United States District Court, N.D. Texas, Dallas Division
ZENIMAX MEDIA INC. and ID SOFTWARE, LLC, Plaintiffs,
OCULUS VR LLC, PALMER LUCKEY, FACEBOOK, INC., BRENDAN IRIBE, and JOHN CARMACK, Defendants.
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER
KINKEADE, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
the Court are: (1) Plaintiffs' Renewed Motion for
Judgment as a Matter of Law on Their Claim for Breach of
Contract Against Defendant Palmer Luckey and Request for New
Trial Solely on Damages Caused by that Breach (Doc. No. 994);
(2) Defendants' Motion for Judgment as a Matter of Law
Under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 50(b) (Doc. No. 997);
and (3) Defendants' Amended Motion in the Alternative for
Partial New Trial Under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 59(a)
(Doc. No. 1004).
Court has carefully considered the motions, the responses,
the replies, the supporting appendices, the applicable law,
and any relevant portions of the record. The Court
DENIES Plaintiffs' Renewed Motion for
Judgment as a Matter of Law. The Court also
DENIES Defendants' Amended Motion for
Partial New Trial. The Court GRANTS in part
Defendants' Motion for Judgment as a Matter of Law only
as to Plaintiffs' false designation claims because the
evidence establishing any damages and also the proximate
cause of those damages as awarded by the jury is legally
insufficient. The Court DENIES all other
relief requested in Defendants' Motion for Judgment as a
Matter of Law.
trial of this case, the jury returned a verdict, finding in
relevant part that Defendants Oculus VR, LLC
(“Oculus”), Mr. Palmer Luckey
(“Luckey”), and Mr. Brendan Iribe
(“Iribe”) were liable for false designation. The
jury also awarded Plaintiffs actual damages for false
designation in the amounts of $50, 000, 000.00 as to Oculus,
$50, 000, 000.00 as to Mr. Luckey, and $150, 000, 000.00 as
to Mr. Iribe.
their Motion for Judgment as a Matter of Law
(“Defendants' Rule 50(b) Motion”), Defendants
argue they are entitled to judgment as matter of law on
Plaintiffs' claim of false designation because the record
lacks legally sufficient evidence as to the proximate cause
of injury and as to the amount of damages suffered.
Legal Standards for Judgment as a Matter of Law
apply the same standard to a renewed motion for judgment as a
matter of law under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 50(b) as
applies to motions for directed verdict under Federal Rule of
Civil Procedure 50(a). Foradori v. Harris, 523 F.3d
477, 485 (5th Cir. 2008). The court may grant judgment as a
matter of law “when a party has been fully heard on an
issue during a jury trial and the court finds that a
reasonable jury would not have legally sufficient evidentiary
basis to find for a party on that issue.” Hurst v.
Lee Cty., Miss., 764 F.3d 480, 483 (5th Cir. 2014);
see Fed. R. Civ. P. 50(a). “‘In
evaluating such a motion, the court must consider all of the
evidence in the light most favorable to the nonmovant,
drawing all factual inferences in favor of the non-moving
party, and leaving credibility determinations, the weighing
of evidence, and the drawing of legitimate inferences from
the facts to the jury.'” Janvey v. Dillon Gage,
Inc. of Dallas, 856 F.3d 377, 385 (5th Cir.
2017)(quoting Price v. Marathon Cheese Corp., 119
F.3d 330, 333 (5th Cir. 1997)). Judgment as a matter of law
should be granted only when “‘the facts and
inferences point so strongly and overwhelmingly in the
movant's favor that jurors could not reasonably have
reached a contrary verdict.'” Janvey, 856
F.3d at 384-85 (quoting Brown v. Sudduth, 675 F.3d
472, 477 (5th Cir. 2012)). The court must be
“‘especially deferential'” to the
jury's verdict. Janvey, 856 F.3d at 385.
Proof of Damages and Proximate Cause of Those Damages for
argue several reasons the Court should grant judgment as a
matter of law in favor of Defendants on Plaintiffs' false
designation claim. One argument put forth by Defendants is
that Plaintiffs did not present any evidence proving they
suffered any damages related to Defendants' act of false
designation. In their response, Plaintiffs contend there is
legally sufficient evidence supporting the jury's damages
award for Plaintiffs' reputational injuries and
Defendants' unjust enrichment.
designation claim derives from a provision of 15 U.S.C.
§ 1125. The statute provides, in relevant part,
protection from the unauthorized use of:
any word, term, name, symbol, or device, or any combination
thereof, or any false designation of origin, false or
misleading description of fact, or false or misleading
representation of fact, which-
(A) is likely to cause confusion, or to cause mistake, or to
deceive as to the affiliation, connection, or association of
such person with another person, or as to the origin,
sponsorship, or approval of his or her goods, ...