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Hyundai Motor America, Inc. v. Isher Trading LLC

United States District Court, D. Nevada

August 24, 2017

HYUNDAI MOTOR AMERICA, INC., et al., Plaintiff(s),
ISHER TRADING LLC, Defendant(s).


         Presently before the court is plaintiffs Hyundai Motor America, Inc. and Hyundai Motor Company's ("HMC") motion for default judgment against defendant Isher Trading LLC ("Isher"). (ECF No. 30).

         Plaintiffs indicate that they initiated this case to bring claims involving "federal trademark infringement, inducement of trademark infringement, contributory trademark infringement, false designation of origin, trademark dilution, common law trademark infringement, unfair competition, and deceptive trade practices under N.R.S. 598.0903, etseq." (ECF No. 30 at 6).

         Plaintiffs filed their complaint on November 1, 2016, and their summons was executed against Ishar on November 7, 2016. (ECF Nos. 1, 7). On December 28, 2016, Judge Koppe entered an order recognizing that "Defendant has not appeared in this action and Plaintiff[s] ha[ve] not filed a motion for default or otherwise advanced the case." (ECF No. 26 at 1).

         On January 4, 2017, plaintiffs moved for an entry of clerk's default against Isher, and the clerk granted default on January 5, 2017. (ECF Nos. 28, 29). Thereafter, plaintiffs submitted their motion for default judgment. (ECF No. 30). To date, defendant has filed no response or opposition to that motion, despite the passage of roughly half of a year.

         Default judgment is appropriate "[w]hen a party against whom a judgment for affirmative relief is sought has failed to plead or otherwise defend, and that failure is shown by affidavit or otherwise." Fed.R.Civ.P. 55(a). The party must apply to the court for default judgment when the claim's sum value is uncertain. Fed.R.Civ.P. 55(b)(2).

         Obtaining a default judgment is a two-step process:

First, the party seeking a default judgment must file a motion for entry of default with the clerk of a district court by demonstrating that the opposing party has failed to answer or otherwise respond to the complaint, and, second, once the clerk has entered a default, the moving party may then seek entry of a default judgment against the defaulting party.

UMG Recordings, Inc. v. Stewart, 461 F.Supp.2d 837, 840 (S.D. Ill. 2006).

         The choice whether to enter a default judgment lies within the discretion of the trial court. Aldabe v. Aldabe, 616 F.2d 1089, 1092 (9th Cir. 1980). When determining whether to grant a default judgment, the trial court should consider the seven factors articulated in Eitel v. McCool, 782 F.2d 1470, 1471-72 (9th Cir. 1986):

(1) the possibility of prejudice to the plaintiff, (2) the merits of plaintiffs substantive claim, (3) the sufficiency of the complaint, (4) the sum of money at stake in the action; (5) the possibility of a dispute concerning material facts; (6) whether the default was due to excusable neglect, and (7) the strong policy underlying the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure favoring decisions on the merits.

         When applying the Eitel factors, "the factual allegations of the complaint, except those relating to the amount of damages, will be taken as true." Geddes v. United Fin. Grp., 559 F.2d 557, 560 (9th Cir. 1977); see also Fed. R. Civ. P. 8(d).

         Here, it is clear that plaintiffs are prejudiced by their need to prosecute a case wherein the defendant, after more than half a year, has failed to appear despite proof of execution of service. See Eitel, 782 F.2d at 1471-72.

         This court is satisfied by plaintiffs' discussion of its personal and subject matter jurisdiction over this case. (ECF No. 30). Next, plaintiffs have asserted nine claims against Isher: (1) trademark infringement; (2) inducement of trademark infringement; (3) contributory trademark infringement; (4 and 5) false designation of origin; (6) trademark dilution; (7) common law trademark infringement; (8) common law unfair competition; and (9) deceptive trade practices. (ECF No. 1); see also 15 U.S.C. §§ 1114-1117; Nev. Rev. Stat. § 598.0903, et seq.

         The complaint has identified the relevant marks at issue and explained the various interests that are threatened by unauthorized dealing of gray-market goods. (ECF No. 1). Moreover, the goods being introduced into the United States by defendant appear materially different from those goods distributed by HMC's authorized chain of distribution and are therefore not "genuine." Hokto Kinoko Co. v. Concord Farms, Inc.,738 F.3d 1085, 1092-93 (9th Cir. 2013); see also (ECF No. 1) (alleging that defendant had dealt inferior goods subject to plaintiffs' marks, such as those "rejected, recall or defective parts" and that defendant was essentially free-riding off of "the valuable and favorable reputation and goodwill of the [marks] . . . .").[1] After considering the various legal standards corresponding to plaintiffs' offered ...

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