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ConocoPhillips Alaska, Inc. v. Wright

United States District Court, D. Alaska

December 27, 2019

CONOCOPHILLIPS ALASKA, INC., Plaintiff,
v.
FORREST WRIGHT; AMANDA WRIGHT; NATHAN KEAYS; KELLY KEAYS; ECO EDGE ARMORING, LLC; DAVID BENEFIELD; WRIGHT CAPITAL INVESTMENTS, LLC; and DB OILFIELD SUPPORT SERVICES, Defendants.

          ORDER RE PLAINTIFF'S MOTION FOR PRELIMINARY INJUNCTION

          SHARON L. GLEASON UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.

         Before the Court is Plaintiff ConocoPhillips Alaska, Inc.'s (“ConocoPhillips”) Motion for Preliminary Injunction.[1]

         On December 12, 2019, ConocoPhillips commenced this action against Forrest Wright, Amanda Wright, Nathan Keays, Kelly Keays, Eco Edge Armoring LLC, David Benefield, Wright Capital Investments, LLC, and DB Oilfield Support Services (“Defendants”) asserting eight counts: (1) RICO claims, (2) embezzlement, (3) fraud, (4) conversion, (5) unjust enrichment, (6) breach of contract, (7) constructive trust, and (8) piercing the corporate veil.[2] ConocoPhillips alleges that between April and October 2019, its former employee, Mr. Wright, fraudulently obtained approval to purchase materials and services from DB Oilfield and Eco Edge totaling more than $7, 000, 000.[3] ConocoPhillips alleges that these materials and services were never provided, but that Mr. Wright used misrepresentation and fraud to convince his colleagues at ConocoPhillips that they had been provided and to pay the vendors.[4]

         Also on December 12, 2019, ConocoPhillips filed an ex parte motion for a temporary restraining order and preliminary injunction, seeking an order preventing Defendants from “withdrawing, transferring, or dissipating in any manner any funds, or selling any real or personal property (including vehicles) until such time as the Court has ruled further on a Motion for Preliminary Injunction, or otherwise prevent the transfer or sale of any assets purchased, or partially purchased, paid for or maintained with the fraudulently obtained, embezzled funds.”[5] In support of its motion, ConocoPhillips provided, among other things, an affidavit from its Security Manager, Jeff Laughlin, and from its Director of Treasury Services, Cindi Klose.[6]

         On December 13, 2019, the Court granted ConocoPhillips' motion for a temporary restraining order and set a hearing on the motion for a preliminary injunction for December 26, 2019.[7]

         On December 19, 2019, Defendant Kelly Keays filed a response and non-opposition to ConocoPhillips' motion for a preliminary injunction.[8] Specifically, Ms. Keays did not object to the preliminary injunction “subject to the terms of a stipulation reached between ConocoPhillips and Ms. Keays.”[9] As set forth in the stipulation, ConocoPhillips agreed that Ms. Keays could set up a new checking account to deposit her paychecks and she could “withdraw funds from her employer-sponsored retirement plan” to cover living expenses and to pay her legal fees.[10] The Court entered an ordered adopting the stipulation at Docket 33.

         On December 23, 2019, Defendants Eco Edge and Nathan Keays also responded to ConocoPhillips' motion for a preliminary injunction.[11] Defendants Eco Edge and Mr. Keays indicated that they would not oppose the entry of a preliminary injunction subject to certain modifications that would allow Mr. Keays access to certain funds.[12]

         None of the remaining Defendants-Forrest Wright, Amanda Wright, David Benefield, Wright Capital Investments, LLC, and DB Oilfield Support Services- has made an appearance in this case or filed a response to ConocoPhillips' motion for preliminary injunction. ConocoPhillips has filed proof of service for each Defendant.[13]

         On December 26, 2019, the Court held a hearing on the motion for a preliminary injunction. Counsel for ConocoPhillips was present, as was counsel for Ms. Keays, and counsel for Mr. Keays and Eco Edge. None of the parties put forth evidence at the hearing. After some discussion, the participating parties agreed to the terms of the preliminary injunction; those terms are incorporated into the Court's order as set forth herein.

         LEGAL STANDARD

         Plaintiffs seeking injunctive relief must establish “(1) they are likely to succeed on the merits; (2) they are likely to suffer irreparable harm in the absence of preliminary relief; (3) the balance of equities tips in their favor; and (4) a preliminary injunction is in the public interest.”[14]

         Injunctive relief is an equitable remedy, and “[t]he essence of equity jurisdiction is the power of the court to fashion a remedy depending upon the necessities of the particular case.”[15]

         DISCUSSION

         Based on the record before the Court, including the additional evidence filed by ConocoPhillips at Docket 30, the Court finds that there is good cause to enter a preliminary injunction, ...


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