United States District Court, E.D. Virginia, Norfolk Division
CARLTON F. BENNETT, and BENNETT AND SHARP, PLLC, Plaintiffs,
JOHN E. ZYDRON and ZYDRON LAW FIRM, PLLC, Defendants.
REBECCA BEACH SMITH CHIEF JUDGE.
matter comes before the court on the Motions to Dismiss filed
by Defendant John E. Zydron ("John Zydron") and
Defendant Zydron Law Firm, PLLC ("Zydron Law Firm")
on March 21, 2017, and April 6, 2017, respectively, and
accompanying Memoranda in Support. ECF Nos. 6, 7, 15, 16. The
Plaintiffs filed a Memorandum in Opposition to John
Zydron's Motion to Dismiss on April 4, 2017. ECF No. 13.
John Zydron filed a Rebuttal Brief on April 10, 2017. ECF No.
17. The Plaintiffs filed a Memorandum in Opposition to Zydron
Law Firm's Motion to Dismiss on April 20, 2017. ECF No.
20. Zydron Law Firm filed a Reply on April, 26. 2017. ECF No.
April 11, 2017, this court referred the Motions to Dismiss
and Memoranda in Support to United States Magistrate Judge
Robert J. Krask, pursuant to the provisions of 28 U.S.C.
§ 636(b)(1)(B) and Federal Rule of Civil Procedure
72(b), to conduct hearings, including evidentiary hearings,
if necessary, and to submit to the undersigned district judge
proposed findings of fact, if applicable, and recommendations
for the disposition of the Motions. ECF No. 18.
Magistrate Judge filed the Report and Recommendation
("R&R") on August 17, 2017. ECF No. 23. The
Magistrate Judge recommended that both John Zydron's
Motion to Dismiss and Zydron Law Firm's Motion to Dismiss
be denied. R&R at 1. By copy of the R&R, the parties
were advised of their right to file written objections to the
findings and recommendations made by the Magistrate Judge.
See id. at 16. On August 21, 2017, John Zydron filed
Objections to the R&R, ECF No. 24, and on September 5,
2017, the Plaintiffs filed a Response. ECF No. 26. On August
29, 2017, Zydron Law Firm filed an Objection to the R&R,
ECF No. 25, and on September 12, 2017, the Plaintiffs filed a
Response. ECF No. 27.
to Rule 72(b) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, the
court, having reviewed the record in its entirety, shall make
a de novo determination of those portions of the
R&R to which the Defendants have specifically objected.
Fed.R.Civ.P. 72(b). The court may accept, reject, or modify,
in whole or in part, the recommendation of the Magistrate
Judge, or recommit the matter to him with instructions. 28
U.S.C. § 636(b) (1).
Defendants' Motions to Dismiss allege that Plaintiff
Carlton F. Bennett ("Bennett") lacks statutory
standing to bring the complaint under the Lanham Act. ECF No.
7 at 3-4; ECF No. 16 at 3-5. In the R&R, the Magistrate
Judge disagrees, stating both that the complaint demonstrates
Bennett has pled an injury to a commercial interest in his
reputation and that Bennett has pled individual injury
proximately caused by Defendants' alleged Lanham Act
violations. R&R at 9-10.
Objections to the R&R, the Defendants oppose the
Magistrate Judge's finding that Bennett can maintain the
suit as an individual. John Zydron Obj . to R&R at 3, ECF
No. 24; Zydron Law Firm Obj. to R&R at 3, ECF No. 25.
These objections are "nothing more than a rehashing of
the arguments raised in [the Defendants' Motions to
Dismiss], " Nichols v. Colvin, 100 F.Supp.3d
487, 497 (E.D. Va. 2015); see John Zydron Mem. in Support at
3, ECF No. 7; Zydron Law Firm Mem. in Support at 5, ECF No.
Fourth Circuit has clearly stated that a party must object to
an R&R "with sufficient specificity so as reasonably
to alert the district court of the true ground for the
objection." United States v. Midgette, 478 F.3d
616, 622 (4th Cir. 2007) . The Objections filed by the
Defendants do not attempt to undermine the Magistrate
Judge's findings or recommendations by presenting
additional arguments. Such general and blanket objections do
not require this court to make de novo
determinations of the R&R findings. See Nichols,
100 F.Supp.3d at 498; Williams v. Astrue, No.
2:09cr60, 2010 WL 395631, at *1 (E.D. Va. Feb. 2, 2010).
even after undertaking a de novo review, as though
the Defendants had filed Objections to the R&R with
specificity and particularity, the court agrees with the
Magistrate Judge's finding, that Bennett has individual
standing to bring the complaint under the Lanham Act.
Accordingly, John Zydron's and Zydron Law Firms's
Objections are hereby OVERRULED.
Claims Against Defendant John Zydron
Zydron's Motion to Dismiss alleges that he is not
personally liable for the actions of Zydron Law Firm in
allegedly placing false and misleading materials on its
website, because he is a principal of a limited liability
company. John Zydron Mem. in Support at 2. In the R&R,
the Magistrate Judge disagrees, finding that the Plaintiffs
"do not seek to impose liability on Mr. Zydron simply by
reason of his being a member or manager of the defendant
PLLC. Instead, the complaint alleges that Mr. Zydron
personally engaged in the reported misconduct." R&R