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Cox v. Morris

United States District Court, N.D. Mississippi, Greenville Division

April 15, 2019

JAMES B. COX d/b/a JC Designs d/b/a Wire N Rings PLAINTIFF
v.
JAMES MORRIS, et al. DEFENDANTS

          ORDER

          DEBRA M. BROWN UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.

         This intellectual property case is before the Court on Ronaldo Designer Jewelry, Inc.'s motion to intervene, Doc. #38, and its motion to file an amicus brief, Doc. #42.

         I Procedural History

         On January 31, 2017, Ronaldo Designer Jewelry, Inc. commenced an action in the United States District Court for the Northern District of Mississippi against James B. Cox and Catherine A. Cox d/b/a JC Designs d/b/a Wire N Rings, John Doe a/k/a Leroy, and John Does Numbers 1 through 99. Ronaldo Designer Jewelry, Inc. v. Cox, et al., No. 1:17-cv-2-DMB-DAS, at Doc. #1 (N.D. Miss.) (“Ronaldo”). Ronaldo filed a second amended complaint against the same defendants on April 28, 2017. Id. at Doc. #82. Ronaldo's second amended complaint asserts copyright and trade dress infringement claims against the Coxes based on the Coxes' sale of certain wire bracelets. Id. Ronaldo is still pending and is currently set for trial on July 29, 2019. Id. at Doc. #117.

         On February 7, 2018, James B. Cox d/b/a JC Designs d/b/a Wire N Rings filed this action in the United States District Court for the Northern District of Mississippi against James Morris and James Noland d/b/a We Make It Jewelry, and Brandon Hackett d/b/a Hackett's Handcrafted Jewelry.[1] Doc. #1. Of relevance here, Cox's complaint asserts claims for copyright and trade dress infringement based on the defendants' sale of wire bracelets and necklace charms. Id. at ¶¶ 81-114. Cox's claims are premised, in part, on a trademark held by Cox for his “THE FAMILY BRACELET.” Id. at ¶ 22. On December 17, 2018, Cox filed a motion for summary judgment on his claims against Morris. Doc. #35. Morris did not respond.

         Also on December 17, 2018, Ronaldo filed a motion to intervene in this case or, in the alternative, to delay trial in this case until Ronaldo concludes. Doc. #33.[2] Ronaldo's proposed intervenor complaint asserts claims for trade dress infringement and unfair competition against Cox, and seeks a declaratory judgment that Ronaldo has superior rights to the trade dress at issue and that Cox's trademark is generic and must be canceled. Doc. #38-1. Approximately two weeks later, on January 3, 2019, Ronaldo moved for leave to file an amicus brief in response to Cox's motion for summary judgment against Morris. Doc. #42. On March 19, 2019, after full briefing on both the motion to intervene and the motion for leave, [3] this case was reassigned from United States District Judge Michael P. Mills to the undersigned district judge. Doc. #47. Before reassignment, trial in this case was set for July 22, 2019, before Judge Mills. Doc. #24. Following reassignment, trial has not yet been reset before the undersigned district judge.

         II Motion to Intervene or Stay

         Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 24 authorizes two types of intervention-intervention as of right under Rule 24(a), and permissive intervention under Rule 24(b). These rules provide in relevant part:

(a) Intervention of Right. On timely motion, the court must permit anyone to intervene who:
(1) is given an unconditional right to intervene by a federal statute; or
(2) claims an interest relating to the property or transaction that is the subject of the action, and is so situated that disposing of the action may as a practical matter impair or impede the movant's ability to protect its interest, unless existing parties adequately represent that interest.
(b) Permissive Intervention.
(1) In General. On timely motion, the court may permit anyone to intervene who:
(A) is given a conditional right to intervene by a federal statute; or
(B) has a claim or defense that shares with the main action a common question of law or fact. …
(3) Delay or Prejudice. In exercising its discretion, the court must consider whether the intervention will unduly delay or prejudice the adjudication of the original parties' rights.

         “Courts are to take all well-pleaded, nonconclusory allegations in the motion to intervene, the proposed complaint or answer in intervention, and declarations supporting the motion as true absent sham, frivolity or other objections.” Sw. ...


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