Federal judge grants preliminary injunction in lawsuit against Kwik Lube

By Kyla Asbury | Feb 2, 2015

HUNTINGTON – A federal just issued an order granting the plaintiff's motion for a preliminary injunction in a lawsuit against Kwik Lube for advertising the use of Valvoline brand oil without having a contract.

On Nov. 24, the plaintiffs, Ashland Inc. and Ashland Licensing & Intellectual Property LLC, appeared at a hearing on their motion for preliminary injunction, seeking to enjoin the defendant from advertising or offering for sale any Valvoline product at his Kwik Lube facility in Huntington

The defendant, Jeff Randolph, who is doing business as Kwik Lube, did not personally appear at the hearing, nor did his counsel attend or file a response to the motion.

"While the court notes defendant’s absence for the record, the court’s ruling is based upon the facts as presented by plaintiffs in their motion and by counsel and not based on the failure of the defendant to appear for the scheduled hearing," the order states.

The defendant leases and operates an automobile repair store in Huntington, where he advertises his store to the general public through signs and displays both on the building itself and around the building, according to the order.

"As part of these advertisements, defendant advertises oil changes using Valvoline products to the general public," the order states.

On May 13, Ashland's employees obtained an oil change on a 2011 Ford Taurus at Kwik Lube and inquired if the defendant could provide an oil change using Valvoline products.

The employee responded in the affirmative and informed the Ashland employees that the Valvoline products are stored in "bulk tanks." Upon completion of the oil change, the employees drove to a Valvoline Express Care facility, where a technician withdrew a sample of the oil placed in the vehicle, which was determined that it was not Valvoline.

The plaintiffs filed the lawsuit because of the deception.

"The court specifically finds that upon review of the plaintiffs' motion for preliminary injunction...that defendant’s conduct in selling a non-Valvoline branded oil as genuine Valvoline oil is causing the plaintiff to suffer irreparable and irreversible harm," according to the order.

Further, the defendant's action is causing damage to the Plaintiff’s goodwill and business reputation in the community and causing significant consumer confusion as to the actual oil used at the defendant’s facility.

District Judge Robert C. Chambers granted the injunction, enjoining and restraining the defendant from using the plaintiffs' registered trademarks, advertising Valvoline, offering Valvoline products for sale at Kwik Lube, and using Valvoline.

Ashland is represented by J. David Bolen and Alexis B. Mattingly of Huddleston Bolen LLP.

U.S. District Court for the Southern District of West Virginia case number: 3:14-cv-23763

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