United States District Court, D. Utah
PURPLE INNOVATION, LLC, a Delaware limited liability company, Plaintiff,
HONEST REVIEWS, LLC, a Florida corporation, RYAN MONAHAN, an individual, and GHOSTBED, INC., a Delaware corporation, Defendants.
MEMORANDUM DECISION AND ORDER
BENSON, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
the court are two motions filed by Plaintiff: a motion for
sanctions and order to show cause against Honest Reviews, LLC
and Ryan Monahan (the “Monahan Defendants”) with
respect to the Preliminary Injunction (Dkt. No. 351) and a
motion for order to show cause against the Monahan Defendants
with respect to the court's July 9, 2018 order. (Dkt. No.
352.) The court has reviewed the briefing submitted by the
parties. Pursuant to civil rule 7-1(f) of the United States
District Court for the District of Utah Rules of Practice,
the court elects to determine the motion on the basis of the
written memoranda and finds that oral argument would not be
helpful or necessary. DUCivR 7-1(f).
background facts relating to these parties and this action
have been set forth in some detail in the court's
previous rulings. (See, e.g., Dkt. Nos. 151, 191,
242, 292, and 342.) In the latest iteration, Plaintiff
submits, and the Monahan Defendants do not dispute, that
Honest Reviews, LLC has sold the honestmattressreviews.com
website (the “HMR site”) to Brooklyn Bedding, a
competitor of Plaintiff and presumably GhostBed, Inc.
Thereafter, the disclosures required by this court's
Preliminary Injunction Order (Dkt.No. 191) were removed from
the HMR site. Mr. Monahan now maintains no control over the
content of the HMR site. Instead, Mr. Monahan continues to
author review content on a new website, www.honestreview.com
(the “Honest Review site”), owned by a new
entity, Honest Showroom, LLC, controlled by Mr. Monahan's
Social Media Sharks, LLC business partners and Mr.
Monahan's wife. It appears from the evidence presented to
the court that the Honest Review site does not contain any
content referencing Plaintiff. Plaintiff contends that the
actions of the Monahan Defendants, as well as Mr.
Monahan's submission of a statement to Plaintiff that he
is no longer doing mattress reviews, constitute a violation
of the Preliminary Injunction Order.
second motion, Plaintiff submits, and the Monahan Defendants
do not dispute, that the Monahan Defendants have failed to
pay the attorneys' fees awarded to Plaintiff in the
court's Memorandum Decision and Order on July 9, 2018.
(Dkt. No. 342.) On July 17, 2018, Plaintiff demanded payment
in full of the $92, 199.31 assessed against the Monahan
Defendants within seven days. (Dkt. No. 352-1.) Counsel for
the Monahan Defendants responded that the Monahan Defendants
did not have the money. (Id.) On July 30, 2018, a
similar email exchange occurred. (Id.) On August 9,
2018, a month after the court's entry of an award of
attorneys' fees, Plaintiff filed its motion for
sanctions, requesting that the Monahan Defendants be held in
contempt for failure to pay, that Mr. Monahan be incarcerated
for a period of 30 days, and that the court award
attorneys' fees to Plaintiff for bringing the motion.
(Dkt. No. 352.)
may assess sanctions for litigation misconduct or abuse of
the judicial process, such as the violation of a court order.
See Ehrenhaus v. Reynolds, 965 F.2d 916, 921 (10th
Cir. 1992). Here, however, the court does not find that
sanctions are warranted. First, the court does not find that
the Monahan Defendants have violated the Preliminary
Injunction. The Disclosure Statement required by the
Preliminary Injunction applies only to the HMR site and
“all associated social media platforms, including
without limitation the HMR Facebook page, YouTube Channel,
and Twitter page.” (Dkt. No. 191 at 10-11, ¶2.) As
the Monahan Defendants no longer maintain ownership or
control of those sites and platforms, they cannot be said to
be in violation of the Preliminary Injunction for the removal
of the Disclosure Statement.
the Preliminary Injunction does not require a Disclosure
Statement on all online content produced by the Monahan
Defendants. Instead, it requires placement of the Disclosure
Statement “on each page or video referencing Purple on
… any other online location under the control of the
Monahan Defendants.” (Dkt. No. 191 at 12, ¶ 7.)
Plaintiff has not asserted that the Honest Review site
references Purple anywhere. Thus, even assuming that the
Monahan Defendants have control over the content of the
Honest Review site, the lack of a Disclosure Statement on
that site is not a violation of the Preliminary Injunction.
with respect to Plaintiff's motion that the Monahan
Defendants be held in contempt for failing to immediately pay
in full the court's award of attorneys' fees, the
court finds no basis for an award of sanctions. The Order
awarding attorneys' fees set no firm deadline for the
payment of fees. (Dkt. No. 342.) Plaintiff obtained the
relief it requested and is expected to pursue collection
through avenues available under the Federal Rules of Civil
Procedure, not through the use of threatening sanctions or
the court as collection agent. See Fed. R. Civ. P.
69. The court declines to set a specific date for payment of
foregoing reasons, Plaintiffs Motions for Sanctions (Dkt.
Nos. 351 and 352) ...