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New Legion Co., Inc. v. Thandi

United States District Court, E.D. Pennsylvania

May 8, 2018

NEW LEGION COMPANY, INC., Plaintiff,
v.
JASBIR SING THANDI d/b/a GLOBAL HAWK INSURANCE COMPANY, et al., Defendants.

          MEMORANDUM RE: MOTION TO DISMISS

          Baylson, J.

         I. Introduction

         On October 8, 2016, a tractor-trailer owned by Plaintiff New Legion Company, Incorporated, was involved in a trucking accident caused by Defendant Alpha Transport, Inc.. Thereafter, Plaintiff filed suit against Alpha Transport; Defendant Global Hawk Insurance Company (“Global Hawk”), Alpha Transport's purported insurer; Defendant Jasbir Singh Thandi, the owner of Global Hawk; Defendant Greet Bala Presad, the claims manager of Global Hawk; and Defenant Jim Kreason, a claims adjuster for Global Hawk, alleging the following causes of action:

I) False Designation of Origin Under the Lanham Act, 15 U.S.C. § 1125(a)
II) Violation of the Pennsylvania Unfair Trade Practices and Consumer Protection Law, 73 Pa. Cons. Stat. 201-1, et seq.; and
III) Fraud.

(Compl. ¶¶ 44-57, ECF 1.)

         Defendants have now moved to dismiss the Complaint under Rule 12(b)(6) for failure to state a claim. For the reasons that follow, Defendants' motion to dismiss is GRANTED WITHOUT PREJUDICE.

         II. Background

         A. The Accident

         The following facts are taken as true from Plaintiff's Complaint. Plaintiff New Legion Company, Incorporated is a Pennsylvania trucking company that hauls freight for customers in tractor-trailers. (Compl. ¶¶ 2, 20.) On October 8, 2016, Defendant Alpha Transport, Inc. caused a motor vehicle accident involving one of Plaintiff's trailers. (Id. ¶¶ 21-22.) At the scene of the accident, Alpha Transport provided written information from Defendant Jasbir Singh Thandi, an insurance agent, stating that Defendant Global Hawk Insurance Company (“Global Hawk”) was Alpha Transport's insurance carrier for commercial trucking motor vehicle accidents. (Id. ¶ 23.) On the basis of this information, Plaintiff was led to believe that Global Hawk was a lawful insurance carrier. (Id. ¶ 25.)

         Following the accident, Defendant Jim Kreason, a claims adjuster at Global Hawk, contacted the Plaintiff about damages caused by the accident. (Id. ¶¶ 26, 28.) After some back-and-forth, on June 29, 2017, Kreason sent an e-mail to Plaintiff stating “that the amount of Plaintiff's damages which Global Hawk Insurance Company would pay out” would be $32, 000, an amount that Plaintiffs state was an “offer.” (Id. ¶¶ 29-30.) Negotiations continued, and Kreason stated in an e-mail dated August 1, 2017 that Global would not pay Plaintiff more than $32, 000. (Id. ¶¶ 30-31.) To date, Plaintiff has not been paid its “acknowledged damage amount.” (Id. ¶ 32.)

         B. Trademarks and Licensure

         Global Hawk Insurance Company is a federally registered trademark under registration number 4665528 to Singh individually. (Id. ¶ 33.) When Global Hawk commenced business in California in 2004, a trademark application was already pending for a now-dissolved South Carolina corporation with a name and logo identical to Defendant Global Hawk's. (Id. ¶¶ 18, 38.) This South Carolina corporation, which “became effective” on June 27, 2003 and dissolved on May 4, 2009, filed a trademark application for the name and logo with the United States Patent and Trademark Office at Serial Number 78509344. (Id. ¶ 18.) Plaintiffs assert, upon information and belief, that Global Hawk Insurance Company was a fictitious tradename that was “confusingly similar to an existing name of a lawful company in South Carolina.” (Id. ¶ 40.) Plaintiffs further assert that “[a]s a direct and proximate result of the represntations and trademark of Defendant Global Hawk Insurance Company, the public was led to believe that Global Hawk Insurance Company was a corporation duly organized to underwrite and provide insurance coverage for commercial vehicles and trucks.” (Id. at ¶ 35.)

         Neither Singh nor Global Hawk was a licensed insurance company in any state, although its website state that Global Hawk offers commercial auto liability and truck liability insurance coverage services. (Id. ¶ 36.) Plaintiff asserts that Defendants Alpha Transport, Presad, and Kreason knew or should have known that Global Hawk was not operating as a lawful insurance company. (Id. ¶¶ 41-42.) In August 2015, the California Department of Insurance “commenced disciplinary action” against Singh “regarding…his licensure as an insurance broker for selling Global Hawk Insurance when he was not licensed to do so.” (Id. ¶ 43.)

         Plaintiff asserts that all Defendants have “acted in concert, combination or conspiracy to mislead or otherwise cause confusion to the Plaintiff that Global Hawk Insurance Company was a lawfully licensed insurance company allowed to underwrite and provide insurance coverage for the motor ...


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