Lawsuits Against San Juan Mayor Carmen Yulin

Lawsuits Against Carmen Yulin

As is common enough for the highest elected official of any municipality, there have been a number of lawsuits brought against Carmen Yulin in her capacity as mayor of San Juan, Puerto Rico.

The latest one in federal court was filed in July 2017. Updates will be added to this page.

Comite Fiestas de la Calle v. Cruz, et al

Defendant: SPANISH BROADCASTING SYSTEM OF PUERTO RICO, INC. and ALFREDO CARRASQUILLO
Plaintiff – Appellant: COMITE FIESTAS DE LA CALLE SAN SEBASTIAN, INC.
Defendant – Appellee: CARMEN YULIN CRUZ, in her official and personal capacities and MUNICIPALITY OF SAN JUAN
Case Number: 17-1723
Filed: July 27, 2017
Court: U.S. Court of Appeals, First Circuit
Nature of Suit: Other Civil Rights

Acevedo-Vargas v. Municipality of San Juan et al
Puerto Rico District Court
Judge: William G Young
Case #: 3:17-cv-01573
Nature of Suit 445 Civil Rights – Amer w/Disabilities-Employment
Cause 42:12101 Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA)

Comite Fiestas de la Calle San Sebastian, Inc. v. Cruz et al

Plaintiff: Comite Fiestas de la Calle San Sebastian, Inc.
Defendant: Carmen Yulin Cruz, Conjugal Carrasquillo-Cruz, Municipality of San Juan, Alfredo Carrasquillo, Insurance Company DEF and John Doe
Case Number: 3:2014cv01929
Filed: December 31, 2014
Court: Puerto Rico District Court
Office: San Juan Office
County: San Juan
Presiding Judge: Francisco A. Besosa
Nature of Suit: Other Civil Rights
Cause of Action: 42:1983
Jury Demanded By: Plaintiff

Where did the profits go?

https://noticiasmicrojuris.files.wordpress.com/2016/04/15915590593.pdf

http://artesaniaboricua.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/01/Proposed-Second-Amended-Complaint-Comite.pdf

https://aldia.microjuris.com/2016/04/15/sanciones-contra-carmen-yulin-cruz-y-mun-de-sj-por-incumplir-ordenes-de-tribunal-federal-en-caso-por-fiestas-de-la-calle-san-sebastian/

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IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT FOR THE DISTRICT OF PUERTO RICO

COMITE FIESTAS DE LA CALLE DE SAN SEBASTIAN, INC. Plaintiff vs. CARMEN YULIN CRUZ, in her AND official FIFTH and personal capacities, ALFREDO CARRASQUILLO, and their conjugal partnership, in her official and personal capacities, THE MUNICIPALITY OF SAN JUAN, SPANISH BROADCASTING SYSTEM OF PUERTO RICO, INC., INSURANCE COMPANY DEF, AND JOHN DOE Defendants CIVIL NO. 14- FOR: VIOLATION OF FIRST AND FIFTH AMENDMENTS, RFRA BREACH OF CONTRACT, TORT, INJUNCTION PLAINTIFF DEMANDS TRIAL BY JURY COMPLAINT TO THE HONORABLE COURT: COMES NOW Plaintiff Comité de las Fiestas de la Calle San Sebastián, Inc. through its undersigned attorneys, and respectfully ALLEGES and PRAYS as follows: INTRODUCTION Plaintiff is a corporation established by a group of citizens interested in assuring that a celebration created to honor the courage of Saint Sebastian as well as the time honored traditions of Puerto Rico was not hijacked by commercial interests focused solely on how to convert a popular bacchanal into profits. Forty-four years ago the Committee created and began producing the most famous event celebrated on the island during the third week of each January in honor of Saint Sebastian s day on January 20. Las Fiestas de la Calle San Sebastián (the 1

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Event ), which is the original name of the cultural-religious event, transcended the limits of the street where it begun in 1970, and it has been held throughout the Old San Juan for many years. As the defendants have publicly recognized, the event is also well known internationally. Like the event named Mardi Gras, las Fiestas de la Calle San Sebastian have both religious and secular elements. Plaintiff files this lawsuit to assure that defendants do not eliminate the religious aspect of the festival with a reading of the First Amendment, which excludes the free exercise clause. Plaintiff also seeks to protect its free speech right because defendant Municipality of San Juan (the Municipality ) has forbidden it, without any reasonable justification, from celebrating the traditional aspects of the Event, which include cultural-artistic performances. Plaintiff also seeks remedies for the damages that it has already suffered due to the Municipality s illegal taking of its property rights and due to the slanderous statements made by defendant Carmen Yulín Cruz. With regards to its trademarks, the plaintiff asks the Court to enjoin defendants from using all its marks, namely Fiestas de la Calle San Sebastián, Fiestas de la Calle and la San Se, since the plaintiff is the only owner of the same and has not given defendants any authorization to use them. Plaintiff s claims as to themselves and their own actions are based on personal knowledge. All other allegations are based upon information and belief. Verification of these facts is enclosed by a declaration made under penalty of perjury. 2

Page 3 of 26 I. JURISDICTION 1. This suit is brought and jurisdiction lies pursuant to 42 U.S.C. 1983, as amended, the First, Fifth, and Fourteenth Amendments of the United States Constitution, the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, 42 U.S.C bb et seq.; Sections 34, 35 and 43 (a) of the Lanham Act, 15 U.S.C. 15 U.S.C.A. 1117, 1118 and 1125 (a), as well as the Common Law. This Honorable Court’s jurisdiction over state law claims is invoked pursuant to the doctrine of pendent or supplemental jurisdiction, 28 U.S.C The following local laws are invoked: Constitution of Puerto Rico ART.II, Sec. 3; 31 L.P.R.A. 2991, et seq.; 11 L.P.R.A. 171 et seq.; Articles 1802 and 1803 of the Civil Code of Puerto Rico, Puerto Rico Trademark Law, 10 L.P.R.A. sec. 171 et seq. 3. The proper venue for this case lies in this Court, as all individual parties are residents of Puerto Rico, the Municipality of San Juan s principal place of business is Puerto Rico, and the causes of action took place in Puerto Rico. 28 U.S.C and II. PARTIES 4. Plaintiff Comite de las Fiestas de la Calle San Sebastian, Inc. is an existing and organized not for profit corporation under the laws of the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico At all times relevant to the instant complaint, the plaintiff was protected by the laws invoked in this complaint. 5. Defendant Carmen Yulin Cruz is the mayor of the Municipality of San Juan. Ms. Cruz is sued in her personal and official capacities. Ms. Cruz is married to Alfredo Carasquillo with whom, on information and belief, she forms a conjugal partnership. Ms. Cruz is a tortfeasor as described in detail below.

4 Page 4 of Defendant, the Municipality of San Juan is the political organization, which governs San Juan. 7. Defendant Spanish Broadcasting System of Puerto Rico, Inc. is a Delaware corporation, which conducts business in Puerto Rico. Through its president, Raul Alarcon, the Spanish Broadcasting System is conspiring with the other defendants in this case to violate the Comite de las Fiestas de la Calle San Sebastian constitutional rights, violate its trademarks, and interfere with the Comite s contractual relationship with the Municipality of San Juan. 8. Defendant Corporation ABC is a corporate entity that may have liability for the facts set forth in this complaint. 9. Defendant Insurance Company DEF is one or more insurance companies that may have issued and have in effect policies of insurance for the risks that result from the acts stated in this complaint, the identity of which are unknown at present Defendants John Doe, Jane Doe, and Susan Roe, and their respective conjugal partnerships, are persons responsible for the acts and damages alleged in the instant case whose identities are unknown at this moment. III. FACTS Each Year s Schedule for the Fiestas de la Calle San Sebastian as created and produced by the Comite 11. On the third Tuesday of January the Comite plaintiff holds a press conference to provide the public with information about the year s celebration. The Comite invites the mayor of San Juan, the year s honoree, and the director of the Puerto Rico Institute of Culture, among others. 4

5 Page 5 of At the press conference, the Comite distributes the year s program, which the Comite has published for the last 45 years, with the calendar of events and has an art exhibit with paintings, lithographs, and sculptures, depicting typical Puerto Rican events and Saint Sebastian. 13. The program contains the trademark Fiestas de la Calle San Sebastian and has done so for the last forty-five years. 14. The press conference ends with music of bomba and plena and dancing by the Cabezudos, which are festival figures. 15. The Fiestas de la Calle San Sebastian begin with a ribbon cutting on the third Thursday of January at the Abraham Lincoln School on San Sebastian Street. Before the ribbon cutting, the parish priest from Old San Juan holds a service in honor of Saint Sebastian and blesses the ceremony. The ribbon cutting is performed by the president of the Comité. 16. After the ribbon cutting, the members of the Comité, religious authorities, and the crowd walk to the Plaza del Quinto Centenario, along with the Cabezudos playing and dancing to traditional Puerto Rican music. 17. At the stage set up at the Plaza del Quinto Centenario, the Comite hands out Saint Sebastian prizes to the best wood sculptures of Saint Sebastian. 18. After the award ceremony, a performance titled Así Canta Puerto Rico takes place. The performance is televised on the Puerto Rico public broadcasting station. During the program, the Comité officially dedicates the festival to a notable Puerto Rican figure. 19. After the opening ceremony, the Comité presents other artistic-cultural performances until 11:00 p.m. 5

6 Page 6 of On Thursday, Friday, Saturday, and Sunday of the Fiestas de San Sebastian, San Sebastián Street is lined with painters and other artists showing their works. 21. The Comité has also coordinated with the Puerto Rico Institute of Culture to have artisans, particularly wood sculptures of Catholic saints, display their works at the Plaza de Ballajá during the Event because the Institute of Culture is the agency specialized in recognizing qualified artisans rather than re-sellers of works. 22. Thursday, Friday, Saturday, and Sunday the plaintiff rents kiosks for the sale of food and beverages in the area around the Plaza del Quinto Centenario. 23. The Comité serves beer from two of the kiosks. 24. The Comite has never served hard liquor or allowed hard liquor to be served from any of its kiosks. 25. On Friday afternoon, the Comite holds another parade of Cabezudos with traditional Puerto Rican music and presents another concert of Puerto Rican music at the Plaza del Quinto Centenario. 26. From Friday noon until 11:00 p.m. and the remaining days, the Comité produces musical events at the Plaza del Quinto Centenario. 27. On Saturday and Sunday mornings, the plaintiff holds a chess competition at the Abraham Lincoln School. 28. On Saturday evening, the Comite presents the danza, Puerto Rico s traditional dance, at the Plaza Quinto Centenario. 29. On Sunday morning, a mass is celebrated in the San Juan Cathedral in honor of Saint Sebastian s martyrdom. The mass also honors Puerto Rican notable figures who have passed away in the preceding year. During the mass students from the Conservatory of Music and elsewhere perform. 6

7 Page 7 of After the mass, the parish priest and Comité members lead a procession from the San Juan Cathedral to the San Jose Church. 31. On Sunday night, there is a final artistic-cultural presentation at the Plaza del Quinto Centenario and the Comité awards prizes to the winners of the chess competition. 32. Throughout the Event, the Comite holds parades of the Cabezudos and pleneros. History of the Fiestas de la Calle San Sebastián 33. In 1954, Father Juan Manuel Madrazo of the San Jose Church in Old San Juan, decided to hold a festival to honor Saint Sebastian in order to raise funds to benefit his parish. 34. The original figures used in the parade were marionettes of the Catholic monarchs Ferdinand and Isabela, modeled on figures used in religious processions in Spain. 35. A few years later, the Catholic Church transferred Father Madrazo out of Old San Juan and the festival ceased. 36. In 1970 the historian and civil leader Ricardo Alegría asked Doña Rafaela Balladares de Brito to work with him to bring the festival back in order to raise funds for the Catholic school, the Colegio de Párvulos, a Catholic private school, as needed over the years. 37. The Colegio de Párvulos also sold codfish fritters [bacalaítos] and lunches from the school to raise funds. 7

8 Page 8 of Doña Rafaela, assisted by neighbors and other interested people, formed a committee and started the celebration of Saint Sebastián s martyrdom for the benefit of the Colegio de Parvulos and other worthy causes. 39. The group also held a special mass for Santa Rosa de Lima, who was born in Lima, but conceived in Puerto Rico, as well as a ceremony where flowers were laid in San Juan Bay in honor of Saint Rafael, patron saint of fishermen. 40. Doña Rafaela s group, which subsequently formed the corporation Comité de las Fiestas de la Calle Sebastián, Inc. continually used the name Fiestas de la Calle San Sebastián. Later on, the plaintiff used Fiestas de la Calle or la SanSe to refer to the series of events that take place on the third weekend in January to celebrate Saint Sebastian s day, which is January As the Fiestas de la Calle San Sebastián gained popularity, the Comité began formalizing its relationship with municipal officials to coordinate the Event s activities. The Municipality began providing its ministerial responsibilities of safety, transportation and others in connection with the Fiestas de la Calle San Sebastián. 42. Since the creation of the Plaza del Quinto Centenario in 1992, the Comité has organized musical events for presentation on a stage set up there. 43. After the Plaza del Quinto Centenario was built, the Comité rented kiosks to be located near that plaza so that the plaintiff would have the funds to pay for the traditional Puerto Rican artistic performances it presented during the Event and for the programs using the trademark Fiestas de la Calle San Sebastián, and later Fiestas de la Calle and la SanSe. 44. The plaintiff also negotiated sponsorships with vendors who wanted to sponsor the Fiestas de la Calle San Sebastián, las Fiestas de la Calle, and la SanSe. 8

9 Page 9 of Through those contracts, the plaintiff authorized sponsors to use the plaintiff s marks in connection with the Event. The plaintiff s sponsors were the only ones permitted to use the marks to promote their products in commercial advertisements in connection with the Event since they were considered official sponsors of the Event. Upon information and belief others companies have sponsored the Municipality and/or the companies contracted by the Municipality, as well as other private business, but none of them were allowed to announce their products in any advertisement in connection with the Event. 46. The plaintiff has always operated the musical performances presented in the Plaza del Quinto Centenario in a responsible way, on occasion, acceding to the wishes of certain mayors to coordinate certain performances of Puerto Rican artists at that plaza. 47. The plaintiff rented and set up the stage, contracted and paid the performers, and provided portable bathrooms for the persons attending the performances. 48. In 2005, the plaintiff incorporated as the Comité de las Fiestas de San Sebastian, Inc., a not for profit corporation, with the Puerto Rico Department of State, having created Vecinos de Calle San Sebastian, Inc. much earlier, but not having kept up with the filing requisites. 49. During the mayoralty of Jorge Santini, Mr. Santini offered Doña Rafaela an office in city hall with a secretary, but Doña Rafaela declined, telling the mayor that she was honored, but that the Fiestas de la Calle San Sebastián was a private celebration of the Puerto Rico culture, not a political event. 9

10 Page 10 of After taking office on January 14, 2013, co-defendant Cruz contracted with Buena Vibra Group, Inc. ( Buena Vibra ) on January 17, 2013, the day the Festival started, to provide event services on other squares at the Old San Juan. 51. In the contract, the Municipality awarded an unspecified number of kiosks to Buena Vibra Group. 52. Of the kiosks granted, four were to have 80% of their net sales paid into a special fund to be created at some point in the future for the benefit of the Luis Muñoz Marin Park. 54. The Municipality subsequently rented the park to a third party. 55. Buena Vibra was to produce and sell a commemorative bracelet, with the net profit of the sales also going to the park. 56. The Municipality was to supply two trucks to take drinks to the kiosks and two trucks to bring ice. Fifty percent of the profits from this distribution was to go to the account set up for the park and fifty percent to Buena Vibra. 57. The Municipality agreed to pay Buena Vibra up to $86, for its services in addition to percentages of the sales. 58. The plaintiff has never sought nor received any money from the Municipality or any other governmental agency. 59. On December 20, 2013, the Municipality sent the plaintiff a letter, stating that the Municipality spent over $1.3 million on the Fiestas de la Calle San Sebastian, and demanding that the Comité turn over all the money that it received in sponsorships for the use of the trademarks that exceed the plaintiff s expenses. 60. The plaintiff declined. 10

11 Page 11 of On January 16, 2014, the Municipality again contracted Buena Vibra to provide event services, again the same day the festival began. 62. The 2014 contract requires Buena Vibra Group to obtain all relevant permits prior to starting to provide the services, but it is not clear how Buena Vibra was able to obtain permits the same day the Event started. In addition, the Municipality required Buena Vibra to provide the services related to medical emergencies, firefighters, safety and others. 63. This time the Municipality agreed to pay Buena Vibra $134, with an amendment to include $10, more plus all sponsorships [and if Buena Vibra were unable to obtain sponsorships to offset its costs, the Municipality would reimburse Buena Vibra such costs]. 64. The Municipality did not demand that Buena Vibra Group turn over its profits from the Event that the plaintiff had created and established for over 40 years. The Municipality required Buena Vibra to pay 70 percent of the net sales of the kiosks, in any, placed in Plaza la Barandilla. 65. The Municipality granted Buena Vibra Group the right to use the Plaza del Quinto Centenario during part of Friday night. 66. During the time period when Buena Vibra and the Municipality used the Plaza del Quinto Centenario in 2014, a contest titled Quién bebe más? [Who can drink the most] was held. 67. The plaintiff stated that such contests conflicted with the proper image of the Event. 68. In 2014, when municipal employees tried to place a bar at the base of the renowned Totem sculpture, created by the sculptor Jorge Suárez in honor of Puerto 11

12 Page 12 of 26 Rico s indigenous peoples, the Comite s members objected, and the municipal employees relented. 69. The Municipality had already installed a 20 foot by 20 foot bar in the Plaza del Descubrimiento as well as others throughout San Juan. The Plans for the 2015 Festival 70. When the Comite s representatives met with Ms. Cruz to plan for the 2015 festival in March 2014, she began by accusing them of saying that she had converted Old San Juan into a bar. 71. Ms. Cruz pointed her finger at two of the Comite s officers and said that one of you said on Radio Isla that I had converted Old San Juan into a bar last year. 72. Aníbal Rodriguez Vera, one of the founders of the Comité and its past president had indeed said that based on Ms. Cruz s actions of setting up a 20 foot by 20 foot bar in the Plaza del Descubrimiento, trying to place a bar under the Totem statue, and placing bars across from the Cathedral, the Archbishop s residence and on virtually every corner in Old San Juan. 73. Then, in retaliation Ms. Cruz told the Comité s representatives that the number of kiosks assigned to the Comité would be reduced from 27 to 12, and that the Comité would no longer be permitted to present the traditional Puerto Rican music and other traditional events such as the danza that the Comité had presented for the past 20 years at the Plaza del Quinto Centenario. 74. Ms. Cruz repeatedly told the Comité s representatives that she would not negotiate with them; that they had to accept what she was giving them. 12

13 Page 13 of The plaintiff tried to explain the cultural and religious significance of the Event, but Ms. Cruz said that the Fiestas de la Calle San Sebastian belonged to the Municipality, and that she would run them as she saw fit. 76. News reports indicate that this year the Municipality will be contracting with the Spanish Broadcasting System to produce the musical events for the festival, which Ms. Cruz has confirmed. 77. On information and belief, even though the Spanish Broadcasting Corporation knew that the Comité had always produced the musical events at the Plaza del Quinto Centenario, the corporation required the inclusion of the Plaza del Quinto Centenario in order to contract with the Municipality of San Juan. 78. The Municipality and Ms. Cruz acceded to SBS s demand, despite never having had a complaint about the manner in which the plaintiff operated the musical performances at the Plaza del Quinto Centenario in over 20 years. 79. Confronted with Ms. Cruz s antagonistic attitude that she owned the festival in reprisal for expressions lamenting the bacchanal, and even though the Comité has owned and has been using the trademarks for over 40 years, the Comité re-filed to register the trademark [they had started the process years earlier, but had not notified the Puerto Rico Department of State of their address change, so the process stopped]. 80. The Comite had and has no interest in licensing the trademark to sellers of merchandise or memorabilia of the Fiestas de la Calle San Sebastian; filing the trademark was done solely to protect the Comite s rights to produce the Fiestas de la San Sebastian as religious and cultural festival as the plaintiff had been producing for 44 years. 13

14 Page 14 of When the mayor realized that the Comité had filed to register the trademarks Fiestas de la Calle San Sebastian she announced that this year s festival would be called Fiestas de la Calle, justifying the change on the constitutional requisite of separation of church and state and also affirmed that the Event is not of la Calle San Sebastián but an international event that takes place in all the Old San Juan. 82. Ms. Cruz also stated that she did not go to the Fiestas de San Sebastián for the saint. 83. Ms. Cruz made no reference to the First Amendment s clause providing for the free exercise of religion. 84. The Comité did not ask the Municipality to contract with the Catholic Church to provide any of the religious elements of the Fiestas de la Calle San Sebastián, the Comité simply wanted to be able to continue its own collaboration with the Church in that regard. 85. The mayor also asked to participate in the naming of an honoree for the Fiestas de la Calle San Sebastián, and plaintiff s representatives indicated that they had never made political choices for honorees, and that they wanted to honor Felix [Tito] Trinidad. 86. Ms. Cruz acquiesced to the choice of Tito Trinidad, but informed the Comité that in future years there would be two honorees for the Fiestas de la Calle San Sebastián, one named by the Municipality and the other named by the Comité. 87. At the end of October 2014, Ms. Cruz finally sent the plaintiff the contract with the Municipality for signing, reiterating her statement that she would not negotiate, and refuses to recognize the Comité s ownership of the trademarks and its traditional involvement in the Event. 14

15 Page 15 of In December 2014, Ms. Cruz stated publicly that the Comité, a private party, was receiving money under the table for its involvement in the Event and cooking its books. 89. Ms. Cruz also publicly accused the Comité of being a finca privada [a private estate] and that alleged that it was motivated solely by profit, using the Fiestas de la Calle San Sebastián as its personal ATM card. 90. Ms. Cruz s statements were untrue, and she made them without investigating whether they were true. FIRST CLAIM FOR RELIEF (VIOLATION OF THE FREE EXERCISE CLAUSE OF THE FIRST AMENDMENT AND RELIGIOUS FREEDOM RESTORATION ACT) 91. Plaintiff incorporates as if realleged the preceding paragraphs with the same force and effect as if herein set forth. 92. Defendants have sought to eliminate plaintiff s involvement in the production of the Fiestas de la Calle San Sebastián based on the Comité s interest in the free exercise of religion by retaining the Festival s religious origins and as retaliation for the Comité s comments that defendants have turned Old San Juan into a bar. 93. The defendants engaged in policies and practices which willfully, or in the alternative unwillfully, discriminated against the plaintiff, the Comité de la Fiestas de la Calle San Sebastián, Inc. on the basis of its desire to maintain the religious foundation of the Event and its exercise of freedom of expression in violation of the First Amendment and the Religious Freedom Restoration Act. 15

16 Page 16 of As a result of the aforementioned, plaintiff is entitled to an injunction, requiring the Municipality of San Juan to permit the Comité to continue to produce the elements of Las Fiestas de la Calle San Sebastián that they have done over the past several decades: the decision as to who to honor; the ribbon cutting ceremony with the priest s blessing, the procession from the Abraham Lincoln School with the religious authorities and the traditional Cabezudos; the traditional music and dance presentations at the Plaza del Quinto Centenario; the Sunday mass and celebration; and the use of sufficient kiosks so that the plaintiff can finance its community efforts. 95. Due to constitutional violations committed by the Municipality and Ms. Cruz, apparently at the behest of the Spanish Broadcasting Company, the plaintiff is also entitled to be paid by defendants the following damages: a) Compensatory damages for all harm suffered, b) Punitive damages, c) Attorney fees, d) and any other benefits allowed by law. SECOND CLAIM FOR RELIEF (VIOLATION OF THE FIRST AMENDMENT FREE SPEECH) 96. Plaintiff incorporates as if realleged the preceding paragraphs with the same force and effect as if herein set forth. 96. Because defendants have violated the plaintiff s right to free speech by seeking to replace their traditional music and danza presentations with modern and entirely secular presentations, these actions are illegal and violate the First Amendment s right to free speech. 16

17 Page 17 of The Comité is entitled to an injunction, reversing the act of reprisal of depriving the plaintiff of the opportunity of presenting Puerto Rican cultural activities, including danza, plena and bomba at the Plaza del Quinto Centenario for the Comité s exercise of its right of expression under the First Amendment. 98. The defendants engaged in policies and practices which willfully, or in the alternative unwillfully, violated the Comité s right to free speech in a public forum. 99. The plaintiff asks this Court to issue an injunction assuring their right to present traditional Puerto Rican music and dance at the Plaza del Quinto Centenario during the Fiestas de la Calle San Sebastián and to overturn the municipal defendants act of reprisal for the Comite s act of free expression As a result of the aforementioned, the plaintiff is entitled to be paid by defendant the following damages: a) Compensatory damages for the harm caused, b) Punitive damages, c) Attorney fees, d) and any other benefits allowed by law. THIRD CLAIM FOR RELIEF VIOLATION OF THE LANHAM ACT 15 U.S.C. 1116, 1117, 1125 (a) AND PUERTO RICO TRADEMARK LAW, 10 L.P.R.A., sec. 171, et seq Plaintiff incorporates as if realleged the preceding paragraphs with the same force and effect as if herein set forth The Comité Fiestas de la Calle San Sebastián is a Puerto Rican non-for profit corporation that for many years, and certainly long before the acts of infringement 17

18 Page 18 of 26 subject of this complaint, has been engage in the business of the creation and producing the event Fiestas de la Calle San Sebastián At least as early as January of 1970 the plaintiff has continuously produced and marketed the Event. At a great expense and effort it has developed and marketed the Event under the name of Las Fiestas de la Calle San Sebastián As a result of the widespread use and acceptance of the plaintiff s services by the public, the Event has come to be, and now is, well and favorably known to the public under the trademark as Fiestas de la Calle San Sebastian, Fiestas de la Calle and la Sanse. The plaintiff is the exclusive owner of these trademarks The plaintiff has given licenses to certain companies to utilize such marks as the exclusive sponsors of the Comité for the Event. During the last 44 years no sponsor has been able to announce any of its products in connection with the Event if it was not a Comité s sponsor Likewise, the Committee has given implicit (non-exclusive) free licenses to the artisans and other artists to use the trademarks during the four days Event Due to the hard work of 44 years, the trademarks become their own right distinctive symbols of source, which stand for the quality and reputation of the plaintiff s services. Accordingly, the plaintiff s trademarks have become famous and have built up a substantial commercial reputation and incalculable associate goodwill that make these trademarks well known and famous, given them an added brand value that belongs exclusively to the plaintiff. The notorious marks are not only known on the island but internationally, and have also built up a secondary meaning The plaintiff has presented applications at the Puerto Rico s Trademark Office, (PRTO). Although the PRTO has not yet issue the registration certificates 18

19 Page 19 of 26 corresponding to the applications, and even the Municipality and Ms. Cruz knew about such applications, no objections whatsoever have been raised In spite of the plaintiff s rights and prior use of the trademarks, the Municipality and Ms. Cruz are using the trademarks in the media as their own, and have announced their intention to use them in advertising and in merchandise without the Comité s permission, in part for the commercial benefit of the Spanish Broadcasting Company as well as for the pecuniary benefit of the Municipality In fact, the Municipality has even admitted that it has instructed sponsors from which the Municipality is receiving financial benefit for the use of the trademarks not to afford sponsorships to the Comite, while turning a blind eye to sponsorships issued from beer distributors and others to commercial for profit businesses, principally bars The Municipality is deliberately misleading the public and its actions have caused and are causing confusion inasmuch it is using the plaintiff s marks without any authorization, deceiving purchasers as to the quality of the service and the source of origin of the same. The Municipality and its contractors and/or employees in bad faith have essentially used and plan to continue to use the plaintiff s trademarks, for the same services, the same trade channels, advertising channels, and target the same classes of prospective customers In view of the fame and substantial goodwill of the plaintiff s trademarks, members of the public are likely to believe that the defendant s use of the very same name of the plaintiff s marks is approved, affiliated to, or is made by, the same source that owns the Event The Municipality, knowing that the marks belong to the plaintiff, has also authorized its contractors and/or employees to deal with other parties on its behalf 19

20 Page 20 of 26 in connection with the plaintiff s services. The Municipality is using the trademarks to benefit from the plaintiff s reputation gained during 44 years of hard work Upon information and belief. Wanda Figueroa and Samuel Concepción have been negotiating or attempting to negotiate with third parties on behalf of the Municipality and/or Ms. Cruz, using the plaintiff s trademarks. Mrs. Figueroa and Mr. Concepción has informed that the Municipality and the Comité are the same in order to enable defendants to deceive the public by passing off the plaintiff s services In addition, the Municipality is commercializing the plaintiff s trademarks, for which has signed several agreements and has made a myriad of utterances to the media, falsely designating the origin of the service, which constitutes unfair competition. The plaintiff has been affected by the Municipality s dishonest, unfair and unjustifiable acts, which tries to offer the public the plaintiff s services as its own Furthermore, the Municipality is not only illegally using the plaintiff s trademarks in order to getting presumably for a third party and for itself the sponsorship of companies that have sponsored the Comité until 2014 and others, but also has diluted and attempts to dilute the trademarks, using them in a manner that blurs and tarnishes or appropriates their goodwill and reputation Upon information and belief, Spanish Broadcasting System is also illegally using the plaintiff s trademarks to contract artists and getting sponsorships for the festival. The Municipality and Spanish Broadcasting System have an actual or apparent partnership and upon information and belief, they have authority to bind 20

21 Page 21 of 26 one another in transactions with third parties or exercise control over the infringed mark Plaintiff requests this Honorable Court to enjoin the defendants actions since they are already causing and will cause further irreparable harm to the plaintiff As a result of the before mentioned, the plaintiff is entitled to be paid by defendant the following damages: a) Compensatory damages for suffered; b) Statutory damages; c) Attorney fees, d) and any other benefits allowed by law The Comité also seeks an injunction against the use of the marks Fiestas de la Calle San Sebastian, Fiestas de la Calle and la SanSe without its permission and for attempting to prohibit sponsors from contracting with the Comité for the use of the trademarks. The defendants actions are damaging and will continue to damage the plaintiff substantially and irrevocable unless restrained by this court. The plaintiff does have o adequate remedy at law. 21 FOURTH CLAIM FOR RELIEF (ARTICLES 1802 AND 1803 OF THE PUERTO RICO CIVIL CODE- LIBEL) 121. Plaintiff incorporates as if re-alleged the preceding paragraphs with the same force and effect as if herein set forth Municipal defendants have libeled the Comité by stating on Radio Isla that the Comité receives payments under the table for its services. Municipal defendants also said to members of the media that the Comité is a finca privada driven by money, treats the Fiestas de San Sebastián as a private ATM card, that it cooks its

22 Page 22 of 26 books, even though it files audited financial statements. Ms. Cruz should know the latter because the statements are filed on line with the Puerto Rico Department of State As Municipal defendants know, the statements are untrue and have caused the Comité harm Coca Cola and Medalla, previous official sponsors of the plaintiff, have informed the Comité that they will not sponsor it without the mayor s seal of approval, which she admits denying As a result of the before mentioned, the Comité is entitled to be paid by codefendant Cruz the following compensatory damages: a) A sum in excess of $500, for the harm done. b) Any other permitted damages under the law. FIFTH CLAIM FOR RELIEF ARTICLES 1802 AND 1803 OF THE PUERTO RICO CIVIL CODE 126. Plaintiffs incorporate as if re-alleged the preceding paragraphs with the force and effect as if herein set forth Defendant Spanish Broadcasting System has violated the Puerto Rico Civil Code by interfering with a contractual relationship between the Comité and the Municipality, and presumably with the sponsors The Comité asks this Court to order the Spanish Broadcasting System to cease and desist from interfering with the Comité s existing and future contractual relationship with the Municipality and sponsors, and to compensate them for any and all economic harm caused as a result. 22

23 Page 23 of 26 SIXTH CLAIM FOR RELIEF PUERTO RICO CONSTITUTION ARTICLE II, SECTION 3 FREE EXERCISE CLAUSE 129. Plaintiffs incorporate as if re-alleged the preceding paragraphs with the force and effect as if herein set forth Defendants Municipality of San Juan and Mrs. Cruz by the acts previously described in this complaint, violated the Constitution of Puerto Rico, Article II, Section 3, which requires that all persons have a right to free exercise of their religion Defendants aggressive attack on plaintiffs free exercise of their religion under the Puerto Rico Constitution entitles plaintiff to injunctive relief, providing that defendants cease and desist from all acts designed to prevent them from operating the Fiestas de la Calle San Sebastian as the Comité has for decades as well as to compensate them for their damages. SEVENTH CLAIM FOR RELIEF 31 L.P.R.A et seq. (BREACH OF GOOD FAITH IN CONTRACTUAL NEGOTIATIONS) 132. Plaintiff incorporates as if re-alleged the preceding paragraphs with the same force and effect as if herein set forth Defendants have breached their obligation under Puerto Rico law to negotiate in good faith with the Comité, which has had contracts with the Municipality for decades Co-defendant Cruz s repeated assertions that she will not negotiate with the plaintiff, without recognizing the Comité s constitutional and statutory rights, ignores the proprietary rights acquired by the Comité over the past several decades. 23

24 Page 24 of Plaintiff has always been willing to negotiate with the Municipality in good faith, understanding the fiscal problems that the contraction of Puerto Rico s economy over the past several years has caused But the Comité de la Fiestas de la Calle San Sebastian has never taken money from the Municipality as the event organizer contracted by the city in the past has done The Comité asks the Court to order the Municipality of San Juan to negotiate with the Comité in a manner that recognizes the proprietary rights acquired by the Comité, without interference from any third party such as co-defendant Spanish Broadcasting System seeking to benefit from such rights. EIGHTH CLAIM FOR RELIEF 11 L.P.R.A. 171 et seq. (Puerto Rico Trademark Law) 138. The plaintiff incorporates as if re-alleged the preceding paragraphs with the same force and effect as if herein set forth. In particular, the plaintiff re asserts that it has no interest in deriving income from licensing its trademarks for the sale of memorabilia from the Fiestas such as T-shirts, etc Pursuant to Puerto Rico Trademark Law, the Comité asks the Court to enjoin defendants from using their trademarks without the permission of the Comité To the extent defendants obtain financial benefit from using plaintiff s trademarks, plaintiff asks the Court to order defendants to pay that money to the plaintiff Plaintiff demands a trial by jury. TRIAL BY JURY 24

25 Page 25 of 26 WHEREFORE, in view of the foregoing, the plaintiffs respectfully request that judgment be entered against the defendants jointly and severally, as follows: a) Ordering the defendants to pay plaintiffs compensatory damages, punitive damages and attorneys fees plus interest as per the First Claim for Relief (Violation of the Free Exercise Clause of the First Amendment); b) Ordering the defendants to pay plaintiffs compensatory damages for emotional harm and physical harm, as per the Second Claim for Relief (Violation of Freedom of Speech Clause of the First Amendment); c) Ordering the defendants cease and desist from using plaintiff s trademarks without their permission and to pay plaintiffs compensation in the form of all money derived from plaintiff s trademark without plaintiff s permission and attorneys fees plus interest as per the Third Claim for Relief (Lanham Act); d) Ordering the defendants to pay plaintiffs a sum in excess of $500,000.00, plus interest as per the Fourth Claim for Relief (Libel); f) Ordering defendants to pay plaintiffs a sum in excess of $500, as per the Sixth Claim for Relief (Tortious Interference with Contract); g) Ordering defendants to pay plaintiffs a sum in excess of $500, as per the Sixth Claim for Relief (Puerto Rico Constitution, Free Exercise Clause); h) Ordering defendants to negotiate an agreement with plaintiff in good faith as per the Seventh Claim for Relief (Breach of Good Faith Negotiations); i) Ordering defendants to cease and desist all efforts to use plaintiff s trademarks without plaintiff s permission and to compensate plaintiff with all money from the use of plaintiff s trademarks (Puerto Rico Trademark Law); 25

26 Page 26 of 26 violations; j) Ordering defendants to cease and desist from any further constitutional k) Ordering the defendants in the respective causes of action to pay interests, costs, and attorney s fees, pursuant to 42 USCA 1988; and, l) Granting such other and further relief as may be just and proper. RESPECTFULLY SUBMITTED. In San Juan, Puerto Rico this 31st day of December LAW OFFICES OF JANE BECKER WHITAKER P.O. Box San Juan, Puerto Rico