENYING 21 Sealed Motion Signed by Judge Xavier Rodriguez. (wg)
IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
FOR THE WESTERN DISTRICT OF TEXAS
SAN ANTONIO DIVISION
DAVID LEE GARCIA d/b/a
AFFORDABLE OVERHEAD DOOR CO.,
GLOBAL DEVELOPMENT STRATEGIES, §
INC. and GLOBAL DISTRIBUTION
Civil Action No. SA-13-CV-1158-XR
On this date, the Court considered Defendants’ motions to compel arbitration. Doc.
Nos. 16 & 21. After careful consideration, these motions are DENIED.
Defendant Global Development Strategies seeks dismissal for lack of personal jurisdiction.
That motion is also DENIED. Doc. No. 16.
This case arises out of Plaintiff David Garcia’s trademark infringement claims against
Defendants Global Development Strategies (“Development”) and Global Distribution Services
(“Distribution Services”). The factual backdrop of this case is complicated by the numerous
corporate entities that Defendants and their affiliates utilize to operate their nation-wide garage
door business. Several of these entities have been involved in trademark litigation with Garcia
over their allegedly infringing use of his “Affordable” trademark. In 2004, Garcia filed suit
against Overhead Garage Door Services (“Overhead Garage”), Garage Door Services
Company (“Door Services”) and James Stephens (collectively “Original Defendants”).1 This
case later settled. On April 4, 2008, Plaintiff filed another trademark infringement suit against
these Defendants.2 On July 18, 2008, the parties agreed to dismiss the case. See Garcia v.
Overhead Garage Door Services, Inc. et al, No. SA-08-CV-0278-XR, Doc. No. 13. It is
unclear whether the parties entered into a written settlement agreement at that time, as no such
agreement has been provided to the Court. Instead, Plaintiff and the Original Defendants
executed a written settlement agreement (the “Settlement Agreement”) on March 5, 2010.
Doc. No. 16, Ex. B. The Settlement Agreement contains the arbitration clause that the
Defendants seek to enforce. See Id.
The current Defendants were not parties to these prior cases. Prior to the Settlement
Agreement, on July 1, 2008, Door Services had assigned all of its rights and liabilities to
Defendant Development on July 1, 2008. Doc. No. 16, Ex. C. On August 1, 2008, Defendant
Distribution Services registered to do business in Texas and appears to be Development’s instate subsidiary. Doc. No. 18, Ex. 11.
On December 20, 2013, Plaintiff filed the instant lawsuit against Development and
thereafter joined Defendant Distribution Services as a party. Doc. No. 18. On March 20, 2014,
Development filed this motion to compel arbitration. Doc. No. 16. In addition, Development
contends that this Court lacks personal jurisdiction over it.
On April 28, 2014,
Distribution Services joined in the motion to compel arbitration. Doc. No. 21.
1. Defendants’ Motion to Compel Arbitration
A motion to compel arbitration requires the Court to assess whether the parties agreed
to arbitrate the dispute in question. “This determination involves two considerations: (1)
whether there is a valid agreement to arbitrate between the parties; and (2) whether the dispute
in question falls within the scope of that arbitration agreement.” Tittle v. Enron Corp., 463
F.3d 410, 418-19 (5th Cir. 2006) (quoting Webb v. Investacorp, 89 F.3d 252, 258 (5th Cir.
1996)). In addition, a court must ensure that there are no external legal barriers to enforcing
an arbitration clause. Id. “Generally under the FAA, state law governs whether a litigant
agreed to arbitrate, and federal law determines the scope of the arbitration clause.” Fleetwood
Enters., Inc. v. Gaskamp, 280 F.3d 1069, 1077-78 (5th Cir. 2002).
Arbitration agreements are generally considered matters of contract law. See Grigson
v .Creative Artists Agency, L.L.C., 210 F.3d 524, 528 (5th Cir. 2000). As an initial matter,
neither of the Defendants were signatories to the Settlement Agreement that contains the
arbitration clause they seek to enforce. This does not necessarily preclude Defendants from
enforcing the clause, “[b]ecause ‘traditional principles’ of state law allow a contract to be
enforced by or against nonparties to the contract through “assumption, piercing the corporate
veil, alter ego, incorporation by reference, third-party beneficiary theories, waiver and
estoppel.” Arthur Andersen LLP v. Carlisle, 556 U.S. 624, 631 (2009).
Defendants briefly posit several theories of how, as non-signatories, they are entitled to
enforce the arbitration clause.
First, both Defendants argue that they can enforce the
Settlement Agreement as assignees. Doc. No. 16 at 7; Doc. No. 21 at 7. Defendants base this
argument off the fact that Door Services, a signatory, assigned all of its assets to Development
on July 1, 2008.
See Doc. No. 15, Ex. C. Accordingly, Defendants argue that they are the
successors-in-interest to Door Services’s right as a signatory to enforce arbitration against
Plaintiff. There are several problems with the assignment argument. As a general principle,
assignments, like arbitration agreements, are considered matters of contract law.
Equipment. Co. v. I.C.S., Inc., 737 S.W.2d 397, 399 (Tex. App.—Houston [14th Dist.] 1987,
writ ref’d n.r.e.). Since Door Services only assigned its assets and liabilities to Development,
and not Distribution Services, it appears that only Development can make the argument that it
has a contractual right by assignment to enforce the arbitration agreement.3 Cf. Phoenix
Network Tech. v. Neon Sys., 177 S.W.3d 605, 620 (Tex. App.—Houston [1st Dist.] 2005, no
pet.) (Assignee can enforce contractual rights of assignor).
Furthermore, the assignment from Door Services to Development occurred on July 1,
2008. See Doc. No. 15, Ex. C. In contrast, Door Services’s right to compel arbitration against
Plaintiff was only created by the execution of the Settlement Agreement, which occurred on
March 5, 2010, nearly two years after the assignment. See Doc. No. 15, Ex. B. These dates
are important. Under Texas contract law, a party can typically only assign property (or
contractual rights) that it already possesses or reasonably expects to possess. See Univ. of
Texas Med. Branch at Galveston v. Allan, 777 S.W.2d 450, 452-53 (Tex. App.—Houston
[14th Dist.] 1989, no writ) (“As a general rule, in order to be assignable, an estate or interest in
property must have an actual or potential existence.”). Significantly, at the time Door Services
transferred its assets and liabilities to Development, it did not possess the contractual right to
compel arbitration against Plaintiff.
Door Services never assigned its right to arbitrate to Distribution Services.
In addition, the language of the assignment itself offers no indication that Door
Services intended to automatically transfer all of its future assets and obligations to
Furthermore, it is highly doubtful that Door Services could have plausibly
assigned the right to arbitrate it received in 2010 to Development in 2008. It is a generally
accepted principle that once an assignment is made, the assignor loses all right to enforce the
contract. See River Consulting, Inc. v. Sullivan, 848 S.W.2d 165, 169 (Tex. App.—Houston
[1st Dist.] 1992, writ denied), disapproved on other grounds by Formosa Plastics Corp. USA
v. Presidio Engineers & Contractors, Inc., 960 S.W.2d 41 (Tex. 1998).
Since the 2008
assignment predated the 2010 Settlement Agreement, accepting Defendants’ logic would
necessarily imply that Door Services had no ability to enforce the very Settlement Agreement
that it signed because it had already assigned away those rights. This is a highly suspect
consequence of Defendants’ argument and the Court finds that there is no merit in Defendants’
contention that they were validly assigned Door Services’s right to compel arbitration.
Next, Defendants suggest that they were the intended third-party beneficiaries of the
Settlement Agreement. Doc. No. 16 at 10, Doc. No. 21 at 8. Under Texas law, a third-party is
a beneficiary of a contract, and can thus to sue to enforce it, if: (1) the signatories intended to
secure a benefit for the third-party, and (2) the signatories entered into the contract directly for
the third-party’s benefit. Basic Capital Mgmt. v. Dynex Commercial Inc., 348 S.W. 3d 894,
900 (Tex. 2011) (emphasis added).
Defendants contend that the Settlement Agreement purported to bind all “heirs,
representatives, executors, successors and assigns,” and that, inasmuch as both Defendants are
“successors” to signatory Door Services, they were intended third-party beneficiaries.
Development and Distribution Services would only be Door Services’s “successors” if some
transfer of assets and liabilities took place after Door Services obtained the contractual right to
compel Plaintiff to arbitrate. In addition, there is no evidence that Plaintiff intended to benefit
either of the current Defendants, whose existence he was unaware of at the time of the
Defendants’ argument that the Settlement Agreement was intended for their direct
benefit is weakened by the structure of the contract itself. While a subsection does purport to
bind all “successors,” it is noteworthy that no less than ten entities are enumerated as parties to
the Settlement Agreement.
Neither of the Defendants were included as parties to the
Settlement Agreement, Defendants’ argument that they are closely related to the signatories
notwithstanding. Against this backdrop, it is reasonable to infer that if Garcia and Door
Services had intended to directly benefit the current Defendants, they would have been listed
on the contract as were many of the other corporate entities that have some relationship to
Defendants. In light of the structure of the Settlement Agreement itself, Defendants have not
shown that it was clearly the signatories’ intent to benefit Defendants. See Basic Capital
Mgmt. 348 S.W.3d at 900 (requiring that contract “clearly and fully” manifest intent to confer
benefit on third party).
Consequently, the Court finds that the Settlement Agreement does not make
Defendants third-party beneficiaries such that they are entitled to enforce the arbitration clause
as non-signatories. There being no grounds for the non-signatories to enforce the agreement,
there is no need for the Court to reach Plaintiff’s alternate argument that the entire Settlement
Agreement is void for fraud.
2. Development’s Motion to Dismiss for Lack of Personal Jurisdiction
In the alternative, Development seeks dismissal for lack of personal jurisdiction. Doc.
No. 16. In support, Development has provided the affidavit of its current Vice-President who
avers that Development conducts no business whatsoever in Texas. See Doc. 16, Ex. E.
However, Plaintiff has presented sufficient facts to establish a prima facie case supporting this
Court’s jurisdiction. See Felch v. Transportes Lar–Mex SA De CV, 92 F.3d 320, 326 (5th Cir.
1996) (Party asserting court’s jurisdiction must make only prima facie case when the Court
declines to hold an evidentiary hearing on the jurisdictional question).
It is settled that personal jurisdiction exists if: (1) the Texas long-arm statute confers
such jurisdiction; and (2) the exercise of that jurisdiction comports with the Due Process
Clause. Paz v. Brush Engineered Materials, Inc., 445 F.3d 809, 812 (5th Cir. 2006) (quoting
Allred v. Moore & Peterson, 117 F.3d 278 (5th Cir. 1997)). The Texas long-arm statute
authorizes courts to exercise jurisdiction over a nonresident defendant who “does business” in
the state. TEX. CIV. PRAC. & REM. CODE ANN. § 17.042 (Vernon 2008). Texas courts have
interpreted this provision broadly to permit jurisdiction over nonresidents as far as the U.S.
Constitution permits. See Blair Communications, Inc. v. SES Survey Equip. Services, Inc., 80
S.W.3d 723, 727 (Tex. App.—Houston [1st Dist.] 2002, no pet.). As a result, the only inquiry
is whether jurisdiction over the nonresident Defendants would violate the U.S. Constitution.
Religious Tech. Center v. Liebreich, 339 F.3d 369, 373 (5th Cir. 2003) (“Because the Texas
Long Arm Statute is coextensive with the confines of Due Process, questions of personal
jurisdiction in Texas are generally analyzed entirely within the framework of the
Constitutional constraints of Due Process.”).
Well established Supreme Court jurisprudence dictates personal jurisdiction over a
nonresident defendant is constitutional when: (1) the defendant has established minimum
contacts with the forum state; and (2) the exercise of jurisdiction comports with traditional
notions of fair play and substantial justice. Int'l Shoe Co. v. Washington, 326 U.S. 310, 316
(1945). There are sufficient minimum contacts when the nonresident defendant purposefully
avails him or herself of the privilege of conducting activities within the forum state, thereby
invoking the benefits and protections of its laws. Id.
A defendant’s contacts with a forum can give rise to either specific or general
jurisdiction. Wilson v. Belin, 20 F.3d 644, 647 (5th Cir. 1994). Specific jurisdiction exists
when “the defendant has ‘purposefully directed’ his activities at residents of the forum ... and
the litigation results from alleged injuries that arise out of or relate to those activities.” Burger
King v. Rudzewicz, 471 U.S. 462, 472 (1985) (internal citations omitted). The nonresident’s
purposeful and deliberate activities in the forum must be such that he could reasonably
anticipate being haled into court in that state. Id. at 474. Specific jurisdiction also requires a
sufficient nexus between the nonresident’s contacts with the forum and the cause of action.
Helicopteros Nacionales de Colombia, S.A. v. Hall, 466 U.S. 408, 414 (1984).
Plaintiff has established a prima facie case that Development is subject to specific
jurisdiction in this case with respect to Plaintiff’s trademark infringement claims. As an initial
matter, Development and/or its affiliates advertise their garage door business in Texas, both on
the internet and in the local yellow pages.
See Doc. No. 18, Ex. 18.
The parties dispute
whether or not these advertisements are sponsored or owned by Development or by one of its
many affiliated entities. However, the Fifth Circuit is clear that “conflicts between the facts
contained in the parties’ affidavits must be resolved in the plaintiff's favor for purposes of
determining whether a prima facie case for personal jurisdiction exists.” Johnston v. Multidata
Sys. Intern. Corp., 523 F.3d 602, 609 (5th Cir. 2008). Thus, if the Court resolves the factual
question of whether Development is advertising in Texas in Plaintiff’s favor, it appears as
though any trademark infringement claim arising out of that advertising would subject
Development to specific jurisdiction here.4 Regardless of who actually owns the websites that
solicit business in Texas, all use the “GDS” trademark, which is owned by Development. This
trademark also appears on the warranty policies used by Defendants’ independent contractors
throughout Texas. Doc. No. 18, Ex. 20. Thus, the evidence shows that Development holds
itself out to the public, through the use of its “GDS” trademark, as doing business in Texas.
In addition, Development admits to having entered into an ongoing oral license
agreement with Distribution Services, a Texas resident, for the use of its registered “GDS”
trademark. Doc. No. 16, Ex. E. By this contract, Development has purposefully availed itself
of Texas by entering into a lasting agreement with a Texas company. See Burger King, 471
U.S. at 474-75 (contractual arrangement between parties sufficient to confer personal
jurisdiction where it contemplated long-term relationship). Trademark infringement liability
can extend to parent companies or licensors who permit a subsidiary or licensee to violate
another’s trademark. Inwood Laboratories, Inc., v. Ives Laboratories, Inc., 456 U.S. 844, 853
(1982). Thus, by licensing its trademark to its in-state subsidiary, Development has taken
some affirmative act that is directed at the state which is “related” to this litigation. See
In a trademark infringement case, a plaintiff must show: (1) ownership of a legally-protectable mark; and (2)
infringement by demonstrating a “likelihood” of confusion among consumers. Bd. of Supervisors for Louisiana
State Univ. Agric. & Mech. Coll. v. Smack Apparel Co., 550 F.3d 465, 474 (5th Cir. 2008) (internal citations
omitted). A trademark infringement cause of action therefore necessarily relates to a party’s advertising
Guidry v. United States Tobacco Co., 188 F.3d 619, 628 (5th Cir. 1999) (“[e]ven an act done
outside the state that has consequences or effects within the state will suffice as a basis for
jurisdiction in a suit arising from those consequences if the effects are seriously harmful and
were intended or highly likely to follow from the nonresident defendant’s conduct.”). As a
result, the Court finds that it has specific jurisdiction over Development.
In addition, Plaintiff has established a prima facie case that Development is subject to
general jurisdiction in Texas. In contrast to specific jurisdiction, which is focused on whether
the nonresident’s contacts are related to the asserted claims, general jurisdiction exists when
the defendant has a “continuous and systemic” presence in the forum. Helicopteros, 466 U.S.
at 414. The “continuous and systematic contacts test is a difficult one to meet, requiring
extensive contacts between a defendant and a forum.” Submersible Sys., Inc. v. Perforadora
Cent., S.A., 249 F.3d 413, 419 (5th Cir. 2001) (citation omitted). “Random, fortuitous, or
attenuated contacts are not sufficient to establish jurisdiction.” Moncrief Oil Int'l Inc. v. OAO
Gazprom, 481 F.3d 309, 312 (5th Cir. 2007) (citation omitted).
There are two alternative theories of how Development could be subject to general
jurisdiction in Texas. First, there could be general jurisdiction based on Development’s direct
business activities here. Development vigorously asserts that, despite the long history of its
affiliates and subsidiaries of doing business in the State, it does absolutely no business in
Texas. Doc. No. 16, Ex. E. Plaintiff, however, contends that Development is currently doing
business in Texas under the Door Services alias. Doc. No. 18 at 8. Again, at this stage of the
case factual conflicts relating to personal jurisdiction must be resolved in the plaintiff’s favor.
Johnston, 523 F.3d at 609.
In its motion to compel arbitration, Development primarily grounds its alleged
authority to enforce the arbitration clause on the basis of the 2008 assignment in which it
acquired all of the assets and liabilities of a Texas company, Door Services. See Doc. No. 16,
Ex. 5. Now, in its motion to dismiss, Development argues that all of its Texas business is
conduct by its subsidiary, Distribution Services. For this corporate history to make sense,
Development must have at some point transferred the Texas business assets it acquired from
Door Services to Distribution Services. However, it is unclear when, if ever, this transfer
occurred. Consequently, it appears likely that for some period of time Development was, as
successor to Door Services, doing business in Texas. See Access Telecom, Inc. v. MCI
Telecomm. Corp., 197 F.3d 694, 717 (5th Cir.1999) (“[G]eneral jurisdiction can be assessed
by evaluating contacts of the defendant with the forum over a reasonable number of years, up
to the date the suit was filed.”) see also Perkins v. Benguet Consol. Mining Co., 342 U.S. 437,
445-46, 72 S.Ct. 413, 96 L.Ed. 485 (1952) (finding personal jurisdiction where business entity
temporarily relocated to forum state and conducted meetings, maintained records and bank
accounts, and made business decisions there).
Alternatively, even taking Development at its word that it does no business in Texas, it
may nonetheless be subject to the State’s general jurisdiction by virtue of the control it has
over its Texas subsidiary, Distribution Services. Development’s main argument against this
Court’s jurisdiction is that all of its business in Texas is carried out by its subsidiary
Distribution Services.5 Development does not explain, however, how the two companies are
meaningfully separate entities. Plaintiff’s evidence tends to show that Distribution Services
and Development are alter egos, such that general jurisdiction over one confers general
It is undisputed that Distribution Services is subject to general jurisdiction in Texas.
jurisdiction over the other. See Hargrave v. Fibreboard Corp., 710 F.2d 1154, 1159 (5th Cir.
1983)(“[A] close relationship between a parent and its subsidiary may justify a finding that the
parent “does business” in a jurisdiction through the local activities of its subsidiaries.”).
In fairness to Development, “the mere existence of a parent-subsidiary relationship is
not sufficient to warrant the assertion of jurisdiction over the foreign parent.” Id. In addition,
although relevant to the alter ego analysis, common ownership and common corporate officers
are, by themselves, insufficient to confer jurisdiction over the parent. Id. at 1060.
case, however, Distribution Services and Development share more than a common owner and
Although Development contends that only Distribution Services does
business in Texas, Plaintiff has provided evidence implying that, with respect to their business
operations in Texas, the two entities are interchangeable. For example, Distribution Services
does not have its own website. Instead, all traffic is funneled to Development’s website
which, as noted herein, indicates that some entity affiliated with Development carries on
continual business in Texas. Doc. No. 18, Ex. 18.
The co-Defendants also share the same
trademarks. Consequently, an individual seeking to obtain garage door repair services in Texas
would think they were doing business with Development. In fact, they would not even know
that Distribution Services existed.
Courts have elaborated multi-factor tests for when a parent may be subject to
jurisdiction as its subsidiary’s alter ego. Factors to be considered include:
(1) the parent and the subsidiary have common stock ownership;
(2) the parent and the subsidiary have common directors or
officers; (3) the parent and the subsidiary have common business
departments; (4) the parent and the subsidiary file consolidated
financial statements and tax returns; (5) the parent finances the
subsidiary; (6) the parent caused the incorporation of the
subsidiary; (7) the subsidiary operates with grossly inadequate
capital; (8) the parent pays the salaries and other expenses of the
subsidiary; (9) the subsidiary receives no business except that
given to it by the parent; (10) the parent uses the subsidiaries
property as its own; (11) the daily operations of the two
corporations are not kept separate; and (12) the subsidiary does not
observe the basic corporate formalities, such as keeping separate
books and records and holding shareholder and board meetings.
Gundle Lining Constr. Corp. v. Adams County Asphalt, Inc., 85 F.3d 201, 208–09 (5th
Cir. 1996). Here, the parent and subsidiary have common ownership and officers. Although
Plaintiff has not provided Defendants’ financial information, Defendants do not offer any
indication that they have separate finances. Here, the subsidiary appears to solely exist as a
middle-man between the parent and the independent contractors who actually conduct the
garage repair work for the parent’s financial benefit. Thus, it does not appear that Distribution
Services has any business of its own. Both Development and Distribution Services were
incorporated on the same day in Nevada. Doc. No. 7, Ex. 1. The two parties use joint
property, including trademarks and websites, interchangeably. Most importantly, the daily
operations do not appear distinguishable and the evidence refutes any notion that Distribution
Services maintains “basic corporate formalities” such that they can meaningfully be
considered a distinct entity. Defendants purport to have an oral license agreement regulating
the use of the “GDS” trademark. The absence of a written agreement suggests a closeness
between the parties. Moreover, Defendant’s affidavit indicates that “the nature and quality of
services provided by Distribution… must satisfy the controls, standards and requirements of
Development.” Doc. No. 16, Ex. E. Thus, Development’s own evidence supports the notion
that it is fully in control of Distribution Services.
In this case, Plaintiff has made the requisite showing that Development so controls
Distribution Services that its continuous presence in the forum may be fairly attributed to
Development Strategies for purposes of asserting jurisdiction over it. See Gardemal v. Westin
Hotel Co., 186 F.3d 588, 593 (5th Cir.1999) (describing that under Texas law, the alter ego
doctrine “applies ‘when there is such unity between the parent corporation and its subsidiary
that the separateness of the two corporations has ceased and holding only the subsidiary
corporation liable would result in injustice’” (quoting Harwood Tire–Arlington, Inc. v. Young,
963 S.W.2d 881, 885 (Tex. App. —Fort Worth 1998, writ dism’d by agr.)).
Plaintiff contends that Development is a nation-wide business that has created undercapitalized “shell’ subsidiaries to operate in each state in order to avoid jurisdiction. Doc. No.
18. With respect to its motion to compel arbitration, Development insists that it is so closely
related to its affiliated companies that it should be allowed to enforce a contract that it did not
sign. With respect to the jurisdictional analysis, however, Development contends that its
corporate partners are distinct entities that only operate at arms-length. The Court takes no
position on Defendants’ corporate structure. However, based upon the facts of this case, the
Court concludes that Development maintains sufficient minimum contacts with Texas to
render personal jurisdiction constitutionally permissible.
This does not quite end the inquiry because the exercise of jurisdiction cannot offend
“traditional notions of fair play and substantial justice.” Intl. Shoe Co., 326 U.S. at 320.
conducting this analysis, courts consider: (1) the burden on defendant, (2) Texas’s interest in
this dispute, (3) plaintiff’s interest in obtaining effective relief, (3) the judicial system’s
interest in efficiency; and (5) the shared interest of the states in furthering social policies.
World-Wide Volkswagen Corp. v. Woodson, 444 U.S. 286, 292 (1980). Whereas the overall
burden to establish jurisdiction is on the plaintiff, when a defendant with minimum contacts to
a forum state seeks to avoid that state’s jurisdiction “he must present a compelling case that
the presence of some other considerations would render jurisdiction unreasonable.” Burger
King, 417 U.S. at 447.
Here, Development has not claimed that litigating in Texas would be
so burdensome as to amount to a constitutional violation. In fact, Development asked the
Court to compel arbitration, presumably in Texas, and so it would be hard for Development to
turn around and argue that it cannot reasonably litigate here. Plaintiff has raised a concern
about the ability to obtain effective relief if Development is dismissed, and Texas has a strong
interest in promoting a business climate free of trademark infringement.
jurisdiction over Development does not offend any notion of “fair play or substantial justice.”
In light of the foregoing analysis, Defendants’ motions to compel arbitration are
DENIED. Doc. Nos. 16 & 21. Defendant Development’s motion to dismiss for lack of
personal jurisdiction is also DENIED. Doc. No. 16.
SIGNED this 7th day of May, 2014.
UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
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