Party Ordered to Attend Trial


Everything is filed under seal, so all we know for certain is that (1) the plaintiff officer / counterclaim defendant didn’t show for the hearing on the motion for sanctions last week; and (2) Judge Payne has now required him to attend trial next month or face contempt or other sanctions. But I can add a little to the barebones order that issued Sunday – media reports that it’s unclear what the sanctions request was based on just means they didn’t know where to look.  It appears it won’t be a dull day in Marshall.

Motion for Sanctions Granted

The court found that a website owned by the defendant contained multiple violations of the court’s active order in this trademark case.  It rejected the defendant’s assertion that the website was a “test” website left up accidentally excused its presence.  The sanction was that the defendant would bear the full cost of an upcoming mediation, as well as reasonable attorneys fees associated with the filing of the motion and the discovery of the violation.

Sanctions for Discovery Misconduct

Judge Schroeder ordered defendant McDonald’s counsel to pay reasonable costs and fees in the amount of $79,584.11 to the plaintiff after McDonald’s failed to comply with a number of the court’s orders compelling discovery responses.  But although the court found that McDonald’s discovery compliance has been “dilatory and incomplete”, that did not mean that the relief sought by the plaintiff was found by the court to be appropriate.

The Sound of Contempt

Judge Mazzant granted the plaintiff’s motion for civil contempt due to the defendant’s violations of the permanent injunction in this case based on infringing guitars, but declined to consider the arguments raised for the first time in the reply brief (helpfully noting that the plaintiff should “feel free to file a new motion for civil contempt” as to those issues).

Motion For Default Judgment As Sanction Denied

Plaintiff sought default judgment as a sanction for the defendant’s failure to timely provide discovery responses.  In an order that goes through when failure to comply with discovery obligations warrants sanctions, the court found that a “death penalty” sanction was not warranted in this case since the late compliance was not willful, and the plaintiff was not substantially prejudice by the late responses.

Motion To Dismiss And For Rule 11 Sanctions Denied

Memorial City Hall in Marshall last night as guests arrive for the Dallas String Quartet concert

Judge Payne denied the defendant’s motion to dismiss for failure to state a claim or in the alternative for a more definite statement, holding that the arguments required a particular claim construction that is not apparent from the pleadings record.  He also denied the motion for Rule 11 sanctions, noting that it relied on the same claim construction arguments.