United States District Court, D. Oregon
SEAWATER SEAFOODS COMPANY, an Oregon corporation, BRET HAMRICK, an individual, and FRONT ST. MARINE LLC, an Oregon limited liability company, Plaintiffs,
FRANK DULCICH, an individual, PACIFIC SEAFOOD GROUP dba PACIFIC SHRIMP COMPANY, DULCICH REALTY ACQUISITION, LLC, an Oregon limited liability company, PACIFIC HOOKER, LLC, an Oregon limited liability company, and PACIFIC FISHING LLC, an Oregon limited liability company, Defendants.
OPINION AND ORDER
Michael J. McShane United States District Judge
Seawater Seafoods Company, Bret Hamrick, and Front St. Marine
LLC bring this antitrust and tort action against Pacific
Seafood Group, Frank Dulcich, Dulcich Realty Acquisition,
Pacific Hooker, LCC, and Pacific Fishing LLC. On November 20,
2017, Defendants moved for summary judgment on
Plaintiffs' antitrust claims. In response, and to avoid
summary judgment, Plaintiffs moved for leave to file an
amended complaint, removing their state law claims and
substituting a new theory of antitrust liability. Both
motions are now before the Court. Because the relief sought
by Plaintiffs in their operative Complaint is barred by the
Anti-Injunction Act, and granting them leave to remedy this
deficiency would prejudice Defendants and cause undue delay,
Plaintiffs' action is DISMISSED with prejudice.
present dispute arises from the alleged conduct of Pacific
Seafood Group, Frank Dulcich, Dulcich Realty Acquisition,
Pacific Hooker, LCC, and Pacific Fishing LLC (collectively,
“Pacific Seafood” or “Defendants”) on
their Yaquina Bay property and its interference with the
ability of Seawater Seafoods Company, Bret Hamrick, and Front
St. Marine LLC (collectively, “Seawater” or
“Plaintiffs”) to successfully operate a seafood
processing business on neighboring land. As the parties are
familiar with the facts, and only a limited subset is
relevant to the pending motions, the Court omits significant
Seafoods Company is a live crab processor owned by Bret
Hamrick. Compl. ¶ 4. In 2014, Seawater Seafoods Company
leased waterfront property from Front St. Marine LLC in
Newport, Oregon. Snider Decl. Ex. C at 11 (Webster Depo.
141:9-22). That property, comprised of two noncontiguous
parcels, houses dock space running along Yaquina Bay. Snider
Decl. Ex. A at 2 (Wright Decl. ¶ 3). Seawater Seafoods
Company leased the property in hopes of transferring its
unloading operations from the Newport public docks to the
private dock space bordering the two strips of land. Compl.
¶¶ 28, 45.
Seafood Group is a combination of entities, including Pacific
Shrimp Company, owned by Frank Dulcich. Compl. ¶¶
7-9. These entities process coldwater shrimp, trawl-caught
groundfish, Pacific whiting, and Dungeness crab, among other
seafoods. Snider Decl. Ex. A at 1 (Wright Decl. ¶ 2).
Pacific Seafood Group, through Pacific Shrimp Company, leases
property from Dulcich Realty Acquisition along Yaquina
Compl. ¶ 9. As relevant here, Defendants' parcels
border those owned and occupied by Plaintiffs. Snider Decl.
Ex. A at 1 (Wright Decl. ¶ 2). The ownership and
dimensions of the parcels is as follows:
Tax Lot 2000
Tax Lot 1900
Tax Lot 1800
Tax Lots 1700, 1400, and 1401
Snider Decl. Ex. A at 1 (Wright Decl. ¶ 7).
parcels are, individually, too small to accommodate the
mooring of most commercial fishing vessels. Snider Decl. Ex.
A at 5 (Wright Decl. ¶ 10). As a result, to make
deliveries, many boats visiting Plaintiffs' docks must
overhang into the waterway just in front of Defendants'
property, thereby obstructing a portion of Defendants'
dock space. Snider Decl. Ex. E at 14 (Hamrick Depo.
173:7-11). Shortly after Plaintiffs began accepting
deliveries at their new docks, Defendants objected to this
practice. Snider Decl. Ex. A at 7 (Wright Decl. ¶ 14).
Plaintiffs allege that, to retaliate for these intrusions
and, more generally, the additional competition from
Plaintiffs, Pacific Seafood engaged in a course of
anticompetitive and tortious conduct throughout the 2014-15
and 2015-16 Dungeness crab seasons. Compl. ¶ 32.
alleged conduct includes “placing a large dumpster . .
. full of dead crab” next to Tax Lot 1800, regularly
leaving doors open to allow entry of vermin into the
parties' shared processing space, allowing ammonia gas to
leak out of Defendants' refrigeration system and onto
Plaintiffs' property, and installing a water-facing
surveillance camera intended to intimidate fisherman. Compl.
¶¶ 33-39. Plaintiffs further allege that, without
any legitimate business purpose, Defendants frequently boxed
in Plaintiffs' Tax Lot 1800-making it difficult to
overhang boats into the waterway in front of Defendants'
docks-by mooring vessels near the edge of Tax Lots 1900 and
1700. Compl. ¶¶ 33-34. Finally, Plaintiffs allege
that Defendants placed an unloading hoist on Tax Lot 1700,
near the shared property line with Tax Lot 1800, for the sole
purpose of congesting the waterway in front of
Defendants' property and making it difficult for
Plaintiffs to receive deliveries. Compl. ¶¶ 46-49.
October 27, 2015, Plaintiffs filed suit in Lincoln County
Circuit Court. Daniels Decl. Ex. 1. At issue in that action
was whether, under Oregon's public trust doctrine,
Seawater had a right to protrude into Pacific Seafood's
waterway. Daniels Decl. Ex. 1 at 9-17 (State Complaint
¶¶ 25-29). When the state court declined
Plaintiffs' request for a temporary restraining order
(“TRO”) and a brief armistice between the parties
fell apart, Seawater voluntarily dismissed its state action.
Daniels Decl. Ex. 7. Defendants, however, proceeded to file
their own state action, seeking the inverse declaration,
namely that Pacific Seafood's property rights were
superior and that Seawater had no right to overhang vessels
or otherwise interfere with the dock operations of Pacific
Seafood. Daniels Decl. Ex. 11 at 5-7 (Defendants' State
Complaint ¶¶ 16-19).
30, 2017, after more than a year of litigation, the state
court entered summary judgment in favor of Pacific Seafoods.
Snider Decl. Ex. H at 2-5 (Tr. 83:9-84:4, 85:17-86:1). As
part of that disposition, the state court awarded Pacific
Seafood declaratory and injunctive relief in a separately
issued judgment (“State Court Judgment”), which
includes the following provisions:
(a) [Pacific Seafood], as riparian owners or lessees, have a
right of access to the water in front of the Pacific Seafood
Tax Lots (tax lots 1400, 1401, 1700, and 1900);
(b) [Pacific Seafood's] right of access to the water in
front of the Pacific Seafood Tax Lots is superior to the
rights of Seawater or Front St. Marine, who engage in a
neighboring private enterprise;
(c) [Pacific Seafood's] rights are violated by any
obstruction in front of the Pacific Seafood Tax Lots placed
by Seawater or Front St. Marine (including any vessels moored
to the Seawater Tax Lots (tax lots 1800 and 2000) at Seawater
or Front St. Marine's direction behest, or consent),
including vessels which are moored at the Seawater Tax Lots
but which overhang in front of the Pacific Seafood Tax Lots;
(d) Front St. Marine and Seawater have no right to interfere
with Plaintiffs' mooring of vessels in front of the