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Hyundai Construction Equipment U.S.A., Inc. v. Chris Johnson Equipment

October 21, 2008

HYUNDAI CONSTRUCTION EQUIPMENT U.S.A., INC., AN ILLINOIS CORPORATION, PLAINTIFF,
v.
CHRIS JOHNSON EQUIPMENT, INC., A MICHIGAN CORPORATION, DEFENDANT.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Hon. Harry D. Leinenweber

MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER

Before the Court is a Request for Relief and Entry of Judgment filed by Plaintiff Hyundai Construction Equipment U.S.A., Inc. (hereinafter, "Hyundai"). For the reasons given below, this Court grants in part and denies in part Hyundai's Request.

I. BACKGROUND

In a Memorandum Opinion and Order dated September 10, 2008 (hereinafter, "the Opinion"), this Court granted Hyundai's Motion for Summary Judgment in favor of Count I (unfair competition, Section 43(a) of the Lanham Act (15 U.S.C. § 1125(a)) and Count V (violation of the Illinois Uniform Deceptive Trade Practices Act (hereinafter, "IUDTPA") (815 ILCS § 510/1, et seq.)) of its Complaint. This Court determined that the record in this case conclusively establishes that Defendant Chris Johnson Equipment, Inc. (hereinafter, "Johnson") imported 23 Hyundai wheel loaders and excavators and unlawfully sold these machines in the gray market. This Court specifically determined that this case is not "exceptional" within the meaning of 15 U.S.C. § 1117 because of both the lack of evidence of actual consumer confusion and Johnson's efforts to inform its customers about the nature of the products that it was selling.

Hyundai now seeks relief and judgment against Johnson on both Counts. Hyundai requests the following relief:

(1) monetary damages, under 15 U.S.C. § 1117(a) and (b) and 815 ILCS § 505/10(a), in the amount of $3,041.374.80 (triple Johnson's profits on the sale of the 23 machines);

(2) permanent injunctive relief, under 15 U.S.C. § 1116(a), § 1118, and 815 ILCS § 510/3: (a) restraining and enjoining Johnson from importing, selling, marketing, and purchasing from other than an authorized Hyundai dealer, new, brand new, unused, zero hours, or slightly used Hyundai heavy construction equipment; (b) ordering Johnson to file with this Court and serve upon Hyundai within 30 days after this order, a report, in writing and under oath, detailing the manner and form in which Johnson has complied with the permanent injunction; and (c) requiring Johnson to deliver to Hyundai (or allow Hyundai to pick up), or requiring the destruction of, any and all Hyundai gray market machines in Johnson's possession, custody, and control;

(3) Hyundai's costs, under 15 U.S.C. § 1117(a), 28 U.S.C. § 1920, FED. R. CIV. PROC. § 54(d), and 815 ILCS § 510/3, in the amount of $6,657.30, which includes filing and service fees, court reporter fees, and copying charges; and

(4) Hyundai's attorney's fees, under 15 U.S.C. § 1117(a) and 815 ILCS § 510/3, in the amount of $393,099.

Pl's Request at 2-3.

In response, Johnson contends that an order granting monetary damages, costs, or attorney's fees would be inappropriate based on the facts of this case and the statutes at issue. Johnson does not object to the proposed permanent injunctive relief in Paragraphs 2(a) and 2(c) of the Request, but it argues that the relief sought in Paragraph 2(b) is inappropriate and unduly burdensome.

II. DISCUSSION

The Lanham Act confers upon this Court broad discretion to order a wide range of legal and equitable remedies.

[T]he plaintiff shall be entitled, . . . subject to the principles of equity, to recover (1) defendant's profits, (2) any damages sustained by plaintiff, and (3) the costs of the action. The court shall assess such profits and damages or cause same to be assessed under its direction. In assessing profits the plaintiff shall be required to prove defendant's sales only; defendant must prove all elements of cost or deduction claimed. In assessing damages the court may enter judgment, according to the circumstances of the case, for any sum above the amount found as actual damages, not exceeding three times such amount. If the court shall find that the amount of the recovery based on profits is either inadequate or excessive the court may in its discretion enter judgment for such sum as the court shall find to be just, according to the ...


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