United States District Court, W.D. Virginia, Charlottesville Division
Glen E. Conrad Senior United States District Judge
case is presently before the court on the motion for leave to
intervene filed by Global Standard Gemeinnützige Gmbh
(“GSG”). For the reasons set forth below, the
motion will be granted.
April 13, 2018, Savvy Rest, Inc. (“Savvy Rest”)
filed this action against Sleeping Organic, LLC
(“Sleeping Organic”), alleging violations of the
Lanham Act and Virginia law. Savvy Rest asserts, among other
claims, that Sleeping Organic violated the Lanham Act by
falsely advertising on its commercial website that Sleeping
Organic's mattresses are certified to meet the
requirements of the Global Organic Textile Standard
7, 2018, Sleeping Organic moved to dismiss the case for lack
of personal jurisdiction and improper venue or, in the
alternative, to transfer the case to the District of South
Carolina. The court took the motion under advisement and
permitted Savvy Rest to engage in limited jurisdictional
discovery. Upon the completion of such discovery, the parties
filed supplemental briefs on the issues of personal
jurisdiction and venue. The court denied the motion to
dismiss or transfer on March 29, 2019.
April 15, 2019, the court granted Savvy Rest's motion for
leave to file a second amended complaint. The second amended
complaint was filed that same day. On May 6, 2019, Sleeping
Organic filed an answer to the second amended complaint.
Sleeping Organic then filed an amended answer on May 23,
25, 2019, the court issued a revised scheduling order.
Pursuant to the order, the parties have until May 1, 2020 to
complete discovery. A jury trial is currently scheduled to
begin on June 15, 2020.
August 30, 2019, GSG filed the instant motion for leave to
intervene. According to the motion, GSG is a German entity
formed to implement the GOTS program. GSG owns two
federally-registered certification marks, which form part of
the dispute between Savvy Rest and Sleeping Organic. On July
5, 2016, GSG obtained a certificate of registration from the
United States Patent and Trademark Office
(“USPTO”) for the GOTS word mark. On December 27,
2016, GSG obtained a certificate of registration from the
USPTO for the GOTS certification logo. GSG seeks to intervene
in this action to pursue claims against Sleeping Organic for
its alleged unauthorized use of GSG's certification
Organic has opposed the motion to intervene, and GSG has
filed a reply brief in support of the motion. The parties
have waived oral argument, and the matter is now ripe for
argues that it is entitled to intervene as a matter of right
under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 24(a), or
alternatively, that the court should permit it to intervene
under Rule 24(b). Because the court will exercise its
discretion to allow GSG to intervene under Rule 24(b), the
court need not decide whether GSG is entitled to intervene as
a matter of right. See Pinnacle Bank v. Bluestone Energy
Sales Corp., No. 7:17-cv-00395, 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS
188948, at *3 (W.D. Va. Nov. 14, 2017) (citing United
States ex rel. MPA Constr., Inc. v. XL Specialty Ins.
Co., 349 F.Supp.2d 934, 938 (D. Md. 2004)).
United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit has
recognized that “liberal intervention is desirable to
dispose of as much of a controversy involving as many
apparently concerned persons as is compatible with efficiency
and due process.” Feller v. Brock, 802 F.2d
722, 729 (4th Cir. 1986) (internal quotation marks and
citation omitted). Under Rule 24(b), the court may permit
intervention “[o]n timely motion” by any movant
who “has a claim or defense that shares with the main
action a common question of law or fact.” Fed.R.Civ.P.
24(b). In deciding whether to permit intervention, the court
must “consider whether intervention will unduly delay
or prejudice the adjudication of the original parties'
rights.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 24(b)(3). Thus, where a movant
seeks permission to intervene under Rule 24(b), it must
establish each of the following elements: (1) that its motion
is timely; (2) that its claims or defenses have a question of
law or fact in common with the main action; and (3) that
intervention will not result in undue delay or prejudice to
the existing parties. Wright v. Krispy Kreme Doughnuts,
Inc., 231 F.R.D. 475, 479 (M.D. N.C. 2005).
case, GSG has satisfied the threshold element of timeliness.
Although the motion to intervene was filed over a year after
Savvy Rest filed its original complaint, the parties are
still in the early stages of discovery on the merits, and
discovery does not close until May 1, 2020. Consequently, the
case is not “within sight of the terminal” and
will not be “derail[ed]” if GSG is permitted to
intervene. Scardelletti v. Debarr, 265 F.3d 195, 202
(4th Cir. 2001), rev'd on other grounds sub
nom., Devlin v. Scardelletti, 536 U.S. 1, 14
(2002) (internal quotation marks omitted); see also Maxum
Indem. Co. v. Biddle Law Firm, PA, 329 F.R.D. 550,
553-54 (D.S.C. 2019) (holding that a motion to intervene was
timely filed where most of the deadlines in the existing
scheduling order had not yet expired and the parties still
had six months to complete discovery).
second inquiry under Rule 24(b) is whether the movant has a
claim or defense that shares a common question of law or fact
with the original action. This element is also satisfied
here. Savvy Rest claims that Sleeping Organic violated the
Lanham Act by using GSG's certification marks on its
website to falsely advertise that Sleeping Organic's
mattresses are “GOTS Certified.” 2d Am. Compl.
¶ 59, Dkt. No. 41. Likewise, GSG claims that Sleeping
Organic's mattresses are “not GOTS Certified
Mattresses” and ...