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Opacmare USA, LLC v. Lazzara Custom Yachts, LLC

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

February 28, 2018

OPACMARE USA, LLC, Plaintiff,
v.
LAZZARA CUSTOM YACHTS, LLC, Defendant. LAZZARA CUSTOM YACHTS, LLC, Counterclaimant,
v.
OPACMARE USA, LLC, Counterclaim Defendant.

          ORDER

          VIRGINIA M. HERNANDEZ COVINGTON UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.

         This matter comes before the Court pursuant to the Motion for Summary Judgment filed by Lazzara Custom Yachts, LLC on September 15, 2017 (Doc. # 79), with a response in opposition thereto filed by Opacmare USA, LLC on October 17, 2017 (Doc. # 84), and a reply in support thereof filed by Lazzara Custom Yachts on October 31, 2017 (Doc. # 86); the Cross Motion for Summary Judgment filed by Opacmare on November 3, 2017 (Doc. # 88), with a response in opposition thereto filed by Lazzara Custom Yachts on November 30, 2017 (Doc. # 89), and a reply in support thereof filed by Opacmare on December 18, 2017 (Doc. # 92); and the Motion for Sanctions filed by Lazzara Custom Yachts on January 19, 2018 (Doc. # 93), with a response in opposition thereto filed by Opacmare on February 2, 2018 (Doc. # 99).

         For the reasons that follow, Lazzara Custom Yachts's Motion for Summary Judgment (Doc. # 79) is granted, Opacmare's Cross Motion for Summary Judgment (Doc. # 88) is denied, and Lazzara Custom Yachts's Motion for Sanctions (Doc. # 93) is denied.

         I. Background

         Opacmare originally brought this action seeking damages and injunctive relief against Lazzara Custom Yachts, Joseph M. Lazzara, and Steven B. Lazzara, for trademark infringement under 15 U.S.C. § 1114 and Florida common law, trademark counterfeiting under 15 U.S.C. § 1114, unfair competition under 15 U.S.C. § 1125(a) and Florida common law, cyberpiracy under 15 U.S.C. § 1125, and violation of the Florida Deceptive and Unfair Trade Practices Act under Fla. Stat. § 501.201 et seq. (Doc. # 44). On July 6, 2017, the claims against Joseph and Steven Lazzara were dismissed. (Doc. # 69).

         Opacmare alleged that Lazzara Custom Yachts was unlawfully using the LAZZARA trademark, United States Trademark Registration Number 3064907, which Opacmare claimed ownership of. (Doc. # 44 at ¶ 39). In its Answer to the Amended Complaint, Lazzara Custom Yachts raised several affirmative defenses, and counterclaims seeking a declaratory judgment declaring it to be the owner of the LAZZARA Mark and a corresponding correction of the trademark registry. (Doc. # 53).

         Upon Opacmare's motion, the Court dismissed without prejudice the First Amended Complaint. (Doc. # 87). As such, the case proceeds only on Lazzara Custom Yachts's counterclaims, on which both parties now seek summary judgment. (Doc. ## 79, 88). Lazzara Custom Yachts's Motion also sought summary judgment on the claims in the First Amended Complaint. (Doc. # 79). However, since the First Amended Complaint has been dismissed, the Court addresses the Motion only as to Lazzara Custom Yachts's counterclaims.

         Additionally, Lazzara Custom Yachts seeks sanctions under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 11, alleging that Opacmare continues to raise frivolous arguments in its Answer to Lazzara Custom Yachts's counterclaims. (Doc. # 93). The Motions are ripe for review.

         II. Legal Standard

         A. Summary Judgment

         Summary judgment is proper where “the movant shows that there is no genuine dispute as to any material fact and the movant is entitled to judgment as a matter of law.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 56. Summary judgment will be granted unless there is a “genuine issue of material fact.” Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 247-48 (1968) (emphasis in original). An issue is genuine if there is a “real basis in the record” on which “a reasonable jury could return a verdict for the non-movant.” Hairston v. Gainesville Sun Publ'g Co., 9 F.3d 913, 919 (11th Cir. 1993). A fact is material if it might affect the outcome of the suit under the applicable substantive law. Allen v. Tyson Foods, Inc., 121 F.3d 642, 646 (11th Cir. 1997). If there is a conflict between the allegations or evidence, all reasonable inferences should be drawn in the non-moving party's favor. Shotz v. City of Plantation, 344 F.3d 1161, 1164 (11th Cir. 2003). However, if “the record taken as a whole could not lead a rational trier of fact to find for the non-moving party, there is no ‘genuine issue for trial.'” Matsushita Elec. Indus. Co. v. Zanith Radio Corp., 475 U.S. 574, 587 (1986).

         B. Rule 11 Sanctions

         Under Rule 11, an attorney certifies that in any paper presented to the Court, “the factual contentions have evidentiary support (or will likely have evidentiary support after a reasonable opportunity for further investigation or discovery) and the legal contentions are warranted by existing law or a nonfrivolous argument for extending or altering existing law or for establishing new law.” Lee v. Mid-State Land & Timber Co., 285 Fed. App'x 601, 608 (11th Cir. 2008) (citing Fed.R.Civ.P. 11). In addressing a motion under Rule 11, the Court conducts a two-part inquiry: (1) “whether the party's claims are objectively frivolous, ” either factually or legally, and, if so, (2) “whether the person who signed the pleadings should have been aware that they were frivolous.” Worldwide Primates, Inc. v. McGreal, 87 F.3d 1252, 1254 (11th Cir. 1996).

         III. Facts

         A. ...


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