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Atigeo LLC v. Offshore Limited D

United States District Court, W.D. Washington, Seattle

April 16, 2014

ATIGEO LLC, et al., Plaintiffs,
v.
OFFSHORE LIMITED D, et al., Defendants.

ORDER ON DEFENDANT ISTVAN BURGYAN'S MOTION FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT

JAMES L. ROBART, District Judge.

I. INTRODUCTION

This matter comes before the court on Defendant Istvan Burgyan's motion for summary judgment under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 56. ( See Burgyan Mot. (Dkt. # 46).) Mr. Burgyan seeks dismissal as a defendant in this action. In response, Plaintiffs request additional time for discovery under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 56(d). ( See Resp. (Dkt. # 55).) Having considered the submissions of the parties, the balance of the record, and the relevant law, and deeming itself fully advised, [1] the court STRIKES Mr. Burgyan's motion without prejudice to re-filing after the completion of three months of additional discovery.

II. FACTS

Plaintiffs Atigeo LLC ("Atigeo") and Michael Sandoval bring claims against Defendants under 15 U.S.C. § 1125(d) for cybersquatting and under California law for libel. ( See generally Compl. (Dkt. # 1).) Atigeo is a software company that markets products and services in fields such as healthcare and social media. (Compl. ¶ 14.) Atigeo is the sole owner of the trademark "ATIGEO." ( Id. ¶ 15.) Atigeo also owns the domain name "atigeo.com, " which Atigeo uses to advertise its products under the Atigeo trademark. ( Id. ¶ 15.) Mr. Sandoval is the Chief Executive Officer and Chairman of Atigeo. (Sandoval Decl. (Dkt. # 35) ¶ 1.)

Defendant Dennis Montgomery is a former employee of one of Atigeo's former subsidiaries, Opspring LLC ("Opspring"). (Compl. ¶ 32.) Mr. Burgyan is also a former employee of Opspring and is Mr. Montgomery's son-in-law. ( See Burgyan Decl. (Dkt. # 48) ¶¶ 4a, 4b.)[2] Mr. Burgyan owns Defendant Demaratech LLC ("Demaratech") but denies any knowledge of Defendant Offshore Limited D ("Offshore"). ( See id. ¶¶ 5, 6.)

Plaintiffs' complaint alleges that Defendants registered the domain names "atigeo.co, " "grantonresortcasino.net, " "theuntoldstory.net, " "yellowstoneclub.net, " and "yellowstoneclubs.com" (collectively "websites"), and posted false statements on these websites in retaliation for Mr. Sandoval's refusal to invest in Mr. Montgomery's business venture. (Compl. ¶¶ 21-23, 31.) Plaintiffs also allege that Defendants' misuse of the "atigeo.co" domain name confuses Atigeo's customers and business partners searching for Atigeo's website, tarnishes the goodwill associated with Atigeo's trademark, and harms Atigeo's business. ( Id. ¶¶ 38-42, 49-50.)

Mr. Burgyan testifies that he had no involvement in creating or posting on the websites. (Burgyan Decl. ¶ 4b.) Mr. Burgyan further states that his company Demaratech has been inactive since 2010 and similarly had no involvement in the creation of the websites or the websites' comments. ( Id. ¶ 5.) Mr. Montgomery testifies that he alone "created the subject websites to alert the public as to the fraudulent and misleading business practices of Michael Sandoval and his company, Atigeo" and that it was his "hope to prevent further individuals from being victimized or injured from these deceptive business practices." (Montgomery Decl. (Dkt. # 37) ¶ 9.)

Plaintiffs filed this action in United States District Court in the Central District of California on July 15, 2013. ( See generally Compl.) The parties later stipulated to a transfer to this court "for the convenience of parties and witnesses" as prescribed in 28 U.S.C §§ 1404(a), (b). (Stip. Transfer (Dkt. # 19).) The case was transferred to the Western District of Washington on September 17, 2013. (Transfer Order (Dkt. # 20).) The court's scheduling order, entered December 31, 2013, sets November 24, 2014 as the completion date for discovery, and sets trial for March 23, 2015. (Minute Order (Dkt. # 43).) The court denied Defendants' motion to dismiss under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6) on January 22, 2014. ( See 1/22/14 Order (Dkt. # 44).)

Mr. Burgyan now brings a motion for summary judgment pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 56, asserting that there is no evidence indicating his involvement with the websites, and that therefore the court should grant him summary judgment dismissing all claims. ( See Burgyan Mot. at 3.)

Plaintiffs respond that business records obtained from Network Solutions LLC, the registrar for the website domain names, implicate Mr. Burgyan in the websites' creation. (Resp. at 1-2.) The Network Solutions records document the account history for "Account # XXXXXXXX, " the account holding the "atigeo.co" domain name. ( Id. at 4.) Plaintiffs contend that because Mr. Burgyan's name, derivations of his company Demaratech's name, and an address and phone number associated with Demaratech appear in the account report, there is a genuine issue of material fact concerning Mr. Burgyan's involvement in the creation of these websites, therefore precluding summary judgment. ( Id. at 7-8.) Plaintiffs also argue, in the alternative, that the court should defer ruling on Mr. Burgyan's motion to allow Plaintiffs time to conduct further discovery under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 56(d). ( Id. at 8.)

In reply, Mr. Burgyan moves to strike the Network Solutions records under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 37(c) because the documents allegedly were not disclosed to Defendants as Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 26(a)(1)(A)(ii) requires. ( See Burgyan Reply (Dkt. # 61) at 3.) Mr. Burgyan also argues that the Network Solutions documents are inadmissible hearsay because they are unauthenticated and not accompanied by a declaration of custodian. ( Id. at 4.) In addition to contesting the admissibility of the Network Solutions documents, Mr. Burgyan refutes Plaintiffs' interpretation of those documents. ( See generally Burgyan Reply.) Mr. Burgyan asserts that the Network Solutions documents reveal that many individuals have possessed the password to and have used "Account # XXXXXXXX." ( Id. at 7.) Mr. Burgyan testifies that he has never used this Network Solutions account, has never known or possessed the password to the account, and has no knowledge of who added him or Demaratech to the account. (2d Burgyan Decl. (Dkt. # 62) at ¶¶ 2, 4.) Mr. Burgyan also states that he has responded to Plaintiffs' discovery requests and has provided all documents in his possession. (Burgyan Reply at 5.) Therefore, Mr. Burgyan argues that Plaintiffs' request for continued discovery should be denied. ( Id. at 10.)

III. ANALYSIS

A. Plaintiffs' Request for Additional Discovery Under Federal Rule of ...


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