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Rolwes Co. v. Barnes

United States District Court, E.D. Missouri, Eastern Division

July 25, 2014

ROLWES COMPANY, Plaintiff,
v.
LARRY G. BARNES, et al., Defendants.

MEMORANDUM AND ORDER

JOHN A. ROSS, District Judge.

This matter is before the Court on Plaintiff's Motion for Preliminary Injunction. This matter is fully briefed and ready for disposition.

STANDARD FOR PRELIMINARY INJUNCTION

Whether the Court should issue a motion for preliminary injunction is governed by Fed.R.Civ.P. 65(a).[1] "In determining whether a preliminary injunction should be issued, a district court must take into account the threat of irreparable harm to the movant, the balance between this harm and the harm to the other party if the injunction is granted, the probability of movant's success on the merits, and the public interest." Bank One, Utah v. Guttau , 190 F.3d 844, 847 (8th Cir. 1999)(citing Dataphase Systems, Inc. v. C.L. Systems, Inc. , 640 F.2d 109, 113 (8th Cir.1981) (en banc)). The burden of establishing the propriety of a preliminary injunction is on the movant. Baker Elec. Coop., Inc. v. Chaske , 28 F.3d 1466, 1472 (8th Cir.1994); Modern Computer Sys., Inc., v. Modern Banking Sys., Inc., 871 F.2d 734, 737 (8th Cir.1989) ( en banc ); Interbake Foods, L.L.C. v. Tomasiello , 461 F.Supp.2d 943, 955 (N.D. Iowa 2006). "No single [Dataphase] factor in itself is dispositive; in each case all of the factors must be considered to determine whether on balance they weigh towards granting the injunction.'" Baker Elec. Co-op., 28 F.3d at 1472 (quoting Calvin Klein Cosmetics Corp. v. Lenox Labs., Inc. , 815 F.2d 500, 503 (8th Cir.1987) (citing Dataphase , 640 F.2d at 114)). "However, a party moving for a preliminary injunction is required to show the threat of irreparable harm." Baker Elec. Co-op., 28 F.3d at 1472 (citing Modern Computer Sys. , 871 F.2d at 737; Dataphase , 640 F.2d at 114).

BACKGROUND

Plaintiff, a homebuilder, filed a Complaint in this case alleging that Defendants wrongfully copied its Rockport design, registered with the United States Copyright Office, Registration No. VA0001833470, for a three bedroom, single family residence. (Complaint, ¶¶25, 28-42). Plaintiff has presented evidence that Defendants submitted photocopied Rockport plans, with Plaintiff's name and copyright notice removed, to the City of Arnold, Missouri and to unincorporated Jefferson County, Missouri, in connection with permit applications. (Complaint, ¶42). Similarly, there is evidence that Defendants submitted the Rockport plans, in redrawn, handwritten form, with Plaintiff's name and copyright notice removed, to the City of Herculaneum, Missouri, in connection with permit applications. (Id.) Plaintiff claims that Defendants are building or have built at least ten homes in the St. Louis metropolitan area that infringe upon its copyright in the Rockport design. (ECF No. 5 at 3).

The Court heard oral argument on Plaintiff's Temporary Restraining Order ("TRO") on June 10, 2014, and entered a TRO on June 13, 2014 (ECF No. 22). The TRO provided that Defendants were restrained from marketing for sale, contracting to sell, or constructing any three bedroom, one story, two bath house with a design that would infringe on Plaintiff's copyrighted "Rockport" architectural work previously registered pursuant to Copyright Registration No. VA-1-833-470 (ECF No. 1-2), including but not limited to a house with all of the following features:

- Two ancillary bedrooms at the front of the house;
- A master bedroom in the rear of the house on the same side of the house as the ancillary bedrooms;
- The ancillary bedrooms and the master bedrooms are not connected by a common hallway; and
- The master bedroom is accessed from a separate entry way off of the great room towards the back of the house.

The Court, however, allowed Defendants to complete construction and closing on the sale of the houses at the following addresses: 120 Pistis, Arnold, Missouri; 1024 Stonewick, Court, Arnold, Missouri; 1015 Stonewick Court, Arnold, Missouri; and 1317 Durham Drive, Herculaneum, Missouri. Plaintiff has posted a $75, 000.00 bond.

On Tuesday, July 15, 2014, the Court held a preliminary injunction hearing, which included the testimony of witnesses. Thereafter, the parties submitted their proposed findings of ...


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