United States District Court, S.D. Texas, Houston Division
S. Hanen United States District Judge.
September 27, 2019, the jury found in favor of Plaintiffs,
Boltex Manufacturing Company, L.P. ("Boltex") and
Weldbend Corporation ("Weldbend"), on all issues.
Pursuant to the findings of the jury, the Court hereby enters
an interlocutory order in favor of Plaintiffs as a precursor
to entering a final judgment.
to discussing specifics, the Court must note that the Fifth
Circuit has not established a definitive statute of
limitations to apply in Lanham Act cases. The Lanham Act does
not contain its own statute of limitations. Consequently,
courts look to the state statute of limitations controlling
comparable state causes of action. Most of the courts that
have ruled have held that Lanham Act false advertising cases
come closest to Texas' theory of common law fraud which
has a four-year statute of limitations. Crystaphase
Prod., Inc. v. Criterion Catalysts & Tech., L.P.,
No. 3:17-cv-265, 2018 WL 4266237, at *7 (S.D. Tex. Aug. 20,
2018) ("The most analogous Texas statute of limitations
for a Lanham Act claim is the four-year limitations period
for fraud claims."); Alfa Laval, Inc. v. Flowtrend,
Inc., No. 14-cv-2597, 2016 WL 2625068, at *6 (S.D. Tex.
May 9, 2016) ("Because the Lanham Act contains no
express limitations period, Courts look to the most analogous
state law statute of limitations to determine the applicable
laches period. In Texas, the most analogous limitations
period is the four-year period applicable to fraud
claims."); Derrick Manuf. Corp. v. Southwestern Wire
Cloth, Inc., 934 F.Supp. 796, 805 (S.D. Tex. 1996)
("[T]his Court holds that the fraud limitations period
applies for Derrick's Section 43(a) claim. In Texas, the
limitations period for fraud is four years."). This
Court formulated the jury verdict form to separate the
damages that could be awarded if a four-year statute of
limitations controlled from those that could be awarded to if
a two-year statute applied. The Court did this because it
finds that, while the majority of cases favor the four-year
statute, a very credible argument could be made that the
closest parallel in Texas law to a Lanham Act unfair
advertising claim is Texas' common law cause of action
for unfair competition, not fraud. Unfair competition in
Texas has a two-year limitations statute, and reasonable
minds could differ on the question as to whether the Fifth
Circuit, when it rules, will adopt the two-year statute of
limitations rather than four-year statute favored by the
majority of trial courts who have had to face the issue.
being said, this Court, for the purposes of this case, finds
the four-year statute to be more appropriate and applies it
to the verdict found by the jury.
Court finds that Plaintiffs have prevailed not only on their
claims based upon the Lanham Act, but also upon their claims
of unfair competition based upon the common law of the State
of Texas. While Plaintiffs have received favorable jury
findings on all claims, they are not entitled to multiple
recoveries for the same loss. Therefore, Plaintiffs must
elect between the remedies upon which they have prevailed.
jury made the following findings and Boltex was awarded the
following damages pursuant to the Lanham Act:
a) May 5, 2013 to May 4, 2015: $250, 000.00
b) May 5, 2015 to May 31, 2019: $400.000.00
Total Damages: $650, 000.00
the Texas law of unfair competition, Boltex was awarded ...