96 Civ. 9721 (PKL) (THK), 98 Civ. 0123 (PKL) (THK)
March 31, 2004
David E. Jacoby, Esq., PHILLIPS, NIZER, BENJAMIN, KRIM BALLON LLP, New York, New York, for Plaintiff Gianni Versace, S.p.A.
Bryan J. Holzberg, Esq., Melville, New York, for Defendant Alfredo Versace
Joseph A. Carmen, Esq., Haddonfield, NJ, for Defendant Alfredo Versace
OPINION AND ORDER
On August 28, 2003, the Court found defendant Alfredo Versace in contempt for numerous violations of the Court's orders in this action.See A.V. by Versace, Inc. v. Gianni Versace, S.P.A., 279 F. Supp.2d 341 (S.D.N.Y. August 28, 2003). Unfortunately, that finding was just the most recent in a series of contempt findings against Alfredo Versace in this case. Because previous contempt orders and monetary sanctions had no effect on Alfredo Versace's conduct, the Court found that a term of civil commitment was warranted to coerce compliance with its orders. Hoping that Alfredo Versace would recognize the gravity of the situation, the Court offered him a final chance to purge his contempt before ordering his imprisonment, and gave him explicit instructions as to how he could do so. Alfredo Versace has failed to meet those requirements. The Court now orders him to surrender to the United States Marshall for the Southern District of New York, who shall hold him in confinement until he complies with the requirements of the August 28 Opinion and Order and thereby purges his contempt.
In essence, this consolidated action and the related case, Gianni Versace, S.p.A. v. Versace, No. 01 Civ. 964, involve allegations of trademark infringement by Alfredo Versace of trademarks owned by Gianni Versace, S.p.A. ("Gianni Versaci"). For the purposes of this Order, however, there is no need to recount the baroque history of this case; the factual background of the dispute between Gianni Versace and Alfredo Versace and the various parties involved has been extensively covered in the Court's prior decisions. See Gianni Versace, S.p.A. v. Versace, No. 01 Civ. 9645, 2003 WL 22023946 (S.D.N.Y. Aug. 27, 2003); Gianni Versace, S.p.A. v. Versace, No. 01 Civ. 9645, 2003 WL 470340 (S.D.N.Y. Feb. 25, 2003); A.V. by Versace, Inc. v. Gianni Versace, S.p.A., 96 Civ. 9721, 98 Civ. 0123, 2002 WL 2012618 (S.D.N.Y. Sept. 3, 2002); A.V. by Versace, Inc. v. Gianni Versace, S.p.A., 191 F. Supp.2d 404 (S.D.N.Y. 2002); A.V. by Versace, Inc. v. Gianni Versace, S.p.A., 160 F. Supp.2d 657 (S.D.N.Y. 2001);A.V. by Versace, Inc. v. Gianni Versace, S.p.A., 126 F. Supp.2d 328 (S.D.N.Y. 2001); A.V. by Versace, Inc. v. Gianni Versace, S.p.A., 87 F. Supp.2d 281 (S.D.N.Y. 2000); A.V. by Versace, Inc. v. Gianni Versace, S.p.A., 96 Civ. 9721, 1998 WL 832692 (S.D.N.Y. Dec. 1, 1998). Nor is it necessary to recount each of the prior decisions finding Alfredo Versace in contempt, as these were thoroughly discussed in the Court's August 28 decision. See 279 F. Supp.2d at 343-45. Rather, a brief history of Alfredo Versace's contumacious behavior will suffice.
On February 4, 1998, the Court granted Gianni Versace's request for a preliminary injunction enjoining Alfredo Versace from, inter alia, using or licensing the use of various "Infringing Marks" that incorporated the name "Versace" and further enjoining the use of any other trademarks confusingly similar to those of Gianni Versace, Although the injunction barred Alfredo Versace from using his name as a trademark, it allowed him to use his name to identify goods that he has designed by use of the phrase "Designed by Alfredo Versace," as long as the goods so identified prominently displayed the disclaimer: "not affiliated with or authorized by Gianni Versace S.p.A." Alfredo Versace was also required to withdraw any pending trademark registrations consisting of, in part or in whole, any of the Infringing Marks. In addition, the preliminary injunction required Alfredo Versace to provide a copy of the injunction to all past and present licensees and distributors. On January 4, 2001, this Court clarified that the preliminary injunction applied extraterritorially.
Alfredo Versace was first cited for civil contempt on March 6, 2000, for violating the preliminary injunction by using offshore Internet sites to advertise and distribute his products in the United States. See A.V. by Versace, Inc., 87 F. Supp.2d at 294-95. As a result of this violation, the Court ordered him to pay Gianni Versace the sum of one-third of its costs and attorneys' fees incurred in making the contempt motion. See id. at 296. In addition, Alfredo Versace was ordered to take all reasonable steps to remove all Infringing Marks from the Internet and file an affidavit of his attempts in this regard within thirty days of the decision. Id.
Alfredo Versace was next sanctioned on January 9, 2002, for his long-term refusal to obey the Court's discovery orders. Magistrate Judge Theodore H. Katz ordered him to pay Gianni Versace's costs and attorneys' fees incurred in attempting to secure compliance with those discovery orders, and recommended that both Alfredo Versace's Answer in No. 98 Civ. 0123, and his Answer and Cross-Claim in the related action, No. 96 Civ. 9721, be stricken. On March 21, 2002, this Court adopted Judge Katz's Opinion and Order and Report and Recommendation in its entirety, essentially causing a default for Alfredo Versace in the instant consolidated action. See A.V. by Versace, 191 F. Supp.2d at 404-05.
On September 3, 2002, the Court again found Alfredo Versace in contempt for continued violations of the preliminary injunction. See A. V. by Versace, 2002 WL 2012618. The Court found that Alfredo Versace had been involved in the sale of watches, jeans and handbags in a manner that clearly violated the preliminary injunction; that he had failed to comply with the March 6, 2000 decision, and that there were still Infringing Marks on the Internet that he took no steps to disable; and that he was involved in a clothing venture with a company called L'Abbigliamento, Ltd. that used Infringing Marks without the required disclaimer. As a result, the Court again ordered him to take all reasonable steps to remove from the Internet all references to "Alfredo Versace" that did not comply with the preliminary injunction and all references to the Infringing Marks. He was required to file an affidavit within thirty days of the Opinion and Order, describing his efforts and noting any references he was unable to remove. The Court also awarded Gianni Versace a compensatory fine equal to any profits made by Alfredo Versace via activities in violation of the preliminary injunction. In order to facilitate this fine, Alfredo Versace was ordered to produce within sixty days a detailed statement, prepared by a certified public accountant, of all net profits he derived from sales and licensing in violation of the preliminary injunction throughout the world from February 4, 1998, until the date of the decision. The Court also awarded Gianni Versace all of its attorneys' fees and costs in connection with bringing the contempt motion. To coerce compliance with these conditions, the Court stated that Alfredo Versace would pay a fine of $2,000 each day he failed to comply with the decision. On October 25, 2002, having received none of the required affidavits or reports in response to the September 3 decision, the Court imposed the $2,000 fine, running from each day after October 3, 2002. In addition, as part of the September 3, 2002, the Court ruled that it would modify the preliminary injunction to bar Alfredo from using the surname "Versace" in any commercial context. The modified injunction was signed on January 27, 2003.
Finally, on August 28, 2003, the Court issued its most recent contempt decision finding that Alfredo Versace remained in contempt for his failure to obey the Court's previous orders and for additional violations of the preliminary injunction. Furthermore, it gave him explicit instructions on the steps necessary to purge this contempt. Recognizing that previous contempt orders and monetary sanctions had failed to motivate him, the Court stated that it would order a conditional jail term if he did not comply with the terms of the Opinion and Order within 60 days. A.V. by Versace, 279 F. Supp.2d at 355-56. As discussed in more detail below, the August 28 Order required Alfredo Versace to 1) pay the outstanding fines and judgments or submit documentation establishing that he is unable to do so; 2) withdraw all applications for registrations of Infringing Marks filed or granted after February 4, 1998, and submit an affidavit detailing these efforts; 3) submit an accountant's report detailing his financial activity, and that of all the entities he controls, from February 4, 1998 through September 3, 2002, delineating the profits earned from activities that violated the preliminary injunction; and 4) submit an affidavit describing all his uses of the name "Versace Boutique" and the current status of those uses.Id.
On October 24, 2003, the Court received a letter from David E. Jacoby, Esq., counsel for Gianni Versace, indicating that the parties had consented to an extension of the Court's 60-day deadline for these submissions to November 24, with the condition that Alfredo Versace be required to submit information detailing his finances through October 31, 2003. The Court memo-endorsed this letter and scheduled a hearing on Alfredo Versace's compliance with the requirements of the August 28 Opinion and Order for December 18, 2003. Because of Court and attorney conflicts, this hearing was later rescheduled for January 7, 2004. Alfredo Versace took full advantage of these delays and, despite the fact that his submissions were due November 24, did not present any documentation to the Court or to Gianni Versace until January 6, 2004. The documents submitted January 6 included an affidavit by Alfredo Versace listing three trademarks that he has withdrawn and two that have apparently lapsed or are void because of government restrictions; a "review" by Maria Estela Lorenzo, C.P.A., of Versace Boutique Ltd., Inc.'s cash flow from July 15, 1998 through November 30, 2003; a check register apparently corresponding to three bank accounts held by Versace Boutique Ltd.; and four letters from Mr. Carmen apparently withdrawing various trademarks in different countries. In response, Gianni Versace sent a letter to the Court the same day arguing that Alfredo Versace's submissions completely failed to meet the requirements of the August 28 Opinion and Order. (See Letter from David E. Jacoby, Esq. of 1/6/04, attached for filing by the Clerk.)
On January 7, the Court held a hearing to determine whether Alfredo Versace had purged his contempt. At that hearing, fully aware of Gianni Versace's position that his efforts continued to be unsatisfactory, Alfredo Versace once again requested more time to submit additional documentation and affidavits to meet the requirements of the August 28 decision. The Court granted this request, giving him until February 6, 2004. This deadline was later extended to February 17, 2004, at Alfredo Versace's request, due to the purported illness of one of his attorneys. As of February 17, and indeed, since that date, however, the Court has received no additional submissions, and it will not delay any further the determination of whether Alfredo Versace has purged his contempt as required by the August 28 Opinion and Order. Accordingly, Alfredo Versace's compliance with the terms of that decision will be determined solely on the basis of his January 6 submissions and the arguments advanced by his attorneys at the January 7 hearing.
In the August 28 decision the Court found that Alfredo Versace remained in contempt for violating the previous orders of the Court. The Court found that he had failed to pay any of the outstanding fines and judgments levied against him; that there was a substantial question as to whether he had withdrawn his infringing trademark applications and registrations as required by the preliminary injunction and the Court's previous orders; and that he had failed to submit the accountant's report required by the September 3, 2002 decision. Furthermore, the Court found that he had engaged in new contumacious violations of the modified preliminary injunction by distributing bottled water "Designed by Alfredo Versace," and by continuing to use the business name "Versace Boutique." The Court declined, however, to find Alfredo Versace in contempt for failing to take all reasonable steps to remove the Infringing Marks from the Internet as required by the September 3, 2002 decision or for appearing on a newscast that featured footage of products that may have violated the preliminary injunction.
In reaching these conclusions, the Court applied the well-established standard for imposing civil contempt sanctions only where "`the order violated by the contemnor is clear and unambiguous, the proof of non-compliance is clear and convincing, and the contemnor was not reasonably diligent in attempting to comply.'" A.V. by Versace, 279 F. Supp.2d at 345 (quoting United States v. Local 1804-1, Int'l Longshoremen's Ass'n, 44 F.3d 1091, 1096 (2d Cir. 1995)). However, rather than immediately imposing a sanction of civil commitment, the Court ordered him to take specific steps to purge his contempt. The August 28 contempt findings, their respective purge mechanisms, and Alfredo Versace's efforts to comply are discussed below.
1. Unpaid Judgments and Fines
Prior to the August 28 decision, Alfredo Versace did not dispute his complete failure to pay the outstanding judgments and fines. Instead, he attempted to show inability to pay through conclusory affidavits, incomplete and unsigned tax records from 1997 through 2001, a balance sheet for Versace Boutique, Ltd., and a mélange of unintelligible bank records. Id. at 346-48. The Court made clear that these documents were inadequate and gave him explicit instructions as to what was required to purge his contempt on this score:
For the Court to determine that Alfredo is unable to satisfy the judgments and fines, a full and complete picture of Alfredo's financial situation, including all entities that he previously or currently controls, from July 20, 2000, the date of the first judgment, to the present time must be submitted. It needs to be submitted in an orderly fashion with a reasonable explanation and arguments based thereon. Self-serving, conclusory statements with incomplete financial records do not show an inability to pay the outstanding balances. Therefore, until such time as Alfredo satisfies the judgments and fines or meets his burden of production, he remains in contempt of this Court.Id. at 348.
It remains undisputed that Alfredo Versace has failed to pay any of the fines or judgments levied against him in this action. Rather, in response to the August 28 decision, he included a single line in his affidavit submitted January 6, 2004, stating "from the time of the January 4, 2001, Order of this Court, my income dropped to almost nothing," (Aff. of Alfredo Versace of 1/5/04 ¶ 4), and an accountant's report. The accountant's report, however, merely shows cash flows for three accounts apparently held by Versace Boutique, Ltd., Inc. It does not list any of Alfredo Versace's personal accounts or assets. Notably, Alfredo Versace does not even claim in his affidavit that the report shows all his assets. Moreover, while the report details cash outflows from Versace Boutique, Ltd., Inc.'s accounts of $751,714.95, most of these outflows are to unidentified payees such as "BHO Pmt," "Versace Boutique, Inc.," "Missing Check," and "Tdr," raising significant questions as to the current location of these assets. As noted in the August 28 decision, the power to impose a coercive civil contempt sanction is limited by a party's ability to comply with the Court's order; however, the burden is on the contemnor to show "plainly and unmistakably that compliance is impossible." 279 F. Supp.2d at 346 (quoting Huber v. Marine Midland Bank, 51 F.3d 5, 10 (2d Cir. 1995)). Alfredo Versace's January 6 submission falls well short of meeting this burden.
Alfredo Versace's failure to provide a complete picture of his finances was made even more apparent at the January 7 hearing where Gianni Versace alerted the Court to a telecast where Alfredo Versace claimed that he was selling his Rolls Royce to pay his bills. Counsel for Alfredo Versace admitted this was true, but argued that the car was probably worth only $15,000. (1/7/04 Hr'g Tr. at 31.) Counsel for Gianni Versace argued that the car is worth much more; however, the crucial point is not the worth of the car but the fact that Alfredo Versace failed to alert the Court to a significant asset. Other personal assets that the Court would expect to be disclosed in order for it to determine whether Alfredo Versace is unable to pay the outstanding fines and judgments would include, for example, properties, securities, and personal bank accounts. Nor is this meant to be construed as an exclusive list. Suffice it to say that "a full and complete picture of Alfredo's financial situation" means just that.
2. Trademark Applications and Registrations
In the August 28 decision, the Court did not specifically find that Alfredo Versace was in contempt for failing to withdraw trademark applications and registrations of Infringing Marks as required by the preliminary injunction. Rather, the Court determined that he was obligated under the preliminary injunction to withdraw all such applications and registrations made or granted throughout the world after February 4, 1998, and that there was a substantial question as to whether he had done so. As a result, the Court ordered him to submit a "detailed report regarding all of this mark registration activities around the world since February 4, 1998."Id. at 350. The Court further specified:
the report, sworn to under penalty of perjury, must list all of the registrations and applications for registrations with which Alfredo has been associated, regardless of their current status, for any mark that in anyway incorporates the word "Versace." The report must include the date the application was filed, the current status of the application, and, if the application was granted, the date on which the mark was registered. Any applications that are pending and any registrations that were granted after February 4, 1998 must be withdrawn immediately.Id.
In his affidavit submitted January 6, Alfredo Versace lists five trademarks that he "still possessed as of February 4, 1998 and the action taken." (Aff. of Alfredo Versace of 1/5/04 ¶ 2.) The affidavit indicates that three of these trademarks were filed or granted subsequent to February 4, 1998, and that these three trademarks have been withdrawn. Gianni Versace indicated in his January 6 letter and at the January 7 contempt hearing that there are numerous other infringing trademarks filed by or granted to Alfredo Versace after this date that are not listed in the affidavit. Certain testimony by Alfredo Versace at the previous contempt hearing held June 30, 2003, suggests this may be true. (See 6/30/03 Hr'g Tr. at 57-58.) Furthermore, counsel for Alfredo indicated in the January 7, 2004 hearing that at least one trademark that should have been withdrawn and reported may have been overlooked. (See 1/7/04 Hr'g Tr. at 28-29, 33.2) However, Gianni Versace has not submitted any evidence to the Court establishing that the affidavit is incomplete. Thus, it is not clear on the present record that Alfredo has failed to comply with this portion of the August 28 Opinion and Order, and the Court declines to hold him in contempt based on this requirement.
The Court also notes that the letters submitted by Alfredo Versace on January 6 purporting to withdraw various trademarks raise more questions than they answer. First, there are letters withdrawing trademarks in Italy and Canada that are not referenced in the Alfredo Versace's affidavit. Furthermore, only one of these letters is written to a trademark office. The others are addressed to individuals or firms with whom the Court is unfamiliar. Thus, it is unclear what effect, if any, these letters have actually had on Alfredo Versace's offending trademark applications and registrations.
3. The Accountant's Report
As noted above, the Court's September 3, 2002 contempt order required Alfredo Versace to submit an accountant's report detailing the profits he derived from licensing and sales that violated the preliminary injunction from February 4, 1998 through the date of that decision. In its August 28 decision, the Court found that he had yet to comply with this order. Although he had submitted two reports prepared by a certified public accountant, the Court found that the reports were inadequate because, inter alia, they did not detail his personal finances, they did not cover all the entities he controls or has controlled during the relevant time period, they made no attempt to indicate how the income that was reported was earned and they did not cover the full time period required. Id. at 350-51. The Court found that Alfredo Versace remained in contempt for failing to submit the required report and made clear what was required to satisfy this obligation:
A compilation that is comprehensive and detailed, that is prepared by a certified public accountant, that includes complete information regarding Alfredo's personal finances and the finances of all the entities he controls, that specifies the types of activities from which any profits were derived, and that covers the entire time period from February 4, 1998 until September 3, 2002 would meet the Court's requirements. Until such a report is properly filed with the Clerk of the Court, Alfredo will remain in contempt.Id. at 351.
Instead of following of the Court's guidance, however, Alfredo Versace has produced another inadequate report on his licensing and sales activities. The report submitted on January 6 does give some information on the cash flow for three checking accounts held in the name of Versace Boutique, Ltd., Inc. for the period of July 15, 1998 through November 30, 2003. For example, it gives the names of numerous individuals who paid substantial amounts of money into these accounts. The report does not, however, give a comprehensive and detailed review, as required, of Alfredo Versace's personal and business finances and the types of activities from which any profits were derived since February 4, 1998. The report does not show profits realized by the company, nor does it make any attempt to delineate profits earned through sales and licensing activity that violated the preliminary injunction. Finally, and inexplicably, the report does not include any information for the period from February 4, 1998 through July 15, 1998.
Alfredo Versace offered several arguments at the January 7 hearing in an attempt to mitigate these deficiencies. First, one of his attorneys proffered that "[t]hese two accounts coupled with the account that was in the June 30th hearing are all his accounts of all his entities," (1/7/04 Hr'g Tr. at 30), and that the total profit earned by Alfredo Versace from 1998 through the end of 2002 was approximately $500,000, (Id. at 31). The Court has already indicated, however, that it is disinclined to credit the unsupported statements of Alfredo Versace or his attorneys: hence the requirement of an accountant's report. Furthermore, assuming these statements are true, the August 28 decision found that the reports and records submitted in June of 2003 did not provide adequate information even with regard to the single entity that they purported to cover. The information before the Court is no greater than the sum of its parts. Thus, a series of incomplete reports on each of Alfredo Versace's entities would not be sufficient to meet the requirements of the August 28 decision. Finally, it is unclear how one could extrapolate a profit of $500,000 from the January 7 report. Even if this number is accurate, however, no attempt has been made to delineate the types of business activities from which the profits were derived as required by the Court's previous orders.
At the January 7 hearing, Alfredo Versace also argued that the affidavit required by the September 3, 2002 decision improperly placed the burden on him to, in effect, establish the damages that his infringing conduct caused to Gianni Versace. (Id. at 31-32.) First of all, this argument is without merit, as the propriety of requiring such an affidavit to determine the compensation owed to a civil contempt plaintiff is well established. See, e.g., Manhattan Indus., Inc. v. Sweater Bee by Banff, Ltd., 885 F.2d 1, 5-7 (2d Cir. 1989);Cablevision Systems Corp. v. Can Muneyyirci, 1995 WL 362541 at *3 (E.D.N.Y. 1995); King v. Allied Vision. Ltd., 155 F.R.D. 440, 452-53 (S.D.N.Y. 1994), aff'd in part, vacated in part, 65 F.3d 1051 (2d Cir. 1995). Second, Alfredo Versace's concern as to the validity of this requirement does not excuse his noncompliance, since "a contempt proceeding does not open to reconsideration the legal or factual basis of the order alleged to have been disobeyed. . . ." Huber v. Marine Midland Bank, 51 F.3d 5, 8 (2d Cir. 1995) (quotingUnited States v. Rylander, 460 U.S. 752, 756 (1983)). Therefore, because Alfredo Versace has failed to submit a report that complies with the requirements of the September 3, 2002 and August 28, 2003 orders, he remains in contempt of Court.
4. New Violations of the Preliminary Injunction
The August 28 decision also found Alfredo Versace in contempt for distributing bottled water labeled "Designed by Alfredo Versace" and for continuing to use the business name "Versace Boutique." 279 F. Supp.2d at 352-53. While the Court did not require Alfredo Versace to take any action to purge his contempt with regard to the bottled water (other than the obvious requirement that he cease such conduct), the Court did order him to submit "an affidavit detailing all prior uses of the business name "Versace Boutique" both in and out of the United States, since February 4, 1998, along with an explanation of when use of the name ceased (if it has) and the steps taken to end the use of the name." Id. at 354. Apparently in response to this requirement, Alfredo included the following statement in his January 6 submission: "Versace Boutique is no longer being used for any business whatsoever, there are no accounts or any other activity. The last use was the water project which as [sic.] I testified under oath on June 30, 2003." (Aff. of Alfredo Versace of 1/5/04 ¶ 3.) This bare and conclusory statement does not comply with the Court's August 28 Opinion and Order, thus Alfredo has failed to purge his contempt.
Gianni Versace argues that the Court should also find Alfredo Versace in contempt for failing to continue to make reasonable efforts to remove the Infringing Marks from the Internet. (Letter from David E. Jacoby, Esq. of 1/6/04; 1/7/04 Hr'g Tr. at 17-18.) It is true that the Court's September 3, 2002 and August 28 decisions placed a continuing obligation on Alfredo Versace to search the Internet for the Infringing Marks and to send cease and desist letters to sites displaying the Marks and to copy Gianni Versace on those letters. On this issue alone, however, the Court indicated that it would be appropriate for Alfredo Versace to delegate responsibility to his attorneys. 279 F. Supp.2d at 352 n. 29. At the January 7 hearing, Alfredo Versace's attorney indicated that he and an associate had been conducting periodic searches of the Internet and sending emails to the offending sites. (1/7/04 Hr'g Tr. at 28-29.) On its face, sending emails would not seem to meet the obligations placed on Alfredo Versace. Furthermore, neither the Court nor Gianni Versace has been provided with copies of these emails. This is particularly troubling because Gianni Versace alerted the Court to at least one website offering an "Alfredo Versace black dress shirt" for sale on a site that also offers Gianni Versace products. (Id. at 18.) Nevertheless, on the present record, the Court does not find that there is clear and convincing evidence that Alfredo Versace has failed to make reasonable efforts to obey the Court's orders in this regard. The Court will, however, entertain further motions for contempt on this issue and with regard to the withdrawal of infringing trademark applications and registrations as discussed above should Gianni Versace offer additional evidence of Alfredo Versace's noncompliance.
5. Civil Commitment as a Sanction
The Court's September 3, 2002 and August 28 decisions contained thorough discussions of the purpose of contempt sanctions and the propriety of imprisonment as a sanction for civil contempt. It bears repeating, however, that in determining the appropriate sanction to impose, the district court must weigh "(1) the character and magnitude of the harm threatened by the continued contumacy; (2) the probable effectiveness of any suggested sanction in bringing about compliance; and (3) the contemnor's financial resources and the consequent seriousness of the sanction's burden." 2002 WL 2012618 at *10 (quoting Dole Fresh Fruit Co. v. United Banana Co., 821 F.2d 106, 110 (2d Cir. 1987)).
Throughout the pendency of this dispute, Alfredo Versace has repeatedly disobeyed and ignored orders of the Court, apparently unperturbed by the gravity of the proceedings against him. His continued contumacy seriously threatens Gianni Versace's legitimate business interests in its trademarks. Just as importantly, Alfredo Versace's continued contempt shows a disregard for the authority of the federal judiciary. It is not a new observation that the ability of a society to order its affairs through the rule of law depends on sound enforcement of the law and respect for the role courts play in this process. Repeated and unexcused failure to abide by judicial orders, such as that displayed by Alfredo Versace, strikes at the heart of this equation. Furthermore, the history of this proceeding has convinced the Court that further monetary penalties are insufficient to coerce Alfredo's compliance. Thus, while civil commitment is a drastic remedy and the burden on Alfredo will be heavy, it appears that this is the only sanction capable of motivating Alfredo's compliance with the Court's orders.
Throughout these proceedings the Court has endeavored to give Alfredo Versace every chance to make a reasonable effort to comply with the Court's orders; however, he has failed to do so. Instead, he has chosen the path of delay and obfuscation, steadfastly refusing to give the Court an accurate and complete picture of his finances and business activities. His pernicious attitude has left the Court with no recourse other than to enter this Order and severe sanction.
Accordingly, Alfredo Versace is ordered to appear before the Court on April 12, 2004, at 10:00 a.m. to surrender to the United States Marshall for a term of civil commitment. He will remain imprisoned until he has complied with the requirements of the August 28 Order as detailed in the body of this decision. The Court will also hold a pre-trial conference for this consolidated action and the related case at that date and time. The parties should be prepared to discuss resolving the outstanding issues in this action and the schedule for moving the related case forward to trial.