In a legal skirmish allegedly involving a high-speed pursuit, a
private investigator and a "Rogue Vehicle," the Goodwill affiliate
for the Georgia coast and a racer from Charleston, South Carolina are locked in
a legal battle over the racer's use of a used Goodwill delivery truck sold bearing the logos of the nonprofit organization.
The Savannah-based Goodwill of the Coastal Empire, through
the law firm of Bouhan Falligant LLP, has sued Robert J. Woodworth, Jr., who
races with WERA, CCS and ASRA, for millions of dollars and sought an injunction
against the racer, according to court documents provided to Roadracing World.
Woodworth, who turned Expert this season after winning 28
Novice titles last year, says he was not told when he purchased the vehicle
that he was responsible for removing the logos, and that he ignored letters
from Goodwill's attorneys because they accused him of stealing donated goods,
which the software developer says was a ridiculous and offensive allegation.
The complaint alleges that Woodworth, who has used the
former Goodwill van to transport his Yamaha YZF-R6 and Honda CBR1000RR to race
events on the East Coast, infringed on the company's trademark and engaged in
deceptive trade practices by leaving the logos on the truck, thus implying that
Goodwill sponsored his racing effort.
is Goodwill Savannah's standard practice to require purchasers of its retired
vehicles to remove
completely, at the purchaser's expense, any appearance of the GOODWILL Marks
a retired vehicle at the time of sale," Goodwill attorneys say in civil
suit CV 414-150, filed in the Savannah Division of the U.S. District Court for
the Southern District of Georgia.
respectfully request that this Court enter judgment against Defendant as
follows ... Awarding Plaintiffs statutory damages of $2,000,000.00 per
counterfeit mark per type of infringing service in accordance with Section 35
of the Lanham Act (15 U.S.C. § 1117) or alternatively, ordering Defendant to
account to and pay to Plaintiffs all profits realized by Defendants wrongful
acts and/or also awarding Plaintiffs their actual damages, and also directing
that such profits and/or actual damages be trebled, in accordance with Section
35 of the Lanham Act."
says he found the box van with lift gate via an ad on Craigslist placed by a
local car dealer in January 2010. He purchased the vehicle from a dealership,
not from Goodwill, and never was told that he needed to remove the Goodwill logos.
He outfitted the interior with a pull-down bed, insulated it, installed an
AC/heating system and had the perfect budget race hauler. Woodworth, his
girlfriend and two dogs merrily rolled from track to track, from Talladega Gran
Prix Raceway to NOLA Raceway, from Road Atlanta to Virginia International
Raceway, living the club racer's dream.
Goodwill was not amused. According to court documents provided by Woodworth,
Goodwill employees had noticed the vehicle and one claimed he had even tried to chase it
down on U.S. Highway 1, according to an affidavit filed with the court; "The Suspicious Vehicle was travelling (sic) at an extremely
high rate of speed. After several minutes of pursuit I was forced to abandon my
pursuit because I was unwilling to engage in a dangerous high-speed
pursuit," the affidavit states.
the truck was noticed parked in the driveway of Woodworth's Charleston home.
Goodwill hired a law firm to deliver a demand that its logos be removed from
the vehicle, and accusing the owner of the vehicle of taking Goodwill donations
and keeping them.
client has received information indicating that the Former Goodwill Vehicle is
without authorization, to accept donations intended for Goodwill Industries.
apparently are not passed on to Goodwill Industries. This information is
to our client," the letter states.
a February 2014 letter, the organization's attorneys repeated the allegations
and threatened to sue if the logos were not removed by Monday, Feb. 17.
we have good reason to believe that you are using the Former Goodwill Vehicle
to collect donations intended for Goodwill Industries in the Savannah, Georgia
area. We have
made these allegations in our previous letters. To date, you have not addressed
let alone offered any denial," the letter stated.
the private investigator returned, Woodworth had altered the logos on the side
of the truck, crossing out some information and altering the rest to read
"badwill," according to photographs taken by a private investigator
and entered into the court record.
officials were not available after hours on Friday for comment. The lawsuit
itself does not allege that Woodworth engaged in collecting, keeping or diverting
donated goods. The legal complaint does not address whether such suspicions
were reported to law enforcement, especially since the address of the
"Rogue Vehicle," as it is known in the court documents, was known to
Goodwill, nor does it address the issue as to how the vehicle got to the car
dealership with its logos intact.
denied any illegal activities, but says in retrospect that he wishes he had
removed the logos earlier. He has since done so, and now is trying to raise
money for his legal defense via the website www.gofundme.com/dbzpws.