The opinion of the court was delivered by: Judge Gregory L. Frost
The Court conducted a final telephone status conference with counsel for both sides participating on August 11, 2006. During that conference, it was decided that this matter would be bifurcated in order to prevent jury confusion and to promote judicial economy. Accordingly, the Court informed the parties it would conduct a hearing on Plaintiff Budget Rent A Car System, Inc.'s ("Budget") request for permanent injunctive relief on August 14, 2006. The parties were further instructed that the jury trial would then begin on August 15, 2006 on any and all remaining claims.
As noted above, Budget's Complaint requests permanent injunctive relief against Defendant Kevin Miles ("Miles"). Namely, Budget seeks an injunction "enjoining and restraining Defendant Miles from initiating any communications with any Budget employee or franchisee which in any way interferes with Budget's business relations." (Doc. # 1 ¶ a). Miles opposes Budget's request. The Court sides with Budget and therefore issues the following Order.
The Court previously set forth the facts in this case in its April 25, 2006 Opinion & Order granting Budget's motion for partial summary judgment on its breach of contract claim. (Doc. # 44). Those facts are hereby incorporated herein, which eliminates the need for recitation at this point.
The Court applies a five-part test when deciding to issue a permanent injunction: (1) whether the movant demonstrates actual success on the merits; (2) whether there is a substantial risk of continuing irreparable injury to the movant without the injunction; (3) whether the injunction would cause substantial harm to others; (4) whether the injunction serves the public interest; and (5) whether the movant lacks an adequate remedy at law. Competitive Interiors, Inc. v. Laborers Int'l Union of N. Am., Inc., Local No. 1015, No. 5:06-cv-370, 2006 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 46978, at *4-5 (N.D. Ohio 2006) (citing United States v. Szoka, 260 F.3d 516, 523 (6th Cir. 2001)); see also Amoco Prod. Co. v. Vill. of Gambell, Alaska, 480 U.S. 531, 546 n.12,(1987) ("The standard for a preliminary injunction is essentially the same as for a permanent injunction with the exception that the plaintiff must show a likelihood of success on the merits rather than actual success").
I. ACTUAL SUCCESS ON THE MERITS
This portion of the Court's analysis is truncated by the Court's April 24, 2006 Opinion & Order holding that Miles breached the settlement agreement by creating the website kevinandgoliath.com and posting a copy of Robert Muhs' letter on that website. (Doc. # 44 at 10-12). In brief, the Court held that Miles breached the settlement agreement before the parties.
(Doc. # 44). Specifically, the Court held:
Despite the agreement's clear prohibition against doing so, Miles created kevinandgoliath.com. (Miles Admissions ¶ 2). That website undoubtedly related to Budget, because Miles posted a copy of Cendant's August 20, 2004 letter to him on the website. (Miles Admissions ¶ 3). As set forth above, the letter specifically mentioned Budget, the prior lawsuit between the two parties, and was printed on Cendant letterhead. While the Court recognizes that the settlement agreement provides that the letter is not confidential, the letter is the result of the settlement agreement that Miles signed. The agreement forbids him from discussing the lawsuit as well as the terms of the settlement agreement and the letter is one aspect of the settlement agreement. (Doc. # 29 Ex. 2 at ¶ 2). Clearly, the website and the letter that appears on that web address violate the settlement agreement. Consequently, the Court concludes that ...