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Idaho Golf Partners, Inc. v. Timberstone Management, LLC

United States District Court, D. Idaho

August 13, 2018

IDAHO GOLF PARTNERS, INC., Plaintiff,
v.
TIMBERSTONE MANAGEMENT, LLC, Defendant.

          MEMORANDUM DECISION AND ORDER

          B. LYNN WINMILL CHIEF U.S. DISTRICT COURT JUDGE

         INTRODUCTION

         Pending before the Court is Defendant's Motion for Order Requiring Payment of Damages Award (Dkt. 152). For the reasons discussed below, the Court will grant the Motion.

         BACKGROUND

         On August 17, 2017, the Court entered a Memorandum Decision and Order addressing the parties' post-trial motions in this case. (Aug. 17, 2017 Mem. Decision and Order, Dkt. 137).[1] The jury returned a verdict for Defendant on its counterclaims for trademark dilution and unfair competition and false designation of origin, and awarded a lump-sum $9, 808 damages award against Plaintiff. Id. The Court set aside the jury's verdict on trademark dilution and denied Plaintiff's motion for a new trial on the unfair competition claim. Id. at 19, 24. Because the jury did not apportion its award of damages between the two claims, the Court applied the general verdict rule and found that a new trial was required on the issue of damages for both claims. Id. at 35-37. The Court gave Plaintiff the option, however, of accepting the jury's general damages award as the measure of damages on the unfair competition claim and proceeding to a new trial only as to liability and damages on the trademark dilution claim. Id.

         On August 31, 2017, Plaintiff notified the Court that it waived the right to a new trial on damages on the Defendant's counterclaim for unfair competition. (Plaintiff's Notice of Compliance at 2, Dkt. 139). Plaintiff's notice also stated that Defendant had waived its right to a new trial on the issue of trademark dilution.[2] Id. Plaintiff's notice read, in full, as follows:

COMES NOW, Plaintiff Idaho Golf Partners, Inc. (hereinafter, “Plaintiff”), by and through its attorneys of record, the law firm of Dinius & Associates, PLLC, pursuant to the Court's decision and instruction that Plaintiff Idaho Golf Partners, Inc. notify the Court whether it would waive the right to a new trial on damages on the Defendant's counterclaim for unfair competition, based upon the current procedural posture of the case and Defendant's waiver of a new trial on its counterclaim for Dilution, Plaintiff agrees to waive its right to a new trial on the issue of damages for unfair competition.

Id. at 1-2.

         On March 27, 2018, the Court entered an order addressing the parties' requests for equitable relief. (Mar. 27, 2018 Order, Dkt. 147.) The Court denied Defendant's Motion for Reconsideration, granted Plaintiff's Request for Declaratory Judgment, and granted in part and denied in part Defendant's Request for Permanent Injunction. Id. at 17.

         On June 8, 2018, Defendant filed this motion. Dkt. 152. Defendants argue that the Court, in its August 17, 2017 order, upheld the $9, 808.00 in damages the jury awarded Defendant, and that the Court's March 27, 2018 order did not disturb that decision. Def. Br. at 2, Dkt. 152. Plaintiff disputes whether the August 17, 2017 order upheld the jury's damage award, and notes that “at that time there were outstanding claims yet to be decided by the Court.” Pl's Br. at 5-6, Dkt. 154.

         ANALYSIS

         IGPI expressly waived its right to challenge the damages award, and the Court's subsequent granting of declaratory judgment in favor of IGPI neither invalidated that waiver nor contradicted the jury's finding on the unfair competition claim. Nor do the principles of equity and justice require the Court to set the waiver aside. As such, the Court will grant Defendant's motion.

         1. Plaintiff's Waiver

         There were two remaining post-trial issues to be resolved after the Court issued its August 17, 2017 order. First, whether IGPI was liable for trademark dilution, and second whether the damages award was based on IGPI's liability for the unfair competition claim, or whether it included damages stemming from the trademark dilution claim. Aug. 17, 2017 Mem. Decision and Order at 37, Dkt. 137. As the Court noted, the general damages award could have been supported by the unfair competition claim alone, see id., but given the uncertainty the Court granted IGPI the option of putting that questions to the jury. When Defendant declined to press its claim for trademark dilution, see Plaintiff's Notice of Compliance at 2, Dkt. 139, the damage award was the only remaining issue to be tried. Although Plaintiff had the option of questioning what portion, if any, of the damages awarded may have been based on Defendant's abandoned trademark dilution claim, IGPI expressly waived that right. See id. (stating that Plaintiff ...


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