Appeal from the Order of the Court of Common Pleas of Chester County, Civil, at No. 152 Equity 1983.
Thomas B. Kenworthy, Philadelphia, for appellant.
Fred T. Cadmus, III, Pottstown and Norman L. Norris, Philadelphia, for appellee.
Montemuro, Popovich and Watkins, JJ.
[ 346 Pa. Super. Page 254]
This case is before us for the second time. In the earlier appeal, we vacated the order of the trial court, which had continued a preliminary injunction against appellant (hereinafter Pirkle), because the court had denied Pirkle his right to a fair hearing pursuant to Pa.R.Civ.P. 1531(d). We then
[ 346 Pa. Super. Page 255]
remanded the case in order to permit Pirkle the opportunity to present testimony or other evidence in his own behalf. Ogontz Controls Co. v. Pirkle, 329 Pa. Super. 8, 477 A.2d 876 (1984).
In accordance with this court's directive, the trial court scheduled a hearing for June 21, 1984. At the hearing, appellee (hereinafter Ogontz) presented evidence consisting of the testimony of Ogontz' president, Thomas M. Kenny, and Ogontz' director of engineering, Nicholas J. Tallos. Pirkle's counsel cross-examined both of these witnesses. Pirkle, however, produced no testimony or other evidence in his own behalf, informing the court that he could not properly do so until further discovery took place. Subsequently, by a letter dated July 5, 1984, Pirkle's counsel informed the court that he intended to take no further discovery and would rely on the evidence as already presented. He also informed the court that Ogontz' previously filed motion to reinstate the preliminary injunction was "'now ripe for disposition.'" Lower Court Opinion of May 9, 1985, at 2; Appellant's brief, at 5. By order dated May 9, 1985, the trial court reinstated the preliminary injunction. This appeal followed.
The foregoing procedural history grew out of a complaint in equity, filed by Ogontz, alleging that Pirkle, a former Ogontz employee, had violated his employment contract and misappropriated trade secrets. Pirkle allegedly was manufacturing and selling a particular water valve,*fn1 used in the railroad industry, in direct violation of his employment contract. Although Pirkle had left Ogontz' employ prior to the filing of the complaint, Ogontz claimed that because the valve in question had been developed while Pirkle was still employed by Ogontz, Pirkle's subsequent actions represented a violation of specific provisions of the employment contract.*fn2
[ 346 Pa. Super. Page 256]
The complaint sought to enjoin Pirkle from manufacturing and selling the valve, as well as to recover the total amount of sales of all valves sold by Pirkle, and other relief. A preliminary injunction was requested pending the outcome of the trial on the merits.
As his first assignment of error, Pirkle argues that the lower court lacked subject matter jurisdiction and therefore could not order the preliminary injunction. He claims the cause of action falls within the exclusive jurisdiction of the ...