Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Commission v. Reliable Limousine Service, LLC

United States District Court, District Circuit

October 18, 2013

WASHINGTON METROPOLITAN AREA TRANSIT COMMISSION, Plaintiff,
v.
RELIABLE LIMOUSINE SERVICE, LLC et al., Defendants.

MEMORANDUM OPINION

ELLEN SEGAL HUVELLE, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.

Defendant Paul Benjamin Rodberg is the president and sole owner of Reliable Limousine and Bus Service, LLC (“RLBS”). On February 6, 2013, this Court entered an Order permanently enjoining Rodberg and another entity as to which he was president and sole owner, Reliable Limousine Service, LLC (“RLS”), “from transporting passengers for hire between points within the Metropolitan District unless and until properly authorized by the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Commission (“WMATC”).” (Order, Feb. 6, 2013 [Dkt. No. 24] at 1.) Since that Order, it is undisputed that RLBS (as opposed to RLS) has transported passengers for hire between points within the Metropolitan District without authorization from WMATC. (Show Cause Hr’g Tr., Sept. 25, 2013 at 23.) On September 25, 2013, this Court ordered Rodberg to show cause “why this Court should not amend its February 6, 2013 Order to enjoin any entity created or controlled, directly or indirectly, by [him], including [RLBS], from transporting passengers for hire between points within the Metropolitan District unless and until that entity is properly authorized by the WMATC.” (Order, Sept. 25, 2013 [Dkt. No. 37] at 2.) Having considered Rodberg and RLBS’s response to the motion to show cause and for the foregoing reasons, the Court will clarify its February 6, 2013 Order to make explicit that RLBS, as well as any other entity created or controlled, directly or indirectly, by Rodberg, is enjoined from transporting passengers for hire between points within the Metropolitan District unless and until properly authorized by the WMATC.

BACKGROUND

In its May 25, 2012 first amended complaint, WMATC alleged that Rodberg and RLS were advertising for and performing unauthorized passenger transportation services within WMATC jurisdiction, and sought, inter alia, a permanent injunction “restraining defendants Reliable Limousine Service, LLC, and Paul Rodberg from performing passenger transportation services between points in the Metropolitan District, directly or indirectly, unless and until authorized by WMATC.” (First Amd. Compl., May 25, 2012 [Dkt. No. 6] at 10 (emphasis added).) On July 9, 2012, the Court denied defendants’ motion to dismiss, and on December 19, 2012, it ordered defendants to provide answers to WMATC’s interrogatories and otherwise respond to WMATC’s document requests by January 2, 2013. After defendants failed to comply, WMATC moved for sanctions. (Pl.’s Mot. for Sanctions, Jan. 18, 2013 [Dkt. No. 19].)

Defendants did not comply, nor did they provide any reason or excuse for their failure to comply, with the Court’s December 19, 2012 Order. The Court accordingly granted WMATC’s motion and entered default judgment for WMATC on February 6, 2013. (Mem. Op., Feb. 6, 2013 [Dkt. No. 23] at 2; Order, Feb. 6, 2013 [Dkt. No. 24] at 1.) The default judgment, inter alia, permanently enjoined defendants “from transporting passengers for hire between points within the Metropolitan District unless and until properly authorized by the [WMATC].” (Order, Feb. 6, 2013 at 1.) The Court denied defendants’ motion for reconsideration (Order, April 28, 2013 [Dkt. No. 28]), and defendants timely appealed. (Notice of Appeal, May 3, 2013 [Dkt. No. 29].)

On August 30, 2013, WMATC filed a motion for an order to show cause as to why Rodberg should not be held in contempt of the Court’s February 6, 2013 Order. (Pl.’s Mot. for Entry of Order to Show Cause re Contempt, Aug. 30, 2013 [Dkt. No. 32].) WMATC alleged, inter alia, that Rodberg was violating the Order by transporting passengers for hire between points within the Metropolitan District without WMATC authorization through his ownership and operation of RLBS. (Id. at 1.) In his response to the show cause order, Rodberg argued that he was not violating the injunction because, inter alia, only RLBS was transporting the passengers and RLBS was a legally distinct entity and thus not bound by the injunction. (Answer to Order to Show Cause, Sept. 20, 2013 [Dkt. No. 46] at 4-5.) On September 23, 2013, the Court pointed the parties to Regal Knitwear Co. v. N.L.R.B., 324 U.S. 9, 14 (1945), which explained that “a decree of injunction not only binds the parties defendant but also those identified with them in interest, in ‘privity’ with them, represented by them or subject to their control. In essence it is that defendants may not nullify a decree by carrying out prohibited acts through aiders and abettors, although they were not parties to the original proceeding.” (Order, Sept. 23, 2013 [Dkt. No. 36] at 1.) The Court instructed the parties to be prepared to present evidence at a show cause hearing as to whether RLBS was “in privity” with Rodberg or otherwise “aided and abetted” his circumvention of the February 6, 2013 Order. (Id.)

At that hearing on September 25, 2013, counsel for Rodberg stipulated that RLBS was transporting passengers for hire between points within the Metropolitan District without authorization by the WMATC.[1] (9/25/13 Hr’g Tr. at 23.) Rodberg testified that as the sole owner, officer, and director of RLBS, he had the authority to terminate RLBS’s operations altogether. (Id. at 40.) Rodberg’s counsel, however, again argued that because RLBS was not a named defendant in this action, it was not covered by the injunction. (Id. at 46-47.)[2]

To avoid any argument regarding the meaning of the Court’s Order, the Court did not hold Rodberg in contempt based on RLBS’s operations at that time, [3] but instead it ordered Rodberg to show cause as to why it “should not amend its February 6, 2013 Order to enjoin any entity created or controlled, directly or indirectly, by Mr. Rodberg, including [RLBS], from transporting passengers for hire between points within the Metropolitan District unless and until that entity is properly authorized by the WMATC.” (Order of Contempt and to Show Cause, Sept. 25, 2013 [Dkt. No. 37] at 2.) Rodberg filed an answer to that order to show cause, and WMATC filed an opposition. (See Answer to Order to Show Cause (“Answer”), Oct. 4, 2013 [Dkt. No. 38]; Pl.’s Opp’n to Def.’s Answer, Oct. 11, 2013 [Dkt. No. 39].) A further show cause hearing was held on October 18, 2013.

LEGAL STANDARD

“‘The power of a court of equity to modify a decree of injunctive relief . . . is long-established, broad, and flexible.’” United States v. W. Elec. Co., 46 F.3d 1198, 1202 (D.C. Cir. 1995) (quoting N.Y. State Ass’n for Retarded Children, Inc. v. Carey, 706 F.2d 956, 967 (2d Cir. 1983)); see also United States v. Swift & Co., 286 U.S. 106, 114 (1932) (“A continuing decree of injunction directed to events to come is subject always to adaptation as events may shape the need.”); Thompson v. U.S. Dep’t Of Hous. & Urban Dev., 404 F.3d 821, 825 (4th Cir. 2005) (“It has long been recognized that courts are vested with the inherent power to modify injunctions they have issued.”). “The source of the power to modify is of course the fact that an injunction often requires continuing supervision by the issuing court and always a continuing willingness to apply its powers and processes on behalf of the party who obtained that equitable relief.” Sys. Fed’n No. 91 v. Wright, 364 U.S. 642, 647 (1961).

Thus, “[a]t the request of the party who sought the equitable relief, a court may tighten the decree in order to accomplish its intended result.” W. Elec. Co., 46 F.3d at 1202 (citing United States v. United Shoe Mach. Corp., 391 U.S. 244, 252 (1968) (“[T]he District Court should modify the decree so as to achieve the required result with all appropriate expedition.”); see also 1250 24th St. Assocs. v. Brown, 684 F.Supp. 326, 328 (D.D.C. 1988); 11A Charles Alan Wright & Arthur Miller, Federal Practice and Procedure § 2961 (2d ed.). The Court’s essential inquiry, then, is whether modification or clarification is necessary to achieve the intended result of its February 6, 2013 Order. See 1250 24th St. Assocs., 684 F.Supp. at 328.[4]

ANALYSIS

I. THE COURT RETAINS JURISDICTION TO MODIFY OR CLARIFY THE ORDER WHILE IT IS ON APPEAL.

As a preliminary matter, the Court must assure itself that it has jurisdiction to modify or clarify the February 6, 2013 Order. See Cobell v. Norton, 240 F.3d 1081, 1094 (D.C. Cir. 2001). Rodberg argues that this Court lacks jurisdiction because that Order is currently pending appeal. (Answer at 3-4.) Generally, “filing a notice of appeal . . . confers jurisdiction on the court of appeals and divests the district court of its control over those aspects of the case involved in the appeal.” Griggs v. Provident Consumer Disc. Co., 459 U.S. 56, 58 (1982). However, it is settled that “after appeal the trial court may, if ...


Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.