Patrizzi v. Bourne in Time

U.S. DISTRICT COURT
SOUTHERN DISTRICT OF NEW YORK
Civil Practice

New York Law Journal

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Judge Paul Engelmayer

Patrizzi founded Patrizzi & Co. Auctioneers, whose domain name is "patrizziauction.com." Ongoing litigation stems from his claim that browser misspellings of his name or "patrizziauction.com" redirect users to competitor Bourne in Time's web site, which in turn links to Antiquorum's site. The court's Oct. 11, 2012, order dismissed Patrizzi's RICO claim that Bourne and Antiquorum schemed to defraud consumers into believing they were buying or selling timepieces through him. However, it allowed him discovery on his Lanham Act claims. The court denied defendants' motion seeking sanctions on the ground that Patrizzi's RICO claims lacked a good faith basis. Although dismissal of the RICO claims "was not a close call," they were not objectively unreasonable. Patrizzi did allege a scheme lasting more than two years, a necessary ingredient for a closed-ended RICO claim's survival. Further, the defective RICO claims were not necessary to establish federal jurisdiction because Patrizzi's complaint included Lanham Act claims, a "life raft" under Simon DeBartolo Group v. Richard E. Jacobs Group. Further defendants' mere claim that the baseless RICO claims were brought for an improper purposes was insufficient to warrant sanctions.

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