Marten Transport, Ltd. v. PlattForm Advertising, Inc.
United States District Court for the District of Kansas
184 F. Supp. 3d 1006 (2016)
Trucking company Marten Transport, Ltd. (plaintiff) brought an action in federal district court against PlattForm Advertising, Inc. (defendant), alleging that PlattForm engaged in the unauthorized use of Marten’s name and trademarks on websites on which PlattForm advertised jobs for truck drivers. Marten engaged Richard Follis as an expert witness. Follis was a consultant who had years of experience in the trucking industry and experience with truck-driver recruiting. Follis prepared a report with his opinions regarding topics including truck-driver turnover, truck-driver hiring, online advertising for truck-driver positions, and search-engine optimization (SEO). One section of Follis’s opinion described issues faced by truck drivers and applicants and opined about the importance to trucking companies of “being able to capture every qualified driver possible.” Another section of the opinion discussed the use of key words in online advertising for truck-driver positions. That section also discussed SEO and opined that PlattForm used Marten’s trademarks in its advertising to increase the key words on its websites and enhance its positioning on various search-engine pages. Follis also stated that he “understood” in giving his opinion that PlattForm had acted to increase the SEO of PlattForm’s websites. PlattForm moved to exclude Follis’s opinions concerning the importance to trucking companies of capturing qualified drivers and his opinions regarding SEO. PlattForm argued that Follis did not have an appropriate basis for his opinions on those topics.
Rule of Law
Holding and Reasoning (Lungstrum, J.)
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