Saturday, August 11, 2007

The State Court Case Is Concluded . . . #20

Good morning everyone! I promised more information on the state court case and finally have a few moments to post.

The state court case, originally filed in the district court of Bourbon County is concluded and all factors were ruled in favor of the Ranch.

In short, the document signed by both parties and the judge states:


1. The court had jurisdiction over the parties and the subject matter.

2. American Plastic Equipment, Inc. has "no protected or actionable interest in the trademarks: Circle X Ranch, Johnny West Adventure, Best of the West, Fort Apache Fighters, Johnny West or Marxman/Marxman Bros under KSA 81-202 or Kansas common law."


American threw in the towel in state court after failing to get a dismissal on 'lack of justiciable controversy.' They also had several other motions pending against them. They claim to not care about state law because they're gonna get us under federal law darn it! Funny, it took a year and a half of hard litigation for them to decide they didn't care about Kansas . . .

Well, now it's up to another judge to decide. I've filed a motion to dismiss their federal case based on the concept of 'res judicata' which is lawyer-speak for 'it's already been decided.'

The law says that once a question, claim, property right or legal matter has been decided in one court that you can't revisit it or attack it in another court, even if you use another set of laws. As far as Kansas is concerned, the Ranch is the owner of the trademarks and American can't say anything about how we run our business or name our products.

Courts are pretty adamant about property rights. Once a court decides that someone owns something, another court can't take it away.

Here is a quote from a case decided in January of this year in the 10th Circuit [that is the federal appellate circuit where Kansas is located and whose law Kansas follows]:


"Where the successful pursuit of a federal claim based on such facts would undermine a prior state judgment or impair rights established thereby, such claim cannot survive application of res judicata principles. Judicial economy is not the only basis for the doctrine of res judicata. Res judicata also preserves the integrity of judgments and protects those who rely on them. Copeland v. Ballard, 05-7085 (10th Cir. 1-24-2007)"


I've presented my side to the judge. American gets to speak their piece and then the judge will decide how to apply the law. He can't make it up, he has to refer to and apply the law that has already been decided ['stare decisis' is the legal term for those folks who are interested. It means 'to stand by things decided.']

As it stands today, there is a state court judgment on property rights, three federally registered trademarks, three state registered trademarks and two pending federal registered trademarks - all decided the Ranch's favor. In the one remaining court case we've also gotten it transferred back to the court that American wanted to stay out of. I'll keep you posted on what happens next.

In real life, all claims of 'legal contracts' are based in the simple concept of property rights. I can claim to own your house, heck, I could even rent it out while you are on vacation and I knew where you hid your keys. But, do I own your house? Just because I say I do? And does the renter have the right to use your house, even if they claim to pay me rent? Just because I told them it was okay and that I owned the property? Think about it and apply your common sense.

As always, if you have any questions, please contact me at and ask away. Gossip, rumors, and innuendo are just that. The only opinion that really matters is rendered by a guy in a black robe. Let's see what he has to say.

Thanks to everyone for their support - Terri