United States District Court, E.D. New York
784 8TH STREET CORP. doing business as Zan's Kosher Delicatessen & Restaurant, PASQUALE RUGGIERO, Plaintiff(s),
DENISE RUGGIERO, Defendant(s).
Bracken Margolin Besunder LLP Attorneys for the Plaintiffs
By: John P. Bracken, Esq., Alison Jaye Arden Besunder, Esq.,
Harvey Bruce Besunder, Esq., David M. Sobotkin, Esq., Zachary
David Dubey, Esq., Of Counsel
Ruggiero Pro Se Defendant
D. SPATT United States District Judge.
Plaintiffs 784 8th Street Corp. and Pasquale
Ruggiero (the “Plaintiffs”) commenced this action
against the Defendant Denise Ruggiero (the
“Defendant”) alleging infringement of their
registered and unregistered trademarks and copyrights.
before the Court are the Defendant's objections to
Magistrate Judge Gary R. Brown's January 10, 2018 Report
and Recommendation (the “R&R”). Judge Brown
recommended that the Court: grant the Plaintiffs' motion
for summary judgment on their first and second causes of
action; deny the Defendant's motion for summary judgment;
and dismiss the Defendant's counterclaims.
following reasons, the R&R is adopted in its entirety.
The Relevant Facts
following facts were found by Magistrate Judge Brown. The
Court will only discuss those facts to which the Defendant
did not object.
action arises out of a long lasting controversy between the
parties over the rights to the name and logo of Zan's
Kosher Delicatessen and Restaurant (“Zan's”).
Zan's is a full-service kosher delicatessen restaurant
and catering service. Pasquale Ruggiero, who is the
Defendant's uncle, and Anthony Ruggiero, the
Defendant's father, established Zan's in 2004. The
brothers were equal partners in the business.
to 2004, Pasquale Ruggiero owned Ben's Kosher Deli
(“Ben's”). As a result of litigation between
the partners of Ben's, Pasquale and Anthony Ruggiero (the
“Ruggiero brothers”) changed the name of
Ben's to Zan's. Once they changed the name, the
Ruggiero brothers used the same advertising and marketing
materials that Ben's had used for many years. They
slightly altered the font, color, and underlining of the
Ben's logo, and added caricatures of the Ruggiero
brothers to the Zan's logo. They uploaded the Zan's
materials to a website, www.zansdeli.com.
Defendant, along with other family members, played a part in
helping to create the logo and materials. The focus of the
R&R, as well as the Defendant's objections, is
whether the Defendant was employed by the Plaintiffs when she
helped to create the logo and materials.
The Relevant Procedural History
October 18, 2013, the Plaintiffs filed their complaint. The
complaint alleges claims for false copyright filing under 15
U.S.C. § 506(e); common law trademark infringement;
false designation of origin under the Lanham Act, 15 U.S.C.
§ 1125(a); common law unfair competition; defamation;
and tortious interference with business relations. The
Plaintiffs seek damages; a declaratory judgment stating that
the Plaintiffs have the sole rights to the ...