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Pipe Restoration Techs., LLC v. Coast Bldg. & Plumbing, Inc.

United States District Court for the Central District of California, Southern Division

November 16, 2018, Decided; November 16, 2018, Filed

Case No. 8:13-cv-00499-JDE

Opinion

FINDINGS OF FACT AND CONCLUSIONS OF LAW FOLLOWING TRIAL PURSUANT TO RULE 52(a)

The above-entitled action came on for a bench trial commencing on June 5 and concluding on June 8, 2018. Pursuant to Rule 52(a) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure and Local Rule 52-1, based upon the evidence presented at trial and the arguments of counsel for the parties in pretrial filings and at trial, the Court makes the following findings of fact and conclusions of law.

I. FINDINGS OF FACT

1. The Plaintiffs in this case are Pipe Restoration Technologies, LLC, ACE Duraflo Systems, LLC, and Pipe Restoration, Inc. (collectively, "Plaintiffs"). Final Pretrial Conference Order (Dkt. 257, "FPTCO"), § V, Admitted Facts.

2. The Defendants are Roy Terry ("Terry") and Pipeline Restoration Plumbing, Inc. ("PRPI") (collectively, "Defendants"); Terry is the founder, sole shareholder and only officer of PRPI. Id.

3. Plaintiffs and Defendants compete for pipe restoration work involving the use of epoxy in small diameter, potable plumbing applications in residential properties in Orange County. Id.

4. Plaintiffs have been in the epoxy pipe restoration business since the late 1990s. In approximately October 2008, Defendants began providing epoxy pipe restoration services in Southern [*3]  California. Id.

5. Generally, the epoxy small diameter pipe restoration process used by both Plaintiffs and Defendants involves the following steps applied to a piping system: (1) isolate the piping system; (2) dry the interior of the piping system by applying air into the system; (3) clean the interior of the piping system by applying air with an abrasive medium into the system; and (4) apply a liquid epoxy to the interior of the piping system by blowing the epoxy into the system. The epoxy dries, resulting in a new epoxy pipe layer covering the entire interior of the piping system. Id.

6. In 2008, Terry, whose background is in plumbing and construction, became interested in the epoxy pipe restoration business. While researching the process, Defendants purchased a package of equipment to perform epoxy pipe restoration services for $35,000, which included a large number of cases of epoxy known as AquataPoxy A-61 ("AquataPoxy"). Reporter's Transcript of Court Trial ("RT") 6/5/18, Volume ("Vol.") II, 90:13-19; 91:12-19; 92:19-93:14.

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2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 196094 *; 2018 WL 6012219

PIPE RESTORATION TECHNOLOGIES, LLC, a Nevada Limited Liability Company; ACE DURAFLO SYSTEMS, LLC, a Nevada Limited Liability Company; and PIPE RESTORATION, INC., a California Corporation, Plaintiffs, v. COAST BUILDING & PLUMBING, INC., a California Corporation d/b/a PIPELINE RESTORATION, PIPE RESTORATION SERVICES, and PIPELINE RESTORATION SERVICES, INC; ROY TERRY, an individual; and DOES 1 through 10, inclusive, Defendants.

Prior History: Pipe Restoration Techs., LLC v. Pipeline Restoration Plumbing, Inc., 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 194891 (C.D. Cal., May 29, 2014)

CORE TERMS

epoxy, pipe, restoration, willfulness, Defendants', profits, certification, advertisement, consumers, false advertising, equitable, deceived, products, Lanham Act, infringement, injunction, misleading, costs, hot water, deception, unfair competition, literally, damages, awards, courts, attorney's fees, district court, manufactured, prevailing, willfully