Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

Servant Ventures, Inc. v. Gazelles, Inc.

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

May 3, 2018

SERVANT VENTURES, INC., d/b/a GAZELLES INTERNATIONAL COACHES, Plaintiff,
v.
GAZELLES, INC., and GAZELLES FL, INC., Defendants.

          ORDER GRANTING IN PART AND DENYING IN PART PLAINTIFF'S MOTION FOR A TEMPORARY RESTRAINING ORDER

          BENJAMIN H. SETTLE UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.

         This matter comes before the Court on Plaintiff Servant Ventures, Inc.'s (“SVI”) motion for temporary restraining order (Dkt. 6). The Court has considered the pleadings filed in support of and in opposition to the motion and the remainder of the file and hereby grants in part and denies in part the motion for the reasons stated herein.

         I. PROCEDURAL HISTORY

         On April 6, 2018, SVI, doing business as Gazelles International Coaches, filed a complaint against Defendants Gazelles FL, Inc., and Gazelles, Inc. (“Gazelles”) in Clark County Superior Court for the State of Washington. Dkt. 1-1. SVI asserts causes of action for breach of contract, promissory estoppel, tortious interference with contract, and defamation. Id. SVI seeks preliminary and permanent injunctive relief. Id.

         On April 25, 2018, Gazelles removed the matter to this Court. Dkt. 1.

         On April 26, 2018, SVI filed a motion for temporary restraining order. Dkt. 6. On April 28, 2018, Gazelles responded. Dkt. 12. On April 30, 2018, SVI replied. Dkt. 16. On May 1, 2018, Gazelles filed a surreply moving to strike SVI's reply.[1] Dkt. 20.

         On May 2, 2018, Gazelles filed a motion to dismiss for lack of personal jurisdiction. Dkt. 22.[2]

         II. FACTUAL BACKGROUND

         This matter arises out of an alleged oral contract between the principal of SVI, Keith Cupp, and the owner of Gazelles, Verne Harnish. The contract involves the licensing of Mr. Harnish's intellectual property relating to the “books, programs, and curriculums specializing in leadership, strategic planning, and growth for individuals and companies looking to succeed and scale up in the business world.” Dkt. 1-4, ¶ 4. For example, Gazelles registered the trademark “GAZELLES” in 2002 for educational services in the field of business strategic planning. Dkt. 1-3, ¶ 9. Mr. Harnish licensed this property to Mr. Cupp for use in training business coaches and, in return, Mr. Cupp would give Mr. Harnish one-third of his profits.

         In 2010, Mr. Cupp incorporated SVI doing business as Gazelles International. Mr. Harish declares that he was unaware that Mr. Cupp formed SVI. Dkt. 1-4, ¶ 6. It seems that from 2010 to 2017, Mr. Cupp would recruit and sign business coaches with a contract stating that Mr. Cupp was President of Gazelles International. Dkt. 17-1. In 2018, Mr. Cupp apparently began to use contracts with his coaches that moved away from the Gazelles brand and focused more on SVI as a business. Mr. Harish was informed of this, and the parties' relationship began to sour. Despite the strained relationship, Mr. Cupp declares that he paid the quarterly dues to license the intellectual property for the second quarter of 2018. Dkt. 7. Based upon the current record, it is undisputed that the license agreement has not been terminated.

         Relevant to the instant motion, both companies are organizing seminars in New Orleans for mid-May 2018. SVI's coaches summit is scheduled immediately prior to Gazelles so that SVI's coaches may stay and attend Gazelles' summit. SVI has submitted uncontested evidence that Mr. Harish has contacted SVI's coaches and expressly urged them not to sign the 2018 SVI agreement. Dkt. 1-3, ¶ 18. Mr. Cupp also declares that Mr. Harnish has stated that Gazelles retains the authority to approve or cancel contracts between SVI and its coaches. Id. Moreover, SVI has submitted uncontested evidence that Mr. Harish has (1) interfered with at least two speakers that SVI had booked for SVI's New Orleans seminar and (2) may have interfered with SVI's hotel and conference facility requiring SVI to switch facilities at the last minute. Id. ¶¶ 21-24, 29.

         III. DISCUSSION

         A. Injunctive Relief

         A plaintiff seeking preliminary relief must establish that she is likely to succeed on the merits, that she is likely to suffer irreparable harm in the absence of preliminary relief, that the balance of equities tips in her favor, and that an injunction is in the ...


Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.