Reebok CCM Contests Sanction Fees from Startup Hockey-Helmet Design Company

In September of 2015, Hefter Impact Technologies LLC filed suit against Reebok-CCM Hockey alleging that Reebok contractually owed royalties on CCM helmets that were derivative of Hefter designs. Hefter is a startup hockey-helmet design company, and it asserts that it has an existing royalty agreement after CCM used Hefter’s outer shell design on a popular hockey helmet. Hefter now alleges that CCM owes it royalties on later helmet models that are also based on its outer shell design. These helmets are so popular that they are worn by a third of all NHL players.

In January of 2017, Hefter brought a sanctions motion arguing that CCM employees disregarded a litigation memo hold and destroyed emails, attachments, and contents of a product manager’s laptop computer with hard copy files. In August, U.S. District Judge F. Dennis Saylor IV awarded Hefter the reasonable attorneys’ fees and costs it spent on bringing its sanctions motion, however the Judge did add that severe sanctions were not warranted “in light of the weak showing of prejudice and…lack of intent to deprive [Hefter] of evidence.” Hefter then requested $54,000 in related attorneys’ fees.

CCM now claims that the “$54,000 in fees and costs that [Hefter] seeks are unreasonable and/or were not incurred in connection with any alleged spoliation, only a small fraction of that amount should be warranted.” CCM now urges Judge Saylor to grant the company only $12,665.46.

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