Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

Panther Brands, LLC v. Indy Racing League, LLC

Court of Appeals of Indiana

June 6, 2019

Panther Brands, LLC and Panther Racing, LLC, Appellants-Plaintiffs/Counter-Defendants,
v.
Indy Racing League, LLC d/b/a Indycar, Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing, LLC and Document and Packaging Brokers, Inc. d/b/a Docupak, Appellees-Defendants/ Counter-Plaintiffs.

          Appeal from the Marion Superior Court Trial Court Cause No. 49D01-1402-CT-4557, The Honorable Heather A. Welch, Judge

          Attorneys for Appellants James R. Fisher Debra H. Miller Miller & Fisher, LLC Indianapolis, Indiana

          Attorneys for Appellees Indy Racing League, LLC d/b/a Indycar Angela P. Krahulik Jenny R. Buchheit Ice Miller, LLP Indianapolis, Indiana Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing, LLC Robert D. MacGill Alexander P. Orlowski Barnes & Thornburg, LLP Indianapolis, Indiana Document and Packaging Brokers, Inc. d/b/a Docupak Laura S. Reed Sarah M. Marr Riley Bennett Egloff, LLP Indianapolis, Indiana

          STATEMENT OF THE CASE

          RILEY, JUDGE.

         [¶1] Appellants-Plaintiffs, Panther Brands, LLC and Panther Racing, LLC (collectively, Panther[1]), appeal the trial court's summary judgment in favor of Appellees-Defendants, Indy Racing League LLC d/b/a Indycar (Indycar); Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing LLC (RLL); and Document and Packing Brokers, Inc. d/b/a Docupak (Docupak) (Collectively, Defendants), finding no genuine issue of material fact that Section 9.15 of the 2013 contract entered into between Panther Brands and Indycar did not prohibit Indycar from providing RLL with access to Fan Village space in 2014 and, therefore, Defendants were entitled to judgment as a matter of law.

         [¶2] We affirm. ISSUES

         [¶3] Panther raises three issues on appeal, which we restate as follows:

(1)Whether the trial court erred in concluding, as a matter of law, that the contract between Panther Brands and Indycar did not prohibit Indycar from providing RLL access to the Fan Village in 2014 for the benefit of the Army National Guard (ARNG);
(2)Whether the trial court erred in granting summary judgment in favor of Defendants on Panther's claim of bid-rigging; and
(3)Whether the trial court erred in narrowly construing the tort of unfair competition and refusing to extend the tort to include claims for the perceived misuse of confidential information.

         FACTS AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY

         [¶4] Panther Racing was an Indycar race team, competing in the Indycar series until 2014.[2] Panther Brands operated as the marketing and brand management arm of Panther Racing. Both Panther Racing and Panther Brands were subsidiaries of CAT Holdings. At all times during these proceedings, Panther was an Indiana entity with its principal place of business in Indianapolis, Indiana.

         [¶5] Indycar is the sanctioning body for the Indycar Series, with Mark Miles (Miles) as its CEO. It is an Indiana company, with its principal place of business in Speedway, Indiana. RLL is an Indycar race team which served as its own marketing services and brand management company. It was a competitor to Panther and is located in Brownsburg, Indiana.

         [¶6] Between 2008 and 2013, Panther's main sponsor was the ARNG. The ARNG did not enter into direct sponsorship contracts with race teams; rather, to sponsor an Indycar race team in any given season, the ARNG would contract with Laughlin Marianaccio and Owens, Inc. (LM&O), who, in turn, would subcontract with Docupak. Docupak would then enter into a sponsorship contract with a specific race team selected by the ARNG. Docupak contracted with Panther Brands in 2012 for ARNG to sponsor Panther Racing through the 2013 Indycar season, which contract ended with the last race on October 19, 2013.

         [¶7] In conjunction with the ARNG's sponsorship of Panther Racing during the 2013 Indycar season, Panther Brands and Indycar entered into a 2013 Panther Brands Sponsorship Agreement (Sponsorship Agreement), which was effective as of January 1, 2013 and expired on December 31, 2013. Pursuant to the Sponsorship Agreement, the ARNG became a "non-exclusive promotional partner of [Indycar] and the IZOD IndyCar Series" for the 2013 series. (Appellant's App. Vol. II, p. 123). Through the Sponsorship Agreement, Panther Brands secured various promotional opportunities and privileges from Indycar for the ARNG. For instance, the Agreement provided Panther Brands, among other things, credentials, tickets, video footage, radio advertisements, online marketing, and the placement of ARNG's logo on Indycar-owned equipment. Panther Brands also obtained a "limited, non-transferable and nonexclusive license" to use an area within the Indycar Fan Village (a.k.a. Fan Zone) at each race throughout the 2013 season, subject to various terms and conditions.

         [¶8] Panther and Indycar commenced negotiating the Sponsorship Agreement in February 2013 and executed the Agreement in July 2013. Early in the negotiations, Panther voiced concerns that Indycar wanted to pursue sponsorship arrangements directly with Panther's sponsors, including the ARNG. To alleviate these apprehensions, the parties agreed to insert Section 9.15 into the Sponsorship Agreement, which reads as follows:

[Indycar] agrees that, other than through Panther Brands, it will not enter into sponsorship agreements during the Term and for a period of one (1) year following the Term with the following Panther Brands clients: [ARNG], Lincoln Tech, Drash, TriWest, Oracal and Emergent. It is understood and agreed that the foregoing limitation extends to agreements for the benefit of the sponsors listed in the preceding sentence with agencies or companies representing such sponsors (other than Panther Brands), including, without limitation [Docupak] and [LM&O].

(Appellants' App., Vol. II Conf., p. 129). In addition, Indycar agreed to provide Panther Brands with a limited, non-transferable, and non-exclusive license to use an area of the Fan Village throughout the 2013 race season, subject to the following limitations:

4.6 [Indycar] hereby grants Panther Brands a limited, non-transferable and non-exclusive license to use an area designated for exclusive use by Panther Brands on behalf of the [ARNG] in the Fan Village in the location designated by [Indycar] during practice, qualification and race days at all United States events, subject in each instance, to all limitations on [Indycar's] rights to use the area in which the Fan Village is located as set forth in this Section. It is expressly agreed that this opportunity may not be utilized by Panther Brands on behalf of any Panther Brands' clients other than [ARNG] without the prior written consent of [Indycar].

         (Appellants' App., Vol. II Conf., p. 125). Consistent with the parties' negotiations, Indycar agreed that the ARNG would be "the sole U.S. Armed Forces division to be displayed in the Fan Village during the [t]erm" of the Agreement. (Appellants' App. Vol. II Conf., p. 126). Nevertheless, the Sponsorship Agreement reiterated its non-exclusive relationship in Section 4.5:

Panther Brands, for itself and its designees, hereby acknowledges and agrees that its relationship with [Indycar] is non-exclusive in all respects and that [Indycar] shall have the right to seek and may enter into sponsorship and/or other relationships with third parties including third parties who are competitors of Panther Brands, [ARNG] and/or any ...

Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.