Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

Payton v. Defend, Inc.

United States District Court, D. Hawaii

October 17, 2017

KEONI PAYTON, Plaintiff,
v.
DEFEND, INC., and MICHAEL BUNTENBAH aka MIKE MALONE, Defendants.

          ORDER GRANTING IN PART AND DENYING IN PART MOTION FOR SANCTIONS AND DENYING MOTION FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT BASED ON ALLEGED LACK OF DAMAGES

          Susan Oki Mollway, United States District Judge.

         I. INTRODUCTION.

         This case involves alleged copyright infringement. On June 1, 2017, Magistrate Judge Kevin S.C. Chang determined that Plaintiff Keoni Payton's answers to discovery were insufficient and that he had failed to attend his scheduled deposition. Magistrate Judge Change ordered Payton to appear for a deposition in Hilo, Hawaii, within 30 days, with Payton being responsible for paying the court reporter's fees. Payton was ordered to supplement his discovery responses no later than one week prior to his deposition. See ECF No. 81.

         When Payton did not supplement his discovery responses, Defendants Defend, Inc., and Michael Buntenbah cancelled the deposition and filed the present motion for sanctions. Defendants also move for summary judgment, arguing that Payton cannot prove damages. The court grants the motion for sanctions in part and denies it in part. The court denies the motion for summary judgment.

         II. BACKGROUND.

         On June 24, 2015, Payton filed the Complaint in this matter. See ECF No. 1. It asserts claims of direct copyright infringement (Count I), contributory infringement (Count II), and vicarious copyright infringement (Count III).

         The Complaint alleges that Payton designed and owns an image containing a drawing of an AR-15 rifle, along with the words “Defend” and “Hawaii”:

         (Image Omitted)

         See ECF No. 1, ¶¶ 10-11.

         Payton alleges that he designed and displayed the image during or before 2005. Id. ¶ 12. In December 2014, Payton registered the image with the Copyright Office, Registration Number VA 1-934-173. ECF No. 1-1 (copy of copyright registration).

         The Complaint alleges that Averi Sauders conveyed the image to Defend, Inc., and Buntenbah even though she had no authority to do so. See Complaint ¶¶ 15-16. Payton concedes that Saunders was his “prior business and romantic partner.” See Plaintiff Keoni Payton's Responses to Defendant Defend, Inc., and Michael Butenbah aka Mike Malone's First Request For Answers to Interrogatories to Plaintiff No. 8, ECF No. 85-6, PageID # 473.

         On April 12, 2016, Defendants sent Payton a request for answers to interrogatories and a request for production of documents. See Declaration of Counsel ¶ 3, ECF No. 85-2. On May 24, 2016, Payton produced 285 pages of documents responsive to the document production request. Id. ¶ 4. On May 31, 2016, Payton answered the interrogatories. Id. ¶ 5.

         On June 1, 2017, Magistrate Judge Chang held a hearing on Defendants' motion to extend the deadline to file dispositive motions based on Payton's insufficient discovery responses and Payton's failure to attend his scheduled deposition. See ECF No. 81. The district judge has a recording of that hearing. Magistrate Judge Chang determined that Payton's responses were incomplete and inadequate. Magistrate Judge Chang therefore continued the trial date and dispositive motions deadline, and ordered Payton to appear for a deposition in Hilo, Hawaii, on a mutually agreeable date in no more 30 days. Magistrate Judge Chang also required (1) that Payton pay for the appearance of the court reporter for the previous deposition that he had failed to appear at and for the upcoming deposition, and (2) that Payton supplement his previous discovery responses at least one week before the deposition. Payton was warned that, if he failed to appear at the upcoming deposition, sanctions might be imposed, which might include costs, fees, and dismissal of the action with prejudice.

         The parties agreed that Payton's deposition would occur on June 30, 2017, meaning that Payton's supplemental discovery responses were due on June 23, 2017. See Decl. of Counsel ¶ 20, ECF No. 85-2. When Payton failed to supplement his discovery responses, Defendants cancelled the scheduled deposition. Id. ¶ 22.

         III. THE MOTION FOR SANCTIONS IS GRANTED IN PART.

         Pursuant to Rule 37(d)(1)(A) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, Defendants seek sanctions for Payton's failure to supplement his discovery responses as ordered by Magistrate Judge Chang as well as for his failure to timely comply with other discovery obligations. Specifically, Defendants seek dismissal of this action with prejudice, as well as ...


Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.