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.

GenoSource, LLC v. Inguran, LLC

United States District Court, N.D. Iowa, Cedar Rapids Division

November 16, 2018

GENOSOURCE, LLC, Plaintiff,
v.
INGURAN, LLC, d/b/a SEXING TECHNOLOGIES, Defendant.

          OPINION

          C. J. Williams, United States District Judge.

         TABLE OF CONTENTS

         I. INTRODUCTION ........................................................................... 2

         II. FACTUAL BACKGROUND ............................................................. 3

         III. ANALYSIS ................................................................................... 6

         A. Arbitrability ............................................................................... 6

         B. Temporary Restraining Order Versus Preliminary Injunction .................... 8

         C. The Propriety of a Temporary Restraining Order .................................. 9

         1. Likelihood of Success on the Merits ............................................. 10

         2. Threat of Irreparable Harm ........................................................ 15

         3. Balance of Harms ................................................................... 19

         4. Public Interest ........................................................................ 21

         D. Balance of all Factors .................................................................... 22

         IV. BOND ......................................................................................... 23

         V. CONCLUSION .............................................................................. 25

         I. INTRODUCTION

         This matter is before the Court on plaintiff's Motion for Temporary Restraining Order and Preliminary and Mandatory Injunction. (Doc. 11). Plaintiff seeks a “temporary restraining order and subsequent preliminary injunction barring defendant Inguran LLC d/b/a Sexing Technologies (“ST”)” from: (1) taking any further action to market or sell plaintiff's Holstein cattle or their genetic materials; and (2) engaging in actions that could injure or harm those animals and materials. (Doc. 11, at 1). Plaintiff further seeks a “preliminary mandatory injunction” requiring defendant to quarantine plaintiff's animals, release them to plaintiff, and provide any paperwork necessary for their transportation to plaintiff's facility in Iowa. (Id.). On Friday, November 9, 2018, the Court held a hearing on the portion of plaintiff's motion seeking a temporary restraining order, preserving to a later date consideration of plaintiff's prayer for a preliminary mandatory injunction. Both parties offered argument on plaintiff's motion for a temporary restraining order and, although presented with the opportunity to offer testimony, declined to do so.

         On November 9, 2018, following the hearing, the Court granted plaintiff's motion for a temporary restraining order and held as follows:

Defendant Inguran, LLC (d/b/a Sexing Technologies), its officers, agents, assignees, servants, employees and attorneys, and all persons in active concert or participation with any of the foregoing, including distributors and agents, who receive actual notice of this Order by personal service or otherwise, are hereby temporarily restrained from:
(1) marketing, offering to sell, or selling any of the 40 animals (“the Cattle”) identified on Exhibit A to the Declaration of Tim Rauen (Doc. 11-5, at 16-17);
(2) marketing, offering to sell, or selling any genetic material, including, but not limited to, bull semen, oocytes, and embryos, obtained from the aforementioned Cattle;
(3) taking any action to extract and/or collect any genetic material from the Cattle;
(4) taking any action or omission that could injure, kill, or threaten the health of the Cattle, their genetic material, or their reproductive capabilities; and (5) moving the Cattle and their genetic material from the states in which the Cattle and the genetic material are currently located.

(Doc. 28, at 1-2). In addition, the Court imposed a $50, 000.00 bond, payable by plaintiff. (Id., at 2). In the Temporary Restraining Order, the Court stated that the reasons for issuing the Temporary Restraining Order would “be more fully explained in a subsequent order.” (Id., at 1). This Opinion provides the further explanation to which the Temporary Restraining Order referred.[1]

         II. FACTUAL BACKGROUND[2]

         On October 25, 2018, plaintiff filed its complaint in this Court alleging a single count of conversion. (Doc. 1). Plaintiff is in the cattle business and generates its revenue primarily from selling milk from its dairy cows. (Id., at 1). Plaintiff generates additional revenue from the sale of cattle out of its commercial herd, the sale of genetic materials and/or genetically superior cattle, and from other services provided to dairy farmers and breeders. (Id., at 1-2).

         In support of its conversion claim, plaintiff alleges that defendant currently has possession of forty Holstein cattle and certain genetic materials from the cattle. (Id., at 4). Defendant is housing these cattle and genetic materials in various locations across the country. (Id., at 13). Plaintiff alleges that the cattle and genetic materials are owned by plaintiff and that defendant is “exercis[ing] wrongful dominion and control” over those cattle and genetic materials by refusing to release the cattle and genetic materials to plaintiff. (Id., at 4). Additionally, plaintiff argues that defendant has unilaterally slaughtered certain of plaintiff's cattle without consulting plaintiff and without plaintiff's consent. (Id., at 13).

         Defendant, on the other hand, argues that it has a possessory right to the cattle and that defendant's possessory interest in the cattle is superior to any claim of interest plaintiff may have in the cattle. (Doc. 23, at 3). Specifically, defendant states that it operates a successful cattle breeding program under the Nature's Finest Joint Venture Agreement (“JV Agreement”) and that plaintiff is a member of the joint venture. (Id.). As an alleged party to the JV Agreement, defendant argues that plaintiff granted defendant a possessory interest in the cattle at issue and that plaintiff cannot withdraw its cattle from the program without first following certain contractually provided steps. (Id., at 3-4). Plaintiff asserts that it is not a party to the JV Agreement. (See Doc. 1, at 3-4). Although defendant acknowledges that plaintiff never signed the JV Agreement, defendant argues that plaintiff became a party to the JV Agreement through other means, including through plaintiff's conduct. (Doc. 23, at 4).

         The object of the joint venture is to develop “exclusive, high quality lineages of bulls, whose genetic characteristics are superior to any other on the market.” (Id., at 3). In furtherance of this purpose, defendant collects semen from bulls that are owned by parties to the JV Agreement, then sorts that semen according to sperm cells that contain X chromosomes and sperm cells that contain Y chromosomes. The “sexed semen” can then be used to fertilize an egg. Sex sorting semen drastically increases the likelihood of the resulting offspring being one specific gender. The sexed semen is extremely valuable, both for its value as being sexed and for the superior genetic qualities of the sperm in the semen.

         Defendant markets and sells both sexed semen and conventional (unsexed) semen to the public and splits the profits with the owner of the cattle that furnished the semen. Although plaintiff contends that it is not a party to the JV Agreement, plaintiff admits that this process of sex-sorting semen, then marketing and selling both conventional and sexed semen, took place with the cattle at issue, and that plaintiff received proceeds from the sale of such genetic materials.

         Some of the genetic materials that defendant collects from cows and bulls is used to create additional cattle with superior genetic characteristics. Defendant contends that the offspring of cattle that were a part of the JV program are, likewise, born into the JV program. Certain of the cattle at issue are offspring of animals that are either in the JV program or are alleged to be in the JV program. Defendant therefore contends that those cattle are a part of the JV program.

         Plaintiff contends that it is attempting to expand its business to permit plaintiff to perform the sex sorting and fertilization that defendant currently performs. Doing so will allow plaintiff to eliminate defendant as a provider of necessary services. Further, plaintiff characterizes this expansion as the natural next step in its business model. As such, plaintiff asserts that its ...


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.