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Bernath v. Seavey

United States District Court, M.D. Florida, Fort Myers Division

December 11, 2017

DANIEL A. BERNATH, Plaintiff,
v.
MARK CAMERON SEAVEY, Defendant.

          OPINION AND ORDER [1]

          SHERI POLSTER CHAPPELL UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.

         This matter comes before the Court on United States Magistrate Judge Carol Mirando's Report and Recommendation, which addresses Defendant American Legion's Memorandum on Requested Relief (Doc. 232); Defendant Mark Seavey's Memorandum on Damages (Doc. 233); and pro se Plaintiff Daniel Bernath's Motion to File Complaint in state court (Doc. 260).[2] (Doc. 270). Judge Mirando's recommendations are twofold: (1) award Defendants injunctive and monetary damages because of Bernath's copyright infringement, defamatory statements, and other actions; and (2) deny Bernath's motion to file new complaints against Defendants. (Doc. 270 at 19-21). Bernath has submitted over a dozen filings that the Court construes as objections to the Report and Recommendation.[3] (Doc. 273; Doc. 275; Doc. 277; Doc. 278; Doc. 280; Doc. 281; Doc. 282; Doc. 285; Doc. 287; Doc. 288; Doc. 289; Doc. 290; Doc. 291; Doc. 292; Doc. 293; Doc. 294). Defendants object only to Judge Mirando's recommendation to deny as moot their request for a nationwide pre-suit injunction against Bernath.[4] (Doc. 284). The Report and Recommendation is ripe for review.

         BACKGROUND

         The full factual background is set forth in the Report and Recommendation (Doc. 260) and the Order granting summary judgment for Defendants (Doc. 227). Briefly, this matter involves claims and counterclaims for copyright infringement, intentional infliction of emotional distress, cybersquatting, and defamation. The Court granted Legion's and Seavey's motions for summary judgment on all claims and counterclaims and directed the parties to provide supplemental briefing on their requested damages. (Doc. 227).

         Independent of summary judgment, the Court granted Defendants' motion to declare Bernath a vexatious litigant because of his excessive filings and repeated failures to comply with this Court's orders and procedural rules. (Doc. 259). In that vein, it imposed “a pre-filing injunction requiring Bernath to (a) obtain leave of court before filing any new actions in this Court or any court in Florida; and (b) attach to future complaints a list of all cases previously filed involving the same, similar, or related cause of action.” (Doc. 259). Since then, Bernath has requested to file new complaints against Legion and others in state court. (Doc. 260).

         The Report and Recommendation addresses both Bernath's motion to file new complaints and Defendants' supplemental briefing on damages.[5] It specifically recommends:

• issue a permanent injunction prohibiting Bernath from using, displaying, or publishing Legion's emblem in any form or medium;
• issue a permanent injunction enjoining Bernath from registering or maintaining any domain name bearing “amercianlegion” or the names of Legion's employees or affiliates;
• order Bernath to transfer all of his domain names bearing Legion or affiliated names to Legion;
• issue a permanent injunction prohibiting Bernath from writing, publishing, or disseminating any defamatory material or defamatory information about Legion or any of its employees or affiliates in any medium;
• award Legion general damages of $100, 000.00, special damages of $80, 000.00, and punitive damages of $100, 000.00;
• award Legion attorneys' fees and costs for $384, 820.00;
• award Seavey general damages of $500, 000.00 and special damages of $135, 000.00;
• award Seavey attorneys' fees and costs for $195, 620.00;
• issue a permanent injunction prohibiting Bernath from writing, publishing, displaying, or disseminating any material, writing or other information about Seavey in any medium;
• deny Bernath's Motion to File Complaint (Doc. 260); and
• issue an order to show cause why Bernath should not be held in civil contempt for violating the Court's pre-filing injunction order (Doc. 259).

         STANDARD OF REVIEW

         A district judge “may accept, reject, or modify in whole or in part, the findings or recommendations made by the magistrate judge.” 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1). The district judge “shall make a de novo determination of those portions of the report or specified proposed findings or recommendations to which objection is made.” Id. And “[t]he judge may ...


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