United States District Court, D. Connecticut
MEMORANDUM OF DECISION ON DEFENDANT, ALEXANDER
LOUAKDIES', MOTION TO DISMISS [DKT. 36]
Graduation Solutions, LLC (“Graduation Solutions”
or “Plaintiff”), initiated this action asserting
the following causes of action: (1) copyright infringement
under 17 U.S.C. § 101, et. seq.; (2) trade
dress infringement under section 43(a) of the Lanham Act, 15
U.S.C. § 1125(a); (3) false advertising under section
43(a) of the Lanham Act, 15 U.S.C. § 1125(a); (4) a
violation of Connecticut Unfair Trade Practices Act
(“CUTPA”), Conn. Gen. Stat. § 42-110a,
et seq.; (5) a violation of Connecticut's common
law prohibition against unfair competition; and (6) unjust
enrichment. Before the Court is Defendant Alexander
Loukaides' (“Loukaides”) Motion to Dismiss
for failure to state a claim and for lack of personal
jurisdiction. For the following reasons, the Motion is
Solutions is a Nevada limited liability company with a
principal place of business in Greenwich, Connecticut. [Dkt.
31(Second Am. Compl.) ¶ 7]. Plaintiff sells graduation
apparel and accessories through its online website (“GS
Website”), which includes original works of authorship
that have been registered with the United States Copyright
Office. See Id. ¶¶ 7-8, 53-54. The GS
Website contains notifications “that the copyrights,
trade dress and/or other intellectual properties contained
therein are owned, controlled and/or licensed by
Plaintiff.” Id. ¶ 52.
Acadima, LLC (“Acadima”) is a Texas limited
liability company with a principal place of business in
Dallas, Texas. See Id. ¶ 11. Acadima owns and
operates a website (“Acadima Website”), which
sells graduation apparel and accessories. See Id.
¶ 11. Filings with the Texas Secretary of State show
that Acadima was formed on October 26, 2015. See Id.
¶ 13. Based on the Texas Secretary of State's
database, Loukaides is the owner and sole managing member of
Acadima. See Id. ¶¶ 14-15. Loukaides is
listed as the registrant contact, administrative contact, and
technical support contact. See Id. ¶ 16. Loukaides
has an address in Dallas and Richardson, Texas. See
Id. ¶ 17. He is listed as the registrant contact,
administrative contact and technical support contact for five
additional and similar websites, known as the following:
“Gradshop Website, ” “Graduation Cap and
Gown Website, ” “Graduation Apparel Website,
” “Churchgoers Website, ” and
“Churchlings Website” (collectively,
“Loukaides' Websites”). See Id.
¶¶ 22, 26, 30, 32, 34, 36. The Second Amended
Complaint asserts Acadima is the owner and operator of
Loukaides' Websites.See Id. ¶¶ 23, 28,
31, 33, 35, 37.
Acadima Website provides a toll-free number that customers
can use when making a purchase. See id ¶ 39. In
addition, customers can request samples directly from the
Acadima Website. See Id. The process of obtaining
these samples requires the requestor to enter his/her address
in provided text fields. See Id. The requestor must
select a State from a dropdown list; this list includes
Connecticut. See Id. Defendants also have sales
representatives across the United States, some who are
believed to conduct business in Connecticut. See Id.
¶ 43. Defendants run and operate a Gradshop Facebook
page, where customers throughout the country can make
comments and lodge complaints. See Id. ¶ 44.
Chief Executive Officer is Matthew Gordon
(“Gordon”), who lives in Connecticut and worked
in Connecticut and New York during the relevant time. See
Id. ¶ 45. On March 2, 2014, Loukaides messaged
Gordon through LinkedIn “to see whether their two
companies could do business together.” Id.
¶ 47. On March 10, 2014, Loukaides emailed Gordon to
discuss working against Plaintiff's current manufacturer.
See Id. ¶ 48-49. Loukaides stated “if we
can't find a way of getting [the manufacturer] to close
down [its websites] it may be the case that we might just
have to put up a site similar to theirs so we can compete on
alleges that the Defendant intentionally copied language from
the GS Website and placed that language on the Acadima
Website. See Id. ¶ 64. Plaintiff further
alleges other elements from the GS Website were copied and
used on the Acadima Website, Graduation Apparel Website, and
the Gradshop Website. See Id. ¶¶ 65-67.
The Defendant's actions are believed to have caused and
will continue to cause damages and irreparable harm to
Plaintiff, such as past and future loss of goodwill and
customer confusion. See Id. ¶¶ 80-81.
April 26, 2016, Plaintiff's employee, Kristoff Albanese
(“Albanese”), contacted Loukaides by email
alerting Loukaides that the Acadima Website is using
Plaintiff's “branded images.” Id.
¶ 83. Then on May 4, 2016, Albanese emailed Loukaides
stating, in part, that “it appears that
[Loukaides'] team removed the copyright materials.”
Id. ¶ 84. On January 18, 2017, after an email
exchange between Loukaides and Albanese, Loukaides sent an
email that stated, “Not sure I see the similarities but
I am pleased that you had the opportunity to visit our sites
and admire our work.” Id. ¶ 85. On
January 22, 2017, Loukaides said “[t]o be honest I
don't really watch over the it side that much.”
Id. ¶ 86. From January 22, 2017 through May 17,
2017, Loukaides began sending Albanese several emails in an
attempt to recruit him for employment. See Id.
is purported to have transferred ownership of Acadima to
Frank A. Seviane (“Seviane”) in the Spring of
2016. See Id. ¶ 101. On August 9, 2017, Acadima
filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy under Title 11 of the United
States Code. See Id. ¶ 102. The filing was
signed by Seviane and he appeared on behalf of Acadima at the
meeting of creditors. See Id. ¶¶ 103, 107.
At the meeting of creditors, Seviane disclosed that Acadima
generated nearly $2, 500, 000 in revenue up to the time of
filing and that he purchased Acadima for $10, 000. See
Id. ¶ 108. The Second Amended Complaint asserts
this transfer of ownership was not made in exchange for fair
consideration. See Id. ¶ 109. When the Second
Amended Complaint was filed, Acadima was still operating
despite the Chapter 7 bankruptcy filing and the
Loukaides' Websites were still misusing the
Plaintiff's intellectual property. See Id.
¶¶ 97, 114-15.
January 10, 2018, Plaintiff received an unsolicited email
from Anais Lu (“Lu”), which states,
“Loukaides did indeed bankrupt Acadima LLC purposefully
to avoid damages brought on by this lawsuit.”
Id. ¶ 99. The email from Lu also states that
Loukaides has a home in Dallas, Texas and is currently
residing in Irvine, California. See Id. ¶ 99.
February 20, 2018, Acadima by and through counsel filed a
Motion to Dismiss pursuant to Federal Rules of Civil
Procedures 12(b)(6), which alleges the claims against Acadima
are barred under the equitable mootness doctrine.
See [Dkt. 35 (Acadima Mot. to Dismiss)]. The Court
denied Acadima's Motion to Dismiss for failing to provide
proper legal authority which could afford the requested
relief. [Dkt. 44 (Order)].
February 20, 2018, Loukaides by and through counsel filed a
Motion to Dismiss pursuant to Federal Rules of Civil
Procedures 12(b)(2) and 12(b)(6) which the court considers
now. [Dkt. 37 (Mot. to Dismiss)]. Loukaides' Motion first
argues the complaint fails under Rule 12(b)(6) because (1)
Loukaides is not an owner of Acadima and is not liable even
if the corporate veil could be pierced, and (2) Plaintiff
failed to allege sufficient facts to pierce the corporate
veil. See Id. In addition, Loukaides alleges the
complaint fails under Rule 12(b)(2) because the court lacks a
personal jurisdiction over him. See Id.