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The McGraw-Hill Companies Inc. v. Jones

United States District Court, W.D. Kentucky, Paducah Division

March 8, 2017

THE MCGRAW-HILL COMPANIES INC., et al, Plaintiffs,
v.
CHARLES A. JONES, et al, Defendants.

          MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER

          Thomas B. Russell, Senior Judge United States District Court

         McGraw-Hill Global Education Holdings, LLC, along with several related entities, filed suit against David Griffin in 2012, bringing claims for copyright infringement, falsification of copyright management information, and trademark counterfeiting. Pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 68, Griffin made an offer of judgment, which McGraw-Hill ultimately accepted. Now, McGraw-Hill moves to recover its costs and attorney's fees. Having reviewed record, however, the Court finds the offer of judgment to be invalid. There was no offer, then, for McGraw-Hill to accept, and so the attendant judgment is void too. Accordingly, the Judgment Nunc Pro Tunc, [R. 289], is VACATED, and McGraw-Hill's Motion for Costs and Attorney's Fees, [R. 292], is DENIED AS MOOT

         I.

         The history of this litigation (and more than ten companion cases) is long and complex, but a detailed factual recitation is unnecessary to resolve this chapter of that saga. In brief, McGraw-Hill Global Education Holdings, LLC, along with several related entities, filed suit against David Griffin in 2012, bringing claims for, inter alia, copyright infringement, falsification of copyright management information, and trademark counterfeiting. [See R. 103 at 18-23, ¶¶ 63-94 (Third Amended Complaint).] Four years later, Griffin made an offer of judgment to McGraw-Hill, which (in full) reads:

         Pursuant to Rule 68 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, the defendant, David Griffin, offers to allow judgment to be entered against him on the following terms:

         1. Judgment will be entered in favor of all the plaintiffs as follows:

McGraw-Hill Global Education Holdings, LLC $186, 001.00
Pearson Education, Inc. $100, 501.00
Cengage Learning, Inc. $65, 251.00
John Wiley & Sons, Inc. $7.501.00
Total Judgment $359, 254.00
plus costs accrued through the date of this offer as may be allowed by the Court based on the submission of costs pursuant to Fed. R. Civ. Proc 54(d)(1).
2. Apart from a subsequent bill of costs, the judgment entered hereon resolves all issues between the plaintiffs and the defendant David Griffin and his counsel of record at the time of this offer.
3. The judgment entered hereon is without prejudice to the rights of the plaintiffs to recover damages, costs, fees, expenses or monetary sanctions against any third parties, including Mr. Griffin's ...

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