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February 2014: Summary Judgment Victory in Los Angeles Superior Court

February 2014

Quinn Emanuel recently obtained a victory for one of its clients in Los Angeles Superior Court: defeating a $25 million claim on summary judgment, winning affirmative summary judgment of liability on the client’s trademark infringement cross-complaint, and at the subsequent damages trial in November 2013, winning an award of all damages sought, plus costs and attorneys’ fees on the client’s behalf.

The plaintiff, a disgruntled former high-level sales representative for the client’s various lines of luxury skincare and cosmetic products, had asserted causes of action for breach of contract, fraud, defamation, intentional infliction of emotional distress, breach of fiduciary duty, and tortious interference arising from the client’s termination of her member sales agreement in 2009. She sought over $25 million in damages, injunctive relief, an accounting of profits, and a restraining order. By the time Quinn Emanuel took over from prior counsel in late 2012, the plaintiff’s claims had already been pending in federal and state courts in California for over two years and attempts to dismiss the case had failed. Quinn Emanuel’s team secured key admissions from the plaintiff regarding actions that constituted violations of the terms and conditions of the contract she alleged had been breached by the firm’s client, in addition to numerous instances of her own trademark infringement.

In July 2013, with the necessary facts and evidence in hand, the firm moved for summary judgment on the client’s behalf. Quinn Emanuel argued that the plaintiff’s admitted violations of her agreement as a result of her own trademark infringement barred her recovery on the contract she alleged had been breached, and rendered her affirmatively liable for trademark infringement and false designation of origin under the Lanham Act. In October 2013, the Court issued a decision granting the summary judgment motion in full, dismissing plaintiff’s claims and granting summary judgment on liability on the cross-complaint.

The issue of damages on the client’s cross-complaint was tried to the Court in November 2013. On January 7, 2014, the Los Angeles Superior Court issued its tentative judgment, siding with Quinn Emanuel’s client on every issue and awarding 100% of the damages sought. Based on a finding of willful infringement, the Court also awarded attorneys’ fees and costs.