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Dura Global Technologies, Inc. v. Magna Donnelly Corp.

April 9, 2010

DURA GLOBAL TECHNOLOGIES, INC., DURA OPERATING CORP., PLAINTIFFS,
v.
MAGNA DONNELLY CORPORATION, A/K/A DONNELLY CORPORATION, DEFENDANT.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Honorable Sean F. Cox United States District Judge

OPINION & ORDER DENYING DEFENDANT'S MOTION FOR RECONSIDERATION [Doc. No. 352]

Plaintiff Dura Global Technologies, Inc. ("Dura") filed this patent infringement, unfair competition, and trade secret misappropriation action on March 5, 2007 against Defendant Magna Donnelly Corporation, a/k/a Donnelly Corporation ("Donnelly"). On September 18, 2009, the Court denied Donnelly's "Motion for Judgment on the Pleadings." [See Sept. 18, 2009 Opinion & Order, Doc. No. 345]. The matter is currently before the Court on Donnelly's "Motion for Reconsideration of Opinion and Order Denying Defendant's Motion for Judgment on the Pleadings" [Doc. No. 352]. The Court declines to hear oral argument pursuant to Local Rule 7.1(h)(2). For the reasons below, the Court DENIES Donnelly's motion for reconsideration [Doc. No. 352].

STANDARD OF REVIEW

The Court's local rule regarding motions for reconsideration states as follows, in pertinent part:

Generally, and without restricting the court's discretion, the court will not grant motions for rehearing or reconsideration that merely presents the same issues ruled upon by the court, either expressly or by reasonable implication. The movant must not only demonstrate a palpable defect by which the court and the parties have been misled but must also show that correcting the defect will result in a different disposition of the case.

E.D. MICH. L.R. 7.1(h)(3) (emphasis added).

ANALYSIS

In its motion for reconsideration [Doc. No. 352], Donnelly advances three arguments: 1) that recent case law has changed the standard for evaluating preemption issues under the Uniform Trade Secrets Act; 2) that Dura misstated facts in its response brief to the original motion; and 3) that recent case law has changed the standard for evaluating motions for judgment on the pleadings. For the reasons that follow, the Court find merit in none of these arguments.

I. The Standard for Preemption Under the Uniform Trade Secrets Act

In the Court's September 18, 2009 Opinion & Order [Doc. No. 345], the Court laid out the standard for evaluating the possible preemption of common law claims under the Michigan Uniform Trade Secrets Act, M.C.L. § 445.1903 et seq ("MUTSA"). The Court's discussion of that standard, in its entirety, was as follows:

Bliss Clearing Niagara, Inc. v. Midwest Brake Bond Co., 270 F.Supp.2d 943 (W.D. Mich. 2003) was the first case to interpret the displacement provisions of MUTSA. Bliss, 270 F.Supp.2d at 946. Bliss held that courts must "examine whether the claim is based solely upon the misappropriation of a trade secret. If so, the claim must be dismissed." Id. (emphasis added). However, "[t]o the extent a cause of action exists in the commercial area not dependant on trade secrets, that cause continues to exist." Id. at 947 (emphasis in original). The court in Bliss denied summary judgment on claims for tortious interference and unfair competition, holding that those claims were "based upon wrongful conduct independent of the misappropriation of trade secrets" above and beyond their misappropriation claims. Id. at 950.

Similarly, in Wysong Corp. v. M.I. Industries, 412 F.Supp.2d 612, 623-24 (E.D. Mich. 2005), this Court held that the plaintiff's claims for breach of fiduciary duty were not displaced by MUTSA, "because those claims were not based factually or legally on the misappropriation of secret information." The Court also refused to dismiss unjust enrichment and conspiracy claims which were based on the wrongful taking of Wysong's corporate opportunity and the theft of secret information. Id. [Sept. 18, 2009 Opinion & Order, Doc. No. 345, p.6].

In its motion [Doc. No. 352], Donnelly argues as follows:

The Court's holding interprets the standard to mean that the elements for the common law claim must have the exact same facts as the USTA claim in order to be preempted. However, more recent cases decided since Magna Donnelly's Motion for Summary Judgment have held that the standard for preemption under the USTA is more clearly defined by the "same facts" or "same proof" standard. Under this standard if proof of a non-USTA claim would also simultaneously establish a claim for misappropriation of trade secrets, it is preempted irrespective of whatever surplus elements or proof were necessary to establish it. See, Allied Erecting ...


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