Crocs countersues competitor after original case withdrawn

NIWOT — Niwot-based Crocs footwear company has struck back at a Nevada company after the Nevada competitor filed and then withdrew a case against Crocs.

Crocs is asking a judge to financially penalize USA Dawgs for bad faith use of the court system.

Dawgs originally filed suit in July in Nevada alleging that a Crocs employee accessed Dawgs private account with Zulily in an attempt to impede Dawg’s business with the discount e-commerce site. Also named as defendants were the employee and her superiors, accordingly to a report in the Boulder Camera.

Dawgs voluntarily dismissed the case in November, according to court records, leading Crocs to claim the Nevada company used the court system in bad faith and to file a motions for sanctions Dec. 1. Crocs declined multiple requests for an interview but emailed this statement to the Camera:

“This is the third lawsuit that Dawgs has filed against Crocs and then abandoned in the Nevada Courts. The latest lawsuit escalated Dawgs’s harassment by leveling meritless claims directly against individual Crocs employees, which Dawgs then dismissed before the employees could defend themselves. Crocs believes that this is sanctionable conduct and is seeking remedies to prevent this type of misconduct in the future.”

Steven Mann, CEO of Dawgs, said he dismissed the suit because he got what he wanted: documents proving Crocs had illegally accessed the Zulily account.

“We had reached out to Crocs and Zulily (and said) ‘Please give us proof you were not in our portal,'” Mann said. “We begged them for two months — they wouldn’t do it, refused to supply (the documents). It forced us to basically sue them for it.

“After we sued them, they produced the exact documents we were asking for. Once we received the evidence, we dropped the case.”

Mann plans to use the evidence in his company’s ongoing, 11-year lawsuit with Crocs in Colorado concerning Crocs cornerstone patent, as well as a new suit filed in August against 18 former and current Crocs executives alleging anti-trust violations.