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American Taxi Dispatch, Inc. v. American Metro Taxi & Limo Co.

October 20, 2008

AMERICAN TAXI DISPATCH, INC., PLAINTIFF,
v.
AMERICAN METRO TAXI & LIMO CO., DAVID ZAYA, MORIS ZAYA, MIHAI POPESCU, ROMEO WARDA, FRANK THMUD, SEARG AKEBA, JAY ABHISHEK, ALI MARWIN, EDMON GABRLIA, DAVID EHEIN, NIKOLAY TANCHEU THAER SELAMAN, BEMGEN MECHO, GEORGE TANCHEU, YOUSEF KITANA, AND THAER AWAD, DEFENDANTS.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Honorable Amy J. St. Eve

MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER

Plaintiff American Taxi Dispatch, Inc. ("American Taxi") brought this action against American Metro Taxi & Limo Company ("Metro") and sixteen individual defendants, alleging federal trademark infringement, unfair competition under the Langham Act and common law, violation of Illinois' Uniform Deceptive Trade Practices Act, violation of Illinois' Consumer Fraud and Deceptive Business Practices Act, and unjust enrichment. Metro defaulted, and Plaintiff now moves for entry of a permanent injunction and an award of "legal fees and defendants' profits" against Metro. Given the nature of this motion, the Court treats it as a motion for entry of default judgment.

BACKGROUND

I. Plaintiff's Complaint

American Taxi is an Illinois corporation that provides taxi dispatch services to over 800 taxis in the Chicagoland area. (R. 111-1, Am. Compl. ¶¶ 1, 17.) American Taxi has used the service mark "American Taxi" since 1975, and it currently uses the mark on the company's letterhead, business cards, rate sheets, and coupons to identify its taxi dispatch services. (Id. ¶¶ 12, 13.) American Taxi owns two federal registrations: (1) No. 3,058,900 for the service mark "American Taxi"; and (2) No. 3,116,379 for the logo "American Taxi Dispatch Inc.," (collectively, the "American Taxi Marks"). (Id. ¶ 19-20.) The '379 logo is reproduced below:

(R. 111-8, Ex. B to Am. Compl. at 3.) American Taxi spent approximately $1,584,440 in advertising over the last five years, building name recognition and goodwill. (R. 111-1, Am. Compl. ¶ 16.)

Defendant Metro incorporated its taxi business in Illinois on February 2, 2007. (Id. ¶ 2.) At that time, Defendant David Zaya ("Zaya") was the sole shareholder, officer, and director of Metro. (Id. ¶ 3.) Around February 15, 2007, Metro began advertising and using "American Metro Taxi" at taxi and limousine kiosks and boards at Chicago's O'Hare International Airport. (Id. ¶ 29.) Metro's signs contained the word "Metro" to the far right of "American" and "Taxi," using type setting, fonts, and colors to obscure differences between "American Taxi" and "American Metro Taxi." (Id. ¶ 29.) Exhibit H to American Taxi's Amended Complaint shows a photograph of one of Metro's advertisements at O'Hare:

(R. 111-9, Ex. H to Am. Compl. at 2.) Individual Defendants Moris Zaya, Mihai Popescu, Romeo Warda, Frank Thud, Searg Ameba, Jay Abhishek, Ali Marwin, Edmon Gabrlia, David Ehein, Nikolai Tancheu, Thaer Seaman, Bergen Mecho, George Tancheau, Yousef Kitana, and Thaer Award (collectively, the "Driver Defendants") are taxicab and limousine drivers who received dispatch services from Metro. (Id. ¶ 5.) Plaintiff has yet to serve these Individual Defendants, and so they have not yet appeared in this case.

II. Procedural History

American Taxi filed its Complaint on May 9, 2007, (R. 1-1), and proceeded to serve the Defendants. Metro received its summons and Metro's counsel filed an appearance on May 25, 2007. (R. 5-1.) Metro moved to dismiss the original Complaint, and after the Court denied the Motion, Metro answered the original Complaint. (R. 10-1; R. 21-1.) Discovery commenced, and American Taxi moved the Court to enter a preliminary injunction, which the Court granted in part on December 10, 2007. (R. 49-1.) American Taxi also moved to compel discovery responses, and when Metro failed to comply with the Court's Order compelling Metro's responses, American Taxi moved for sanctions. (R. 41-1; R. 51-1.) Concurrently, counsel for Metro sought leave to withdraw, which the Court granted on December 17, 2007. (R. 47-1; 50-1.) Metro then failed to respond to the Motion for Sanctions, and the Court granted the motion, striking Defendant's Answer and entering a default judgment against Defendant. (R. 56-1.)

Shortly thereafter, Metro retained new counsel and moved to vacate the default judgment.

(R. 60-1.) The Court granted the motion, vacated the default judgment, and ordered Metro to comply with discovery and re-file its Answer by March 21, 2008. (R. 66-1.) American Taxi again filed a motion for sanctions. (R. 67-1.) On March 21, the Court ordered Defendant to file its response to Plaintiff's motion for permanent injunction and sanctions by March 28. (R. 70-1.) Defendant failed to file its response by March 28, and instead asked for an extension of time to file until April 11. (R. 75-1.) The Court reluctantly granted Defendant's motion for extension, noting that "Defendant is put on notice that the Court will not continue to accept his delayed filings. Defendant is expected to meet all court deadlines." (R. 80-1, 79-1.) On April 4, Defendant again asked the Court for an extension of time to respond to Plaintiff's motion. (R. 84-1.) The Court granted Defendant's motion for extension until April 18, noting that "[n]o further extensions will be granted." (R. 92-1.)

On April 17, counsel for Metro moved to withdraw and Metro again requested an extension of time to file its Response. (R. 100-1.) Metro then failed to respond by April 18, as ordered by the Court. American Taxi then amended its Complaint, (R. 111-1), and moved for default judgment against Metro. (R. 117-1.) The Court granted the motion as to Metro and allowed American Taxi time to submit prove-up materials, thus precipitating the instant request for a permanent injunction, damages, and attorneys' fees. After reviewing the instant motion, on October 1 the Court requested that American Taxi file a supplemental affidavit providing evidence of consumer confusion. (R. 132-1.)

American Taxi's motion seeks: (1) entry of default against Defendant David Zaya and default judgment against Metro; (2) a permanent injunction against Metro and Defendant David Zaya; (3) an ...


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