Dean must now pay over $150,000 of Gibson’s legal costs

While that’s no small amount, Dean avoided having to pay Gibson’s attorney fees.

A judge has ordered Dean Guitars parent company Armadillo to pay almost $160,000 in Gibson’s legal costs as a result of the two’s lengthy trademark dispute. However, Gibson failed to fully demonstrate what its attorney’s fees would be, and so Armadillo avoided a potentially much higher bill.

After a Texas court found in Gibson’s favour with regards to multiple counts of trademark infringement, Gibson had requested Armadillo pay both its attorney’s fees and other costs associated with the case. However, Yesterday (11 April 2023) a judge ruled that Gibson was entitled to its costs, but not its attorney’s fees, as it had not sufficiently demonstrated what the latter amount should be.

Presiding Judge Amos Mazzant notes that Gibson only provided two declarations from its attorneys. For one, “[Gibson’s attorney] never explains a single task her firm performed at all. Instead, she merely asserts that her firm’s services were reasonable and necessary.” For the other, the attorney only provided a “general summary” that proved insufficient to justify Gibson being owed its fees. Given this, the court could not determine how much Armadillo should owe Gibson, hence the request was denied.

Mazzant also denies Gibson the chance to re-file the application for fees with more detail, citing a previous ruling to argue that litigants “take their chances” that a request will be denied when they “submit vague or incomplete applications.”

On the other hand, Mazzant did of course grant Gibson its request for associated legal costs. The $157,788.48 Gibson can recover includes, among other administrative costs, clerk and marshal fees, fees for obtaining transcripts and compensation for court-appointed experts. Despite some challenges from Armadillo regarding these, Gibson successfully demonstrated why it should receive its full costs.

Armadillo hence has 14 days to pay Gibson the near-$160,000 fee.

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