PK Studios, Inc. v. R.L.R. Investments, LLC et al, No. 2:2015cv00389 - Document 161 (M.D. Fla. 2017)

Court Description: OPINION AND ORDER overruling 145 Exceptions; denying 117 Motion for Leave to File Amended Answer and Affirmative Defenses; accepting and adopting 132 Report and Recommendations. Signed by Judge John E. Steele on 4/14/2017. (RKR)

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PK Studios, Inc. v. R.L.R. Investments, LLC et al Doc. 161 UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT MIDDLE DISTRICT OF FLORIDA FORT MYERS DIVISION PK STUDIOS, INC., Plaintiff, v. Case No: 2:15-cv-389-FtM-29CM R.L.R. INVESTMENTS, LLC, EAGLES LANDING VILLAS AT GOLDEN OCALA, LLC, GOLDEN OCALA GOLF & EQUESTRIAN CLUB MANAGMENT, LLC, STOCK DEVELOPMENT, LLC, and BRIAN STOCK, Defendants. OPINION AND ORDER This matter is before the Court on consideration of the Magistrate Judge’s Report and Recommendation (Doc. #132), filed February 7, 2017, recommending that Crossclaim-defendants Stock Development, LLC and Brian Stock's (the Stock defendants) Motion for Leave to File Amended Answer and Affirmative Defenses (Doc. #117) be denied. Crossclaim-defendants Stock Development, LLC and Brian Stock filed Exceptions to the Report and Recommendation of the Magistrate (Doc. #145) on February 21, 2017, and Crossclaimplaintiffs Golden R.L.R. Ocala, LLC Investments, and Golden LLC, Ocala Eagles Golf Landing & Villas Equestrian at Club Management, LLC filed a Response (Doc. #158) on April 5, 2017. 1 1 Crossclaim-plaintiffs were granted leave to file a response Dockets.Justia.com After conducting a careful and complete review of the findings and recommendations, a district judge may accept, reject or modify the magistrate judge’s report and recommendation. 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1); United States v. Powell, 628 F.3d 1254, 1256 (11th Cir. 2010). A district judge “shall make a de novo determination of those portions of the report or specified proposed findings or recommendations 636(b)(1). to which objection is made.” 28 U.S.C. § See also United States v. Farias-Gonzalez, 556 F.3d 1181, 1184 n.1 (11th Cir. 2009). This requires that the district judge “give fresh consideration to those issues to which specific objection has been made by a party.” Jeffrey S. v. State Bd. of Educ. of Ga., 896 F.2d 507, 512 (11th Cir. 1990) (quoting H.R. 1609, 94th Cong., § 2 (1976)). The district judge reviews legal conclusions de novo, even in the absence of an objection. See Cooper-Houston v. Southern Ry. Co., 37 F.3d 603, 604 (11th Cir. 1994). As a preliminary matter, the Stock defendants rely on Fed. R. Civ. P. 15 to freely allow amendments, however the motion was denied pursuant to Fed. R. Civ. P. 16(b) because it was made after the expiration of the deadline to amend pleadings, and required a showing of good cause. The Magistrate Judge did not find good cause because the Stock defendants failed to diligently engage in after the case was reopened. (Doc. #154.) - 2 - discovery to uncover the information sooner, and then delayed in bringing a motion to amend after plaintiff produced discovery from a non-party and the Affidavit of its owner. The Magistrate Judge further found the potential for prejudice, and undue delay, given that the case had been pending since June 29, 2015, and the motion was filed a month before the close of discovery. As relevant here, the December 1, 2016 Affidavit of Fereydoon Pezeshkan, the principal and owner of PK Studios, Inc., alleges: 12. In mid-November 2012, I received a call from Eric at F&G Construction. He knew that PK Studios was the architect for the Paseo and Ole developments and said that he was told that we were working on updating plans. He requested updated plans for pricing purposes for a project in Ocala. I indicated to him that I was not aware of any such project, and he indicated that I should speak with Mr. Rick Duken, the contact for the Developer. 13. Shortly after my conversation with Eric, I contacted Mr. Duken. I advised Mr. Duken that the Paseo and Ole Plans were “our plans” and that we would be happy to assist him with the Ocala project. Mr. Duken indicated that the Developer was not sure what direction it would be heading, and that he would get back with me if they wanted to use our services. I never heard back from Mr. Duken, and quite honestly, forgot about the potential work. 14. In 2014, my office was again contacted relative to plans for a project in Ocala. Eric, of F&G Construction, appeared to be confused and thought that PK Studios was the architect for the Eagles Landing Project in Golden Ocala, Marion County, Florida (the “Eagles Landing Project”). I then discovered that RLR, Eagles Landing, and Golden Ocala (hereinafter collectively “Developer - 3 - Defendants”) had in fact moved forward with the Project by copying and using our Plans. Upon investigation, I discovered that the Developer Defendants had been advertising on their website, and designing and constructing residences with the Plans within the Eagles Landing Project, located in the Golden Ocala development, that were identical to the floor plans of the casitas/villas and townhomes that my staff and I had designed for the Ole and Paseo communities. It now appears that Mr. Duken and the Developer Defendants intentionally copied and used our Plans knowing that PK Studios asserted ownership of the Plans. (Doc. #94-1, Exh. A, ¶¶ 12-14) (emphasis added). reference to Construction allegation a was that mid-November not PK 2012, previously Studios was call stated from in contacted in a Although the Eric at F&G pleading, the May 2014, by a representative of contractor F&G Construction, “who appeared to be confused and thought Plaintiff was the architectural firm” was contained in the original June 29, 2015 Complaint (Doc. #1, ¶ 17). According to the Crossclaims (Doc. #54) and Answer (Doc. #56) thereto, the Developer defendants entered into a license agreement with the Stock defendants on or about November 5, 2012, an obviously relevant time period to plaintiff’s claims and the crossclaims. (Doc. #54, p. 20, ¶ 4; Doc. #56, ¶ 4.) The fact that there was prior contact in 2012, prior to the 2014 contact, was easily discoverable if the Stock defendants had made the request during the discovery process or sought further - 4 - information regarding the identified non-party, F&G Construction. The lack of diligence during discovery obfuscates any good cause. After a careful and complete review of the findings and recommendations, as well as an independent review of the record in this case, the Court accepts and adopts the Report and Recommendation of the magistrate judge, and will overrule the objections of the crossclaim-defendants (the Stock defendants). Accordingly, it is now ORDERED: 1. The Report and Recommendation (Doc. #132) is hereby ACCEPTED and ADOPTED and the findings incorporated herein. 2. Crossclaim-defendants Stock Development, LLC and Brian Stock filed Exceptions to the Report and Recommendation of the Magistrate (Doc. #145) are overruled. 3. Crossclaim-defendants Stock's Motion for Stock Leave Development, to File LLC Amended and Brian Answer and 14th day Affirmative Defenses (Doc. #117) is denied. DONE and ORDERED at Fort Myers, Florida, this of April, 2017. Copies: All Parties of Record - 5 -

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