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Temsa Ulasim Araclari Sanayi Ve Ticaret A.S. v. Ch Bus Sales, LLC

United States District Court, D. Delaware

August 31, 2018

CH BUS SALES, LLC; Defendant.


         Pursuant to Rule 65 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, Plaintiff Temsa Ulasim Araclari Sanyi Ve Ticaret A.S. ("Temsa") has moved for a Temporary Restraining Order and Preliminary Injunction against Defendant CH Bus Sales, LLC ("CH Bus"). (D.I. 20). For the reasons set forth below, the motion for a temporary restraining order is granted in part and denied in part. The motion for preliminary injunction will be decided after discovery and a separate hearing.

         I. BACKGROUND

         A. Governing Contracts

         Temsa manufacturers motorcoaches sold worldwide. (D.I. 21 at 2). In February 2010, Temsa and CH Bus entered into a Distribution Agreement, by which CH Bus became the exclusive distributor and servicer of Temsa motorcoaches in the United States, Canada, Guam, and the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico. (D.I. 1-1, Ex. A to Ex. A, § 1.1). The Distribution Agreement, as amended, requires CH Bus to remit payment for the motorcoaches to Temsa by cash or wire transfer within ninety (90) days of the bill of lading or the time of sale, if sold earlier. (Id. at § 4.5; D.I. 1-1, Ex. B to Ex. A). Finally, the Distribution Agreement provides that any unresolved disputes "arising under this Agreement" shall be submitted to arbitration to be held in New York. (Id. At § 17.3).

         In January 2016, CH Bus and Temsa entered into a Security Agreement that granted Temsa a security interest in each motorcoach "sold ... to date" and each motorcoach "sold hereafter." (D.I. 1-1, Ex. D to Ex. A, Recitals). The security interest secures CH Bus's "Payment Obligation," which is the obligation of CH Bus "to pay the full purchase price for each [motorcoach] pursuant to the terms of the Distribution Agreement." (Id.). The Security Agreement further provides that Temsa holds the security interest in, and retains title to, each motorcoach "until [Temsa] shall have been paid in full" for that motorcoach. (Id. at § 1(a)). Any breach of any Payment Obligation constitutes "an event default" that gives Temsa "all rights and remedies available at law or in equity," including its rights as a secured party under the Uniform Commercial Code. (Id. at § 1 (f)). The Delaware Uniform Commercial Code provides, "After default, a secured party may take possession of the collateral." 6 Del C. § 9-609(a)(1). There does not appear to be any arbitration clause in the Security Agreement.

         B. Motorcoaches At Issue

         Temsa claims that, to date, CH has failed to remit payment for 74 motorcoaches. (D.I. 22 at ¶ 9). The 74 motorcoaches fall into two groups: (i) 41 motorcoaches Temsa financed directly pursuant to the Security Agreement; and (ii) 33 motorcoaches financed by Turkiye Ihracat Kiedi Bankasi A.S., also known as Turk EximBank ("EximBank"). (D.I. 22 at ¶ 6). According to Temsa, CH Bus defaulted under its agreement with EximBank, Temsa satisfied the debt CH Bus owed to EximBank, and EximBank assigned its rights to Temsa. (D.I. 21 at 1 n. 1). Neither EximBank's contract with CH Bus nor EximBank's assignment agreement with Temsa are in the record.[1]Other facts about when and why the assignment occurred are also not in the record. Nevertheless, Temsa's counsel represented at the hearing that EximBank financed only 80% of the purchase price for each motorcoach, leaving CH Bus responsible for paying Temsa directly for the remaining 20%. Because the Security Agreement provides that Temsa retains a security interest in the motorcoach until it is paid in full for that motorcoach, Temsa asserts that it has a security interest in the 33 motorcoaches financed by EximBank, because CH Bus never remitted payment to Temsa for the remaining 20%.[2] Finally, Temsa believes that CH Bus has unlawfully disposed of 57 of the 74 motorcoaches.[3] (D.I. 21 at 6-9).

         C. Procedural History

         On March 22, 2018, Temsa filed a demand for arbitration against CH Bus with the American Arbitration Association. (D.I. 5-1, Ex. C). The arbitration demand asserts claims for breach of contract, breach of the implied covenant of good faith and fair dealing, unjust enrichment, conversion, and an accounting. (Id.). On April 9, 2018, Temsa sued CH Bus in the Delaware Court of Chancery, asserting claims for declaratory judgment, specific performance, and a constructive trust. (D.I. 1-1, Ex. A at ¶¶ 15-40). Based on the representations of Temsa's counsel, it appears that Temsa is asking the court to issue an order that will prevent the loss or destruction of the motorcoaches that serve as collateral until the arbitration is resolved. CH Bus has answered the complaint and filed counterclaims for breaches of contract and tortious interference. (D.I. 26).


         A party seeking a temporary restraining order must show: (1) a likelihood of success on the merits; (2) that it will suffer irreparable harm if the injunction is denied; (3) that granting preliminary relief will not result in even greater harm to the nonmoving party; and (4) that the public interest favors such relief. KOS Pharms., Inc. v. Andrx Corp., 369 F.3d 700 (3d Cir.2004); QVC, Inc. v. Your Vitamins, Inc., 714 F.Supp.2d 291, 297 (D. Del. 2010). In addition to disputing whether Temsa has satisfied each of these four factors, CH Bus has raised two equitable defenses: laches and unclean hands. (D.I. 27 at 6-7, 14-15). Finally, if a temporary restraining order does issue, CH Bus has requested that Temsa post a bond. (Id. at 15). "The court may issue a preliminary injunction or a temporary restraining order only if the movant gives security in an amount that the court considers proper to pay the costs and damages sustained by any party found to have been wrongfully enjoined or restrained." Globus Med, Inc. v. Vortex Spine, LLC, 605 Fed.Appx. 126, 129 (3d Cir. 2015) (quoting Fed.R.Civ.P. 65(c)). The court will address each of these issues in turn.

         A. Injunction Standard

         Success on the Merits. Because the facts upon which Temsa asserts a security interest in the 33 motorcoaches financed by EximBank are not currently in the record, Temsa cannot show at this time that is likely to succeed on the merits with respect to those motorcoaches. The court recognizes that an amended complaint combined with some evidence may remedy this defect and grants leave for Temsa to file such a complaint if it chooses. As for the 41 motorcoaches financed by Temsa, Temsa has shown a likelihood of success on the merits. Temsa has established the existence of a valid contract (the Security Agreement) giving it the right to take immediate possession of a motorcoach if CH Bus has not been paid in full for that motorcoach within 90 days. (D.I. 1-1, Ex. A to Ex. A, § 4.5; D.I. 1-1, Ex. D to Ex. A at § 1). CH Bus has not disputed Temsa's assertion that it has not remitted payment for those 41 motorcoaches financed pursuant to the Security Agreement. Thus, Temsa has shown that it likely has the right to take possession of those 41 motorcoaches.

         Irreparable Harm. As a general matter, "a purely economic injury, compensable in money, cannot satisfy the irreparable injury requirement." Minord Run Oil Co. v. U.S. Forest Service,670 F.3d 236, 255 (3d Cir. 2011). The rule, however, is not absolute. "Where secured creditors (under the UCC or otherwise) seek court intervention to maintain their position, the prospective loss of their status quo security interest has been held sufficient to constitute the irreparable harm needed to justify an injunction." Plainfield Specialty Holdings II Inc. v. Children's Legal Services PLLC,634 F.Supp.2d 833, 846 (E.D. Mich. 2009) (collecting cases); see also State Farm Mut. Auto. Ins. Co. v. American Rehab & Physical Therapy, Inc., 376 Fed.Appx. 182, 184 (3d Cir. 2010) (finding irreparable harm where defendant "would continue to conceal assets ... in a manner that would further evade [plaintiffs] collection efforts"); WM Capital Partners I, LLC v. BBJ Mortg. Services, Inc.,2010 WL 5903262, at *2-3 (E.D. Mich. Aug. ...

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