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Voltage Pictures, LLC v. Harwood

United States District Court, D. Oregon

May 8, 2014

VOLTAGE PICTURES, LLC, and MAXCON PRODUCTIONS, INC., Plaintiffs,
v.
HUNTER HARWOOD, Defendant.

Carl D. Crowell, Crowell Law, Salem, OR, Attorney for Plaintiff.

David H. Madden, Mersenne Law LLP, Tigard, Oregon, Attorney for Defendant.

OPINION AND ORDER

ANN AIKEN, District Judge.

On January 9, 2014, defendant Hunter Harwood moved for partial summary judgment (doc. 36) and plaintiffs, Voltage Pictures LLC (Voltage) and Maxcon Productions Inc. (Maxcon) moved to dismiss for failure to state a claim (doc. 37). On January 16, 2014, plaintiffs also moved to strike defendant's First Motion for Partial Summary Judgment (doc. 41). For the reasons set forth below, defendant's motion (doc. 36) is denied, plaintiffs' motion (doc. 37) is granted in part and denied in part, and plaintiffs' motion (doc. 41) is denied.

BACKGROUND

Plaintiff Voltage Pictures is a movie distribution company and plaintiff Maxcon is a California corporation that owns, or at one time owned, the copyright to Maximum Conviction, the movie that is the subject of this case. Defendant Hunter Harwood became involved in the suit when plaintiffs filed the First Amended Complaint (doc. 14) on August 20, 2013, naming him as the defendant. On December 06, 2013, plaintiffs filed the Second Amended Complaint (doc. 30), which is the operative complaint.

In the Second Amended Complaint, plaintiffs allege that defendant copied and published the motion picture, Maximum Conviction, via a BitTorrent client. Accordingly, plaintiffs allege defendant willfully infringed plaintiffs' exclusive rights under the Copyright Act. Defendant denies doing this and alleges that plaintiffs cannot prevail because they do not own the exclusive rights they claim to have. Defendant argues that there are no disputed issues of material fact and that he is, therefore, entitled to summary judgment.

Defendant also made two counterclaims. First, defendant alleges that plaintiffs engaged in a variety of unethical or illegal practices in connection with this and previous lawsuits, particularly, that plaintiffs' subpoena issuance was improper. Consequently, defendant argues he is entitled to relief and compensation under Fed.R.Civ.P. 11, 28 U.S.C. ยง 1927, and this court's equitable power. Second, defendant alleges a counterclaim for declaratory judgment of non-infringement.

Plaintiffs moved to dismiss for failure to state a claim and moved to strike portions of defendant's counterclaims on the grounds that the allegations lack sufficient particularity, were made prematurely, are immaterial and impertinent, fail comply with the mandatory requirements of Fed.R.Civ.P. 11, and were made only to harass and burden plaintiffs.

STANDARD OF REVIEW

Summary Judgment is appropriate "if the movant shows that there is no genuine dispute as to any material fact and the movant is entitled to judgment as a matter of law." Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(a). Whether or not a fact is material is determined by the substantive law on the issue. T.W. Elec. Serv., Inc. v. P. Elec. Contractors Ass'n , 809 F.2d 626, 630 (9th Cir. 1987). There is a genuine dispute if the evidence is such that a reasonable jury would return a verdict for the nonmoving party. Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc. , 477 U.S. 242, 248 (1986) The moving party has the burden of establishing the absence of a genuine issue of material fact. Celotex Corp. V. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317 , 323 (1986)

Special rules of construction apply to evaluating summary judgment motions: (1) all reasonable doubts as to the existence of genuine issues of material facts should be resolved against the moving party; and (2) all inferences must be drawn in the light most favorable to the nonmoving party. T.W. Elec. , 809 F.2d at 630-31.

DISCUSSION

The only matters that are still at issue are whether either plaintiff has standing and capacity to sue and plaintiffs' motions to ...


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