United States District Court, W.D. Washington, Seattle
ORDER DENYING MOTION FOR LEAVE TO FILE A THIRD-PARTY
L. ROBART United States District Judge
the court is Defendants Brent Pourciau and Top Velocity,
LLC's (“Top Velocity”) (collectively,
“Defendants”) motion for leave to file a
third-party complaint against Aiden Ward. (Mot. (Dkt. #
28-1).) Plaintiffs Kyle Boddy and Driveline Baseball
Enterprises, LLC (“Driveline”) (collectively,
“Plaintiffs”) oppose the motion. (Resp. (Dkt. #
29).) The court has considered the motion, the parties'
submissions concerning the motion, the relevant portions of
the record, and the applicable law. Being fully advised,
court DENIES Defendants' motion for leave to file a
case involves allegations of libel, false light, and unfair
competition. (See generally SAC (Dkt. # 10).) The
court detailed this case's factual and procedural
background in its prior order. (See Order (Dkt. #
19) at 2-7.) In this order, the court recounts only the
salient facts and procedure.
Statements at Issue
Ward is a baseball player who trained at Driveline. (Peterson
Decl. (Dkt. # 30) ¶ 4, Ex. B (“Ward Aff.”)
at 1.) Mr. Ward attests that, in October 2017, he was
following a Twitter debate between Plaintiffs and Mr.
Pourciau. (Id.) Hoping to “rile up [Mr.
Pourciau], ” Mr. Ward fabricated a text message
exchange between himself and Mr. Boddy and sent it to Mr.
Pourciau in an anonymous private Twitter message.
(Id.; see also Id. Ex. A.) Mr. Ward
fabricated the text messages to make it appear like Mr. Boddy
was encouraging Mr. Ward to use performance enhancing drugs
(“PEDs”). (Ward Aff. at 1; see also Ward
Aff. at 1, Ex. A.) Mr. Ward told Mr. Pourciau that he was a
former Driveline client and claimed that 45% of college
athletes training with Driveline were using PEDs. (Ward Aff.
at 1; Ex. A.) Mr. Ward believed that the messages made
“outlandish and obviously false claims about Driveline
and steroid use.” (Id.) Mr. Ward further told
Mr. Pourciau that he “can never distribute” the
information that Mr. Ward anonymously provided.
(Id.) Still concerned that Mr. Pourciau believed
that the fabricated information was true, Mr. Ward reached
out to Mr. Pourciau again to tell him that “it was all
just a joke.” (Id. at 1-2.)
allege that, on or about November 8, 2017, Mr. Pourciau
created a Twitter account entitled “Chris C” from
which he publicly posted “there is a lot you guys
don't know about [Driveline] that needs to be
exposed.” (SAC ¶¶ 11-12.) The post included a
screenshot of the private messages between Mr. Ward and Mr.
Pourciau as well as the fabricated text message exchange Mr.
Ward provided to Mr. Pourciau. (Id.) Mr. Pourciau
publicly reposted the Chris C tweet from his personal Twitter
account later that night, adding his own comment.
(Id. ¶ 14.) At the time, it was unknown that
Mr. Pourciau controlled the Chris C account. (Id.
¶ 20.) On November 28, 2017, Mr. Pourciau again replied
to the original Chris C tweet, providing a link to the
private message screenshots and saying, “I am blown
about by the sh[**] that comes from DL. Coaches that
blantanly [sic] lie about WB studies and recent rumor of
PED.” (Id. ¶ 14, Ex. B at 3.)
November 9, 2017, one day after the initial tweet from the
Chris C account, Plaintiffs filed a libel claim in King
County Superior Court against John Does, intending to amend
the complaint when they discovered who was responsible for
the Chris C tweet. (See Id. ¶ 20; Compl. (Dkt.
# 8-1) at 4.) Plaintiffs then initiated an investigation into
the source of the messages. (SAC ¶ 22.) The
investigation revealed that Mr. Pourciau had created the
Chris C account. (Id. ¶¶ 23, 26.)
Plaintiffs amended their complaint, identifying Mr. Pourciau
and Top Velocity as defendants and adding a claim for unfair
competition. (Id. ¶ 27; see also FAC
(Dkt. # 1-1) ¶¶ 1, 4, 32-36.)
Louisiana citizens-removed this matter to federal court.
(See Not. of Rem. (Dkt. # 1) at 3.) Defendants then
moved to dismiss or transfer this case claiming that, among
other things, they did not purposefully avail themselves of
the state of Washington such that a Washington court could
exercise personal jurisdiction over them. (See
generally MTD (Dkt. # 8).) The court denied the motion
without prejudice and granted Plaintiffs 90 days to conduct
jurisdictional discovery because the court lacked sufficient
facts to determine if it had personal jurisdiction over
Defendants. (See generally Order.) Neither party has
challenged personal jurisdiction since the 90-day
jurisdictional discovery period expired. (See Dkt.)
this litigation began, Driveline emailed several current and
former trainees that it identified as potential witnesses,
including Mr. Ward. (Peterson Decl. ¶ 2, Ex. A.) Upon
receiving the email, Mr. Ward contacted Driveline. (Ward Aff.
at 2). On October 12, 2018, Mr. Ward provided an affidavit
attesting that he had contacted Mr. Pourciau anonymously from
an old Twitter account to “rile up Brent [Pourciau] by
sending him Twitter messages suggesting that [Mr. Ward] had
knowledge of steroid use at Driveline.” (Id.
at 1.) Mr. Ward admitted to falsifying the text message
conversation with Mr. Boddy and further admitted that the PED
allegations were false. (Id. at 1-2.) Plaintiffs
disclosed this affidavit to Defendants on October 12, 2018.
(Resp. at 2 (citing Peterson Decl. ¶ 4).)