NEW ORLEANS — Lisa Rickert, the founder of Jolie Designs and Décor (JDD), has lost an argument in court preventing Annie Sloan Interiors (ASI) from introducing new complaints to its lawsuit against JDD.
In the nine-page ruling by Judge Janis van Meerveld of the U.S. District Court of Eastern Louisiana, the court found the arguments by ASI could be added to its complaint against JDD. Specifically, that JDD had tried to compete with ASI by establishing another company in ASI’s market and that Rickert had disparaged ASI. There also were issues regarding trademark infringement and inappropriate use of internet domain names.
Originally, ASI, which is based in Oxford, England, and JDD had agreed to work together to distribute ASI’s paint products in the United States. JDD was able to create an effective network to distribute ASI’s products, and the American-based company was asked to expand its efforts to include not just North America, but also Central and South America, as well as Australia.
However, the relationship soured as ASI became concerned with how JDD was representing its brand, while JDD felt ASI was becoming too involved with its operations. The two companies went to court, and a partial summary judgment found in favor of ASI's request to terminate its contract with JDD.
The new complaints filed by ASI were made after this judgment. However, ASI argued that it could not have filed the complaints sooner because it did not know about Rickert’s and JDD’s actions until after the pleading amendment deadline had passed.
In the ruling, Meerveld wrote, “the court may consider numerous factors when deciding whether to grant a motion for leave to amend.” These can include factors such as undue delay or bad faith, or, “undue prejudice to the opposing party.” Also, Meerveld wrote, that when a deadline has come and gone, it can be changed by a judge's order.