MBK Secures Summary Judgment Win in Breach of Settlement Agreement

MBK secured a summary judgment win for a military defense contractor in the US District Court for the Middle District of Pennsylvania in a case involving breach of a settlement agreement.

Helicopter Helmet commenced actions against Gentex in federal court in Delaware and state court in Florida asserting antitrust claims relating to some of the same issues involved in the earlier trademark litigation.  The Florida action was voluntarily withdrawn by Helicopter Helmet and the Delaware action was dismissed in a ruling that was affirmed by the Third Circuit in Helicopter Helmet, LLC v. Gentex Corp., 774 F. App’x 96 (2019).  While the antitrust claims were pending, MBK filed a breach of contract action on behalf of Gentex against Helicopter Helmet in the Middle District of Pennsylvania to enforce a settlement agreement between the parties related to a 2012 trademark infringement lawsuit also commenced by MBK on behalf of Gentex.

On April 13, 2021, Judge Matthew W. Brann entered summary judgment in favor of Gentex, finding that the release of claims “in any way related to” the prior litigation is construed broadly.  Judge Brann also ruled that Gentex was entitled to recover amounts paid in legal fees to defend against the released claims.  Rejecting Helicopter Helmet’s argument that attorneys fees are not recoverable absent an agreement or statute, Judge Brann explained:  “[T]he Court is not compensating Gentex for the expenses it incurred in conducting this lawsuit and establishing its breach of contract claim.  Instead, the Court is making Gentex whole for the cost of being forced to litigate claims that Helicopter Helmet brought in breach of the settlement agreement.”

The MBK team was led by Donna A. Walsh and Suzanne C. Scanlon.

Read news coverage on this topic:

Helicopter Helmet Co. Has To Pay Rival’s Bill For Antitrust Suit – Law360