United States District Court, N.D. Illinois, Eastern Division
MEMORANDUM OPINION and PRELIMINARY INJUNCTION ORDER
YOUNG B. KIM, Magistrate Judge.
Plaintiff Jeffrey Stahler, on behalf of himself and the opt-in plaintiffs Jack A. Lawson and Timothy Bolton, submitted an Ex Parte Motion for Temporary Restraining Order ("Ex Parte Motion") and an Emergency Ex Parte Motion for Substitution of Parties, Entry of an Order of Contempt, Temporary Restraining Order ("TRO"), Entry of an Asset Restraining Order, and Expedited Discovery Order ("Ex Parte Motion for Substitution"), against Defendants Antenna Systems, Inc., Antenna Factory, Inc., Antenna Systems & Solutions, Inc., and Michael Tadros ("Mr. Tadros"), and against Joyce Tadros ("Mrs. Tadros") and Spectrawave Communications, Inc. ("Spectrawave") (collectively, "Respondents").
Having considered the court's judgment, Ex Parte Motion, including the affidavits of Jezieel Cortes, Jeffrey Grant Brown, and Carol Coplan Babbitt, the exhibits attached thereto, Ex Parte Motion for Substitution, including the exhibits attached thereto, and representations of Plaintiff and Respondents during in-court hearings, this court now confirms the conversion of the TRO to a Preliminary Injunction:
On April 8, 2015, the court granted Plaintiff's Ex Parte Motion and entered a TRO. Under 28 U.S.C. § 1292(a)(1), a temporary restraining order "is deemed a preliminary injunction and so is appealable" if kept in force for more than 20 days without the parties' consent. Chi. United Indus., Ltd. v. City of Chi., 445 F.3d 940, 943 (7th Cir. 2006). Respondents did not consent to the continued enforcement of the TRO. Therefore, the TRO converted to a preliminary injunction on April 29, 2015.
On May 20, 2015, Mr. Tadros advised the court by telephone that both he and his wife, Mrs. Tadros, had filed for bankruptcy in South Carolina, along with their company, Spectrawave. Mr. Tadros represented that he would mail the court a copy of the bankruptcy petition. As of the date of this Order, the court has not received the petition by mail. On May 21, 2015, however, Plaintiff filed a Notification of Bankruptcy Filing with the court, confirming that Mr. Tadros, Mrs. Tadros, and Spectrawave Communication Systems, Inc. filed a Chapter 7 bankruptcy petition in South Carolina. (R. 120, Notification of Bankruptcy Filing.) The court understands that such a petition may trigger an automatic stay of this court's post-judgment proceedings against certain Respondents pursuant to 11 U.S.C. § 362(a). This court respects and is not seeking to circumvent such a stay. Because this court entered the TRO against Respondents on April 8, 2015, the TRO was deemed a preliminary injunction as of April 29, 2015-well before the bankruptcy petition. Therefore, for the following reasons, the court confirms the entry of the Preliminary Injunction as to Respondents:
Respondents have not introduced, or indicated any intention to introduce, evidence to controvert the material facts set forth by Plaintiff in his Ex Parte Motions. Therefore, the court accepts the recitation of facts set forth by Plaintiff solely for purposes of the Preliminary Injunction Order. (E.g., R. 98, Ex Parte Motion for Substitution of Parties at 4-12.) In short, the parties executed a Settlement Agreement on May 20, 2014-and, for Defendant George Tadros, on June 15, 2014. (Id. at 3.) The Settlement Agreement included a provision for the entry of a Consent Judgment in the event of default. (Id. at 4.) Defendants defaulted on their first payment. (Id.) Consequently, Plaintiff sought Judgment against Defendants, which the court entered on July 8, 2014, in the amount of $125, 000. (R. 77, Judgment.)
Since entry of the judgment, Plaintiff has sought to enforce the judgment. (R. 98, Ex Parte Motion for Substitution of Parties at 4.) After Defendants' default, Plaintiff retained a private investigator and discovered that Defendants had ceased their operation and the individual Defendants had left town. (Id.) Plaintiff subsequently discovered facts showing that Defendants had relocated to South Carolina but were continuing the same business under a new corporate entity, Spectrawave Communications, Inc. (Id. at 5.) Indeed, Plaintiff secured an affidavit from Defendants' former employee Jezieel "Jesse" Cortes, lead salesperson and technical engineer for Defendants from 2009 through mid-2014, attesting that:
Spectrawave was "an exact replica" of the Defendant corporations, (id. at Ex. 5 ¶ 6(a));
Spectrawave "performed the same services, sold the same products and was owned and managed by the same people" as the Defendant corporations, (id.);
Mr. Tadros "changed the name and formulated a new corporation solely to escape legal obligations, including a judgment in this lawsuit in Illinois, " (id.);
"In or about February of 2014, Mr. Tadros announced that he wanted to move out of the state of Illinois to [expletive] everyone' involved in this (above-captioned) lawsuit" and that he "wanted to drag the proceedings out' as long as he could to avoid payment" in this case, (id. at Ex. 5 ¶ 6(b));
"[T]he Tadros family (including George, Michael and Joyce) started running the same invoices through Spectrawave instead of Antenna Systems or the [other Defendant corporations], and, instead funneled all revenue into Spectrawave, the South Carolina entity, " (id. at Ex. 5 ¶ 6(e));
"The Tadros's [sic] began physically moving all inventory and office supplies on hand with the [Defendant corporations] in Schaumburg[, Illinois] to South Carolina, via trucks and trailers, " (id. at Ex. 5 ¶ 6(f)); and
"George [Tadros] showed me the warehouse [in South Carolina] that the Tadros's [sic] eventually opened, and that contained all of the same products they had in inventory in Schaumburg, and that they intended to use in the new' business, which really was just a continuation of ...