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.

Design Basics LLC v. Petros Homes Inc.

United States District Court, N.D. Ohio, Eastern Division

March 7, 2017

DESIGN BASICS, LLC, Plaintiff,
v.
PETROS HOMES, INC., et al., Defendants.

          MEMORANDUM OPINION & ORDER

          THOMAS M. PARKER MAGISTRATE JUDGE.

         This matter is before the court on a motion for partial summary judgment (ECF Doc. No. 71) filed by plaintiff, Design Basics, LLC, on November 11, 2016. Plaintiff contends that it is entitled to judgment as a matter of law on the issue of whether defendants can prove that their overhead expenses contributed to or were incurred in connection with the construction and sale of the homes that were constructed based on allegedly infringing design plans. The parties have consented to my jurisdiction.[1]

         Plaintiff's motion for partial summary judgment is not well taken and will be DENIED.

         I. Factual Background

         Plaintiff, Design Basics, Inc., is a building design firm that creates, markets, publishes, and sells licenses for the use of architectural designs. Plaintiff holds certificates of copyright registration issued by the United States Copyright Office for most of its designs. Plaintiff's designs at issue in this action are: (1) Plan No. 2408 - Crawford; (2) Plan No. 2326 - Greensboro; (3) Plan No. 2355 - Waverly; (4) Plan No. 4998 - Holden; (5) Plan No. 7614 - Southwick; (6) Plan No. 8108 - Rose Hollow; and (7) Plain No. 2377 - Leighton.

         Plaintiff filed this lawsuit on September 4, 2014, claiming that defendant, Petros Homes, Inc., had infringed on plaintiff's copyrighted plans.[2] Plaintiff filed an amended complaint on February 24, 2016 to add Gary Naim and Sam Petros as defendants.[3] Plaintiff's amended complaint asserts a single cause of action: copyright infringement. Plaintiff alleges that several of the drawings, plans and/or houses constructed by defendants were derived from the copyrighted works of plaintiff. Defendants have completely denied liability.

         II. Standard of Review

         Under Fed.R.Civ.P. 56, summary judgment is warranted if “the movant shows that there is no genuine dispute as to any material fact and that the movant is entitled to judgment as a matter of law.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(a). A dispute of fact is “genuine” if “the [record] evidence is such that a reasonable jury could return a verdict for the nonmoving party.” Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 248, 106 S.Ct.2505, 91 L.Ed.2d 202 (1986). As a result, “[c]onclusory allegations, conjecture and speculation . . . are insufficient to create a genuine issue of fact.” Kerzer v. Kingly Mfg., 156 F.3d 396, 400 (2d Cir. 1998) (citation omitted); see also Fed. R. Civ. P. 56 (e)(2). As the Supreme Court has explained, “[the non-moving party] must do more than simply show that there is metaphysical doubt as to the material facts.” Matsushita Elec., Indus. Co., Ltd. v. Zenith Radio Corp., 475 U.S. 574, 585-86, 106 S.Ct. 1348, 89 L.Ed.2d 538 (1986). As for the materiality requirement, a dispute of fact is “material” if it “might affect the outcome of the suit under the governing law.” Anderson, 477 U.S. at 248. “Factual disputes that are irrelevant or unnecessary will not be counted.” Id.

         In determining whether genuine issues of material fact exist, the court must resolve all ambiguities and draw all reasonable inferences against the moving party. Anderson, 477 U.S. at 255. In addition, “[the moving party] bears the initial responsibility of informing the district court of the basis for its motion, and identifying those portions of the [record] which it believes demonstrate the absence of any genuine issue of material fact.” Celotex v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 323-24, 106 S.Ct. 2548, 91 L.Ed.2d 265 (1986); see also Fed. R. Civ. P. 56(c), (e). However, when the moving party has met this initial burden of establishing the absence of any genuine issue of material fact, the nonmoving party must come forward with specific facts showing a genuine dispute of material fact for trial. Fed R. Civ. P. 56(c), (e).

         III. Arguments Presented

         In this second motion for partial summary judgment, [4] plaintiff seeks to restrict defendants' ability to offer evidence to offset plaintiff's prima facie damage proof. Plaintiff argues that it has produced evidence of defendant's gross profits from the sale of homes using the allegedly infringing design plans. It contends that defendants have failed to produce sufficient evidence to permit them to deduct overhead expenses from the profits on these homes.

         Defendants argue in opposition[5] that plaintiff is not entitled to summary judgment on this issue. Defendants contend that they have produced evidence establishing that they incurred overhead expenses in constructing the homes at issue and which are able to be allocated to those home construction projects using accounting records created in the ordinary course of business. They argue that they are not required to prepare a detailed analysis of this evidence for plaintiff's benefit. They also point out that plaintiff chose not to depose defendants' accountant, a person with knowledge of how Petros Homes allocates its costs and expenses. Defendants maintain that the disputes over how these expenses are allocated are questions that must be decided by a jury.

         Plaintiff's reply memorandum cites several cases involving infringing defendants who were not permitted to deduct their overhead expenses because they did not produce evidence tying said expenses directly to the infringing items from which they profited. Plaintiff repeats its argument that defendants have failed to produce evidence that would permit the allocation of overhead to the home projects at issue. Plaintiff further contends that it is irrelevant that it chose not to depose defendants' accountant because defendants, not plaintiff, bear the burden of producing evidence related to overhead expenses.

         IV. Law ...


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.