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Sierra R.V. Corp. v. Heartland Recreational Vehicles, LLC

United States District Court, D. Utah, Northern Division

June 28, 2019

SIERRA R.V. CORPORATION, a Utah corporation, Plaintiff/Counterclaim Defendant,
v.
HEARTLAND RECREATIONAL VEHICLES, LLC, an Indiana limited liability company, Defendant/Counterclaim Plaintiff.

          MEMORANDUM DECISION AND ORDER

          PAUL M. WARNER CHIEF UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE.

         All parties in this case have consented to Chief Magistrate Judge Paul M. Warner conducting all proceedings, including entry of final judgment, with appeal to the United States Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit.[1] See 28 U.S.C. § 636(c); Fed.R.Civ.P. 73. Before the court is Plaintiff and Counterclaim Defendant Sierra R.V. Corporation's (“Sierra”) motion for preliminary injunction.[2] The court has carefully reviewed the written memoranda submitted by the parties on that motion. Pursuant to Civil Rule 7-1(f) of the Rules of Practice for the United States District Court for the District of Utah, the court has concluded that oral argument is not necessary and will decide the motion on the basis of the written memoranda. See DUCivR 7-1(f).

         BACKGROUND

         Sierra is a recreational vehicle dealer with its principal place of business in Marriott-Slaterville, Utah. Defendant and Counterclaim Plaintiff Heartland Recreational Vehicles, LLC (“Heartland”) is a manufacturer of recreational vehicles that conducts business in Utah.

         Sierra alleges that it entered into an exclusive territory agreement with Heartland, under which Heartland agreed to provide Sierra with an exclusive market for Heartland's Road Warrior product line for a portion of the State of Utah. Sierra also alleges that Heartland breached the agreement by allowing another dealer to sell Road Warrior products within that exclusive market. Heartland contends that it never entered into any formal agreement with Sierra.

         In the motion before the court, Sierra seeks a preliminary injunction that would (1) prohibit Heartland from providing any Road Warrior products to any retailer doing business within the exclusive market, (2) prohibit Heartland from representing the public that Road Warrior products can be acquired in the exclusive market from any entity other than Sierra, and (3) require Heartland to secure the return of all Road Warrior products Heartland supplied to retailers other than Sierra in the exclusive market, to the extent Heartland can lawfully do so.

         ANALYSIS

         The Tenth Circuit “will only set aside a denial of a preliminary injunction if it is based on an error of law or constitutes an abuse of discretion.” Keirnan v. Utah Transit Auth., 339 F.3d 1217, 1220 (10th Cir. 2003) (quotations and citations omitted). In order to obtain a preliminary injunction, Sierra must establish the following four factors:

(1) it will suffer irreparable harm if the injunction is not granted,
(2) its threatened injury outweighs the harm caused to the opposing party as a result of the injunction, (3) the injunction is not adverse to the public interest, and (4) it has a substantial likelihood of success on the merits of the case.

Dominion Video Satellite, Inc. v. Echostar Satellite Corp., 356 F.3d 1256, 1260 (10th Cir. 2004).

In examining these factors, courts have consistently noted that [b]ecause a showing of probable irreparable harm is the single most important prerequisite for the issuance of a preliminary injunction, the moving party must first demonstrate that such injury is likely before the other requirements for the issuance of an injunction will be considered.

Id. (quotations and citations omitted) (alteration in original).

         “Determining whether irreparable harm exists can be a difficult and close question.” Id. at 1262. The Tenth Circuit has “noted that [t]he concept of irreparable harm . . . does not readily lend itself to definition, nor is it an easy burden to ...


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