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Case 1:16-cv-00654-CMH-TCB Document 1 Filed 06/13/16 Page 1 of 8 PageID# 1

FILED
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
FOR THE EASTERN DISTRICT OF VIRGINIA

ALEXANDRIA DIVISION

20!l) M

13 P 2 21

CLERK US DiSTRICT COURT


al5xahdr:a,
JOHN BOAL PHOTOGRAPHY, LLC,
Plaintiff
Civil No.

V.

(OH /tC&

HANNOVER HOUSE, INC.,


ERIC PARKINSON,

in his individual capacity,


Defendants.

COMPLAINT

Plaintiff JohnBoal Photography, LLC ("Plaintiff'), by and through counsel, hereby

brings this action against Defendants Hannover House, Inc. and Eric Parkinson (collectively
"Defendants"). In support. Plaintiff alleges as follows:

THE PARTIES

1.

PlaintiffJohn BoalPhotography, LLC is a Virginia limited liability company,

with its principal place of business at 4520 King Street, #708, Alexandria, VA 22302.
2.

Plaintiff is engaged in the business of photography and video production.

3.

Plaintiff's work has appeared in publications such as The New York Times, The

Washington Post, USA Today, The Portland Press-Herald, TheRecord (Bergen County, New
Jersey), and been used by marketing agencies such as Edelman and Rally Marketing.

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4.

Plaintiffs work has been honored by the Virginia Press Association, the Virginia

News Photographers Association, Southern Newspaper Association, and the National Press
Photographers Association.

5.

Upon information and belief. DefendantHannover House, Inc. ("Hannover") is an

Arkansas corporationwith its principal place of business at 1428 Chester Avenue, Springdale,
Arkansas 72764. Hannover operates as a media company, handling production and distribution
for feature films, including the 2015 release The Algerian. On December 31, 2007, Hannover's

corporate registration with the Arkansas Secretary of State has been revoked for non-payment of
state franchise tax.

6.

Upon information and belief. Defendant Eric Parkinson ("Parkinson") is the

President and Secretaryof HannoverHouse, Inc., and is responsible for both its management and
day-to-day operations. By virtue of Hannover's corporate registrationbeing revoked, Parkinson
is personally liable for all actions by Hannover.

JURISDICTION AND VENUE

7.

This is a civil action seeking statutory damages for copyright infringement under

the copyright laws ofthe United States, 17. U.S.C. 101 et seq., and damagesfor breach of
contract under Virginia state law.

8.

This Court has jurisdiction over Plaintiffs copyright infringement claim pursuant

to 28 U.S.C. 1331,1332(a), and 1338(a), and supplemental jurisdiction over Plaintiffs breach
of contract claim pursuant to 28 U.S.C. 1367(a).

9.

This Court has personal jurisdiction over Hannover and Parkinson pursuant to Va.

Code Ann. 8.01-328.1, by virtue of their transacting business within the Commonwealth.

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10.

Venue is proper in this District pursuant to 28 U.S.C. 1391 because a substantial

part of the events or omissions giving rise to the claims occurred herein, and because all
defendants are subject to this Court's personal jurisdiction.

FACTUAL ALLEGATIONS

11.

On August 7,2015, Plaintiff received a phone call from Parkinson, requesting that

Plaintiff provide photography services at the premier of the film "The Algerian," taking place

that evening and the next - August 7 and 8,2015 - at the Regal Majestic Theater in SilverSpring,
Maryland (hereinafter referred to as the "Premier"). After discussing the terms. Plaintiff entered

into a contract with Defendants to provide photography services at the first night of the Premier
only on August 7,2015 in exchange for a payment of four hundred dollars ($400). Exhibit 1.
12.

After discussion with the film's director later that night, and with Parkinson the

next morning. Plaintiff and Defendants agreed that Plaintiff would also provide photography
services the second night of the Premier, August 8th, and that total compensation for the two
night's work would be one thousand dollars ($1,000). This was memorialized in an email from
Plaintiff to Parkinson on the afternoon of August 8th. Exhibit 2.
13.

Plaintiff fully performed all work on August 7th and 8th, and delivered the final

photographs to Defendants each night after the work for such night was complete. On August 8,
2015, Defendants published Plaintiffs photographsfrom the first night of the premier online,
through Hannover's social media accounts on Twitter and Facebook. Exhibit 3. On August 9,
2015, Defendants published Plaintiffs photographsfrom the second night of the premier online.

Id. Since August 8th, Defendants havepublished a total of fifteen (15) of Plaintiff s photographs
online.

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14.

On August 10,2015, Plaintiff invoiced Defendants for the work performed at the

Premier, with payment due by September 9,2015. Exhibit 4. Defendants at no time disputed this
due date. Although Defendants had already published Plaintiff's photographs online, Plaintiffdid
not receive payment by the September9,2015 due date nor at any time since.
15.

On September 15, 2015, six days after the payment due date and one month since

Defendants published the photographs online. Plaintiffstill had not received payment, and
Plaintiffs photographs were still publicallypublished and available on Hannover's social media

accounts on Twitterand Facebook. At that time. Plaintiffsent an email to Parkinson inquiring


about payment and including a copy of the open invoice. Exhibit 5. Neither Parkinsonnor
anyone else from Hannover ever responded to this email.
16.

On October 13,2015, one month after the invoice due date and two months since

Defendants published the photographs online. Plaintiffstill had not received payment, and
Plaintiffs photographs were still publicallypublished and available on Hannover's social media
accounts on Twitter and Facebook. At that time. Plaintiff sent a second email to Parkinson

inquiring about payment of the open invoice. Parkinson responded by email and claimedthat the
invoice had already been paid, but said that he would review Hannover's bank records and

follow up with Plaintiff on October 16,2015. Exhibit 6. Parkinson didnotrespond to Plaintiff by


his own deadline, or any time thereafter.

17.

On October 27,2015, two weeks after Plaintiffs second inquiry. Plaintiff still had

not received payment or any response from Defendants, and Plaintiffs photographs were still
publically published and available on Hannover's social media accounts on Twitter and

Facebook. As a result. Plaintiffsent a third email to Parkinson stating that Plaintiffnever


received a check in the mail, and that there was no recordof a paymentin Plaintiffs bank

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statements. Exhibit 7. Neither Parkinsonnor anyone from Hannover ever respondedto this
email.

18.

On November 24, 2015, eleven weeks after the agreed-to invoice payment date

and over 100days since Defendants published Plaintiff's photographs online.Defendants still

had not tendered payment to Plaintiff, and Plaintiffs photographs were stillpublically published
and available on Hannover's social media accounts. At that time. Plaintiff sent an additional

email request for payment and attached a copy of the invoice. Exhibit 8. Neither Parkinson nor
anyone else from Hannover ever responded to this email.

19.

On December 10, 2015, three months after the agreed-to invoice payment date

and four months since Defendants published Plaintiffs photographs online.Plaintiff still had not
received payment or any response from Parkinson or anyone else at Hannover, and Plaintiffs
photographs were still publically published and available on Hannover's social media accounts.
At that time. Plaintiff, through counsel, notified Defendants that Defendants were in breach of

contract with Plaintiff, and requested payment in full of the amount owed. Exhibit 9.

20.

On May 9, 2016, eight months after the agreed-to invoice payment date and nine

months since Defendants published Plaintiffs photographs online, Plaintiff still had not received

payment or any response from Parkinson or anyone else at Hannover, and PlamtifPsphotographs
were still publically published and available on Hannover's social media accoimts. At that time.
Plaintiff, through counsel, sent Defendants a final request for settlement. Exhibit 10.

21.

As of the date of this Complaint, Plaintiffhas still not received payment from

Defendants for services rendered in August of 2015 despite multiple requests for such payment,
and Plaintiffs photographs are still publically published and available on Hannover's social
media accounts.

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CLAIMS FOR RELIEF


Count I - Breach of Contract

22.

Plaintiffhereby incorporates by reference and re-alleges the allegations in the

preceding paragraphs.

23.

On August 7,2015, Plaintiff and Defendants entered into a contract, which was

mutually amended on August 8,2015. Underthe termsof the final contract, the parties agreed

Plaintiffwould provide photography services to Defendants on bothnights of the Premier, and


Defendants would pay Plaintiffa fee of one thousand dollars ($1,000) for such services.
24.

Plaintiff provided the photography services as agreed under the contract, and

promptly invoiced Defendants on August 10,2015 for the fee owed. Exhibit 4.

25.

Defendants accepted the photographs provided by Plaintiff, and published them

publically online on August 8,2015 through Hannover's social media accounts on Twitter and
Facebook.

26.

Defendants have not paid Plaintiffthe fee owed under the contract, neither by the

due date of September 9, 2015, nor as of the filing of this Complaint, despite Plaintiffs repeated
requests for payment.

27.

By falsely claiming to have made payment on the invoice in Defendants' emails

to Plaintiff, Defendants have admitted to the existence of, the material terms of, and to their own
obligations under, the contract with Plaintiff. Exhibit 6.

28.

Defendants are therefore in breach of the contract with Plaintiff, and Plaintiff is

entitled to damages of at least one thousand dollars ($1,000.00), now due with interest at the
prevailing rate since September 9,2015.

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29.

Because Hannover's Arkansas corporate registration has been revoked, Parkinson,

in his personal capacity, is jointly and severally liablewith Hannover for these damages.
Count II - Copyright Infringement

30.

Plaintiff hereby incorporates by reference and re-allegesthe allegations in the

preceding paragraphs.

31.

By publishingPlaintiff's photographs online without tendering payment due

under the contract. Defendants infringed Plaintiffs copyright in its photographs in violation of
17U.S.C. 106 and 501.

32.

Defendants knew, or recklessly disregarded the fact that (1) the photographs were

subject to Plaintiffs copyright, (2) Defendant's publication of the photographs was not
authorized by Plaintiff or licensedwithout payment under the contract, and (3) Defendants still
have not paid Plaintiff the amount due under the contract.

33.

Defendants' infringement of Plaintiffs copyright in its photographs was therefore

willful, and Plaintiffis entitled to statutory damages for willful infringement pursuant to 17
U.S.C. 504.

34.

Plaintiff is also entitled to attorney's fees incurred in bringing this action,

pursuant to 17 U.S.C. 505.

35.

Because Hannover's Arkansas corporate registration has been revoked, Parkinson,

in his personal capacity, is jointly and severally liablewith Hannover for these damages.

PRAYER FOR RELIEF

WHEREFORE, Plaintiff respectfully requests that this Court:

1.

Award Plaintiff expectation damages of one thousand dollars ($1,000) with

interestaccruing since September 9,2015, for Defendants' breachof the contractwith Plaintiff;

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2.

Award Plaintiff statutory copyrightdamages, pursuant to 17 U.S.C. 504, in the

amount of one hundred and fifty thousand dollars ($150,000) for Defendants' infringement of
each of Plaintiff's fifteen (15) photographs, for a total award of two million two hundred and
fifty thousand dollars ($2,250,000);

3.

AwardPlaintiffattorney's fees and full costs pursuant to 17 U.S.C. 505 and

otherwise according to law; and

4.

Grant any such other relief as this Court deemsjust and proper.

DEMAND FOR JURY TRIAL

Pursuant to Fed. R. Civ. P. 38, Plaintiff demands trial by jury in this action of all issues
so triable.

Dated: June 13,2016

Respectfully submitted.

CHRISTINA SIROIS (VSB No. 84454)


DAN BACKER (VSB No. 78256)
DB Capitol Strategies, PLLC
203 South Union Street, Suite 300
Alexandria, Virginia 22314
Telephone: (571) 207-6451
Fax: (202) 478-0750
csirois@dbcapitolstrategies.com
dbacker@dbcapitolstrategies.com

Counselfor John Boal Photography, LLC