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Lanard Toys Ltd. v. Toys "R" Us-Delaware, Inc.

United States District Court, M.D. Florida, Jacksonville Division

November 13, 2017

LANARD TOYS LIMITED, Plaintiff,
v.
TOYS “R” US-DELAWARE, INC., DOLGENCORP LLC and JA-RU, INC., Defendants.

          ORDER

          Marcia Morales Howard United States District Judge

         THIS CAUSE comes before the Court on the question of whether this action should be stayed with respect to non-debtor defendants Dolgencorp LLC (Dolgencorp) and Ja-Ru, Inc. (Ja-Ru). On September 19, 2017, Ja-Ru filed Defendant's Suggestion of Bankruptcy for Toys “R” Us-Delaware, Inc. (Doc. 384; Suggestion), advising the Court that Defendant Toys “R” Us-Delaware, Inc. (TRU) has filed a bankruptcy petition in the United States Bankruptcy Court for the Eastern District of Virginia. See Suggestion at 1. In light of this, Ja-Ru asserted that all deadlines in this action should be vacated and the trial rescheduled. Id. On September 19, 2017, Plaintiff Lanard Toys Limited (Lanard) advised the Court of its position that this case could proceed against Dolgencorp and Ja-Ru. See Plaintiff's Notice of Continuation of Case (Doc. 385). In light of the parties' conflicting positions, on September 20, 2017, the Court entered an order directing the parties to file “memoranda on the issue of whether this action should proceed without the bankrupt party or should be stayed in its entirety.” See Order (Doc. 386; Briefing Order) at 2. The parties filed briefs in response to the Briefing Order on October 16, 2017. See Ja-Ru and Dolgencorp Brief [sic] on Need [sic] for Stay Due to Bankruptcy Filing of Toys “R” Us-Delaware, Inc. (Doc. 390; Defendants' Brief) and Plaintiff's Memorandum of Law in Support of Continuation of Case as to Defendant's Dolgencorp, LLC and Ja-Ru, Inc. (Doc. 389; Lanard's Brief). Accordingly, this matter is ripe for review.

         I. Procedural Background

         This action arises out of Defendants' alleged infringement of Lanard's intellectual property interests in the “Chalk Holder”-“a device that can hold pieces of colored chalk to allow children to draw outdoors.” See Second Amended Complaint and Demand for Jury Trial (Doc. 103; Second Amended Complaint) ¶11, 23, 26. Specifically, Lanard alleges that Ja-Ru created a less expensive version of the Chalk Holder, and that TRU and Dolgencorp opted to sell Ja-Ru's product instead of Lanard's Chalk Holder. Id. ¶¶21, 23-24, 26.

         Lanard initiated this action on March 27, 2014 by filing the Complaint and Demand for Trial by Jury (Doc. 1; Complaint) in the United States District Court for the District of New Jersey. see Order Granting Joint Motion to Correct Parties and For Lanard to File an Amended Complaint (Doc. 57-2), Lanard filed an amended complaint on June 16, 2014, see Amended Complaint and Demand for Trial by Jury (Doc. 61; Amended Complaint). On June 16, 2015, the assigned judge from the District of New Jersey transferred the action to this Court. See Opinion and Order on Defendants' Motion to Transfer Venue (Doc. 92).

         With leave of Court, see Order (Doc. 97), Lanard filed the Second Amended Complaint on August 10, 2015, and asserted claims for copyright infringement, see Second Amended Complaint ¶¶35-39, patent infringement, id. ¶¶40-47, trade dress infringement, id. ¶¶48-53, and common law unfair competition, id. ¶¶54-59. Lanard brought each claim against all Defendants. Id. ¶¶35-59. Although Defendants filed separate answers, they each asserted identical counterclaims against Lanard seeking declarations regarding the invalidity of Lanard's copyright registration, patent, and trade dress, and the lack of unfair competition. See Answer, Affirmative Defenses, and Counterclaim to Second Amended Complaint, and Demand for Jury Trial, of Defendant Dolgencorp, LLC (Doc. 110; Dolgencorp's Answer) at 13-19; Answer, Affirmative Defenses and Counterclaim to Second Amended Complaint, and Demand for Jury Trial, of Defendant Ja-Ru, Inc. (Doc. 111; Ja-Ru's Answer) at 11-16; and Answer, Affirmative Defenses, and Counterclaim to Second Amended Complaint, and Demand for Jury Trial, of Defendant Toys ‘R' Us-Delaware, Inc. (Doc. 112; TRU's Answer) at 13-18.

         On October 15, 2015, the Court entered the Case Management and Scheduling Order and Referral to Mediation (Doc. 127; Scheduling Order), setting this case for the January 3, 2017 trial term. However, on March 1, 2016, the Court vacated the Scheduling Order and stayed this action “pending a decision on an anticipated motion to disqualify counsel.” See Order (Doc. 167). The Court lifted the stay on December 16, 2016. See Order (Doc. 202). On January 30, 2017, the Court entered the Amended Case Management and Scheduling Order (Doc. 210; Amended Scheduling Order), setting the case for the December 4, 2017 trial term, a July 7, 2017 discovery deadline, and a July 24, 2017 deadline to file dispositive and Daubert Motions. Id.

         On July 24, 2017, Lanard filed Plaintiff's Motion for Partial Summary Judgment (Doc. 299; Lanard's SJ Motion), and Defendants jointly filed Defendants' Dispositive Motion for Summary Judgment and Memorandum of Law in Support (Doc. 302; Defendants' SJ Motion). The parties filed their respective responses to the motions on August 7, 2017. See Defendants Toys “R” Us-Delaware, Inc., Dolgencorp, LLC and Ja-Ru, Inc.'s Response in Opposition to Plaintiff Lanard Toys Limited's Motion for Partial Summary Judgment (Doc.320; Defendants' SJ Response) and Plaintiffs Response in Opposition to Defendants' Motion for Summary Judgment (Doc. 321; Lanard's SJ Response).[1] With leave of Court, see Order (Doc. 369), Lanard filed a reply brief, see Plaintiff Lanard Toys Limited's Response in Reply to Defendants' Response in Opposition to Plaintiff's Motion for Partial Summary Judgment (Doc. 382; Lanard's SJ Reply).

         In addition to the cross-motions for summary judgment, the parties have filed numerous other motions, which are pending before the Court. Defendants jointly filed, and Lanard responded to, the following motions:

. Defendants' Daubert Motion to Exclude Parker H. Bagley as an Expert and to Exclude His Rebuttal Expert Report and Testimony for All Purposes (Doc. 309);
o Plaintiff's Response in Opposition to Defendants' Daubert Motion to Exclude Parker H. Bagley as an Expert and to Exclude His Rebuttal Expert Report and Testimony for All Purposes (Doc. 332);
. Defendants' Daubert Motion to Disqualify Robert John Anders and Preclude Testimony (Doc. 314);
o Plaintiff Lanard Toys Limited's Response in Opposition to Defendants' Daubert Motion to Disqualify Robert John Anders and Preclude Testimony (Doc. 329);
. Defendants' Daubert Motion to Exclude Larry B. Myer as an Expert, Exclude His Initial and Rebuttal Expert Reports and Testimony for All Purposes, or Alternatively Motion to Strike New Materials and Opinions in Rebuttal Report (Doc. 315);
o Plaintiffs Response in Opposition to Defendants' Daubert Motion to Exclude Larry B. Myer as an Expert, and His Initial and Rebuttal Expert Reports and Testimony, and Motion to Strike (Doc. 334);
. Defendants' Daubert Motion to Exclude William Kerr's Expert Report and Reply Expert Report and to Exclude Testimony for All Purposes, or Alternatively to Strike New Materials and Opinions in Reply Report; Memorandum ...

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