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Sindhi v. Raina

United States District Court, N.D. Texas, Dallas Division

April 26, 2018

SALIM I. SINDHI, Plaintiff,
v.
KUNAL R. RAINA, Defendant.

          MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER

          SIDNEY A. FITZWATER UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.

         Following the court's entry of a final judgment in this case, defendant Kunal R. Raina (“Raina”) appealed the judgment to the Fifth Circuit and filed a lawsuit in India, alleging, inter alia, that plaintiff Salim I. Sindhi's (“Sindhi's”) instant suit (hereafter referred to as “the Sindhi I suit”) was frivolous. Sindhi now moves for issuance of a permanent injunction enjoining the prosecution of the India lawsuit, and Raina moves for a new trial under Fed.R.Civ.P. 60(b) in the Sindhi I suit. For the reasons that follow, the court grants in part and denies in part Sindhi's motion for a permanent injunction, and it denies Raina's motion for a new trial.

         I

         Because this case is the subject of a prior memorandum and order, Sindhi v. Raina, 2017 WL 4167511 (N.D. Tex. Sept. 20, 2017) (Fitzwater, J.) (“Sindhi I”), the court will recount only the background facts and procedural history that are pertinent to this decision.

         Sindhi filed the Sindhi I suit against Raina, alleging claims for copyright infringement, under 17 U.S.C. §§ 501-505, and for violating the Texas Uniform Trade Secrets Act, Tex. Civ. Prac. & Rem. Code Ann. §§ 134A.002-005 (West Supp. 2016). After Raina twice failed to comply with orders of this court, the court struck Raina's responsive pleadings, including his motion to dismiss for lack of personal jurisdiction, on the basis that he had “repeatedly failed to comply with orders of this court after having been advised of the consequences of such failure.” Nov. 8, 2016 Order at 1. The court also entered an interlocutory default judgment against Raina. Shortly thereafter, the court entered an interlocutory permanent injunction against Raina (it was interlocutory rather than final because it did not address all the relief that Sindhi sought).

         In Sindhi I the court denied Raina's motion to overturn the interlocutory default judgment and granted Sindhi's motion for an order to show cause. Following an evidentiary hearing, the court entered a final judgment and permanent injunction. Raina has appealed the judgment, and the appeal is currently pending in the Fifth Circuit.

         Shortly after filing the appeal of Sindhi I, Raina filed suit against Sindhi in India, alleging, inter alia, that the Sindhi I suit was frivolous and that Sindhi's correspondence with third parties regarding the court's permanent injunction was defamatory. Sindhi now moves for a permanent injunction enjoining Raina's India suit. Raina opposes the motion and moves under Rule 60(b) for a new trial in the Sindhi I suit.

         II

         The court turns first to Sindhi's motion for an antisuit injunction.

         A

         It is well-settled that “federal courts have the power to enjoin persons subject to their jurisdiction from prosecuting foreign suits.” Kaepa, Inc. v. Achilles Corp., 76 F.3d 624, 626 (5th Cir. 1996). “In assessing whether an injunction is necessary, [the court] weigh[s] the need to prevent vexatious or oppressive litigation and to protect the court's jurisdiction against the need to defer to principles of international comity.” Karaha Bodas Co. v. Perusahaan Pertambangan Minyak Dan Gas Bumi Negara, 335 F.3d 357, 366 (5th Cir. 2003) (internal quotation marks omitted). “[A]ntisuit injunctions have been granted when foreign litigation would (1) frustrate a policy of the forum issuing the injunction; (2) be vexatious or oppressive; (3) threaten the issuing court's in rem or quasi in rem jurisdiction; or (4) prejudice other equitable considerations.” Kaepa, 76 F.3d at 627 (citing In re Unterweser Reederei, Gmbh, 428 F.2d 888, 896 (5th Cir. 1970), on reh'g en banc sub nom. In re Complaint of Unterweser Reederei, GmbH, 446 F.2d 907 (5th Cir. 1971), vacated sub nom. M/S Bremen v. Zapata Off-Shore Co., 407 U.S. 1 (1972)). “[N]otions of comity do not wholly dominate [the Fifth Circuit's] analysis to the exclusion of these other concerns.” Karaha Bodas Co., 335 F.3d at 366. This court is not required “to genuflect before a vague and omnipotent notion of comity every time that it must decide whether to enjoin a foreign action.” Kaepa, Inc., 76 F.3d at 627.

         Sindhi maintains that the India suit is duplicative because Raina's defamation claim in that lawsuit is a compulsory counterclaim that he was required to bring in the Sindhi I suit. Raina responds that India suit is not oppressive because Sindhi chose to start his business in India and has filed multiple lawsuits in India.

         When analyzing whether foreign litigation is vexatious or oppressive, the court considers “(1) inequitable hardship resulting from the foreign suit; (2) the foreign suit's ability to frustrate and delay the speedy and efficient determination of the cause; and (3) the extent to which the foreign suit is [duplicative] of the litigation in the United States.” Karaha Bodas Co., 335 F.3d at 366 (internal quotation marks omitted). The court will analyze the three factors in turn.

         B 1

         Regarding the first factor, “voluntary invocation of a foreign forum [by a party] . . . would militate against a finding that litigating a foreign action amounts to an inequitable hardship [against that party].” Commercializadora Portimex, S.A. de CV v. Zen-Noh Grain Corp., 373 F.Supp.2d 645, 649 (E.D. La. 2005) (citing Karaha Bodas Co., 335 F.3d at 368). Here, Sindhi initiated in India three separate legal proceedings of his own related to this case. The court thus holds that the first factor weighs against the issuance of a foreign antisuit injunction.

         Regarding the second factor, the court finds this reasoning from Commercializadora ...


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