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Doebler's Pennsylvania Hybrids, Inc. v. Doebler

January 31, 2007

DOEBLER'S PENNSYLVANIA HYBRIDS, INC., PLAINTIFF,
v.
TAYLOR DOEBLER, III, AN INDIVIDUAL AND DOEBLER SEEDS, LLC D/B/A T.A. DOEBLER SEEDS, DEFENDANTS/THIRD PARTY PLAINTIFFS, V.: WILLARD L. JONES AND WILLIAM R. CAMERER, III, THIRD PARTY DEFENDANTS.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: James F. McCLURE, Jr. United States District Judge

MEMORANDUM

Judge McClure

BACKGROUND

On June 27, 2003, plaintiff Doebler's Pennsylvania Hybrids, Inc. (DPH) commenced this action with the filing of an eight-count complaint against defendants Taylor A. Doebler, III and Doebler Seeds, LLC d/b/a T.A. Doebler Seeds (TAS). In its complaint, DPT alleges that Taylor A. Doebler, III, by resigning from his employment as well as his seat on the board of directors of DPH, forming TAS, and hiring several former DPH employees, has, together with TAS, engaged in unfair competition, false designation of origin, trademark dilution, breach of fiduciary duty, misappropriate of trade secrets, and interference with business relations.

On September 23, 2003, this court granted a preliminary injunction in favor of plaintiff that enjoined defendant from using the DOEBLER name and selling certain hybrids.

On December 3, 2003, defendants filed an answer to the complaint, including affirmative defenses and counterclaims. The same day, defendants filed a seven-count third-party complaint naming Willard L. Jones and William R. Camerer, III as third-party defendants.

On September 8, 2004, this court granted summary judgment in favor of DPH and the third-party defendants and issued a permanent injunction that prevented defendants from using the name DOEBLER and selling certain hybrids.

Defendants appealed our September 8, 2004 decision and on March 23, 2006, the United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit reversed our grant of summary judgment and remanded the case for further proceedings.

This case is currently set for trial on March 1, 2007. On December 14, 2006, plaintiff filed a motion in limine to "exclude hearsay testimony at trial" of statements of Taylor A. Doebler, II. (Rec. Doc. No. 286.) The same day, third-party defendants filed a motion in limine seeking to exclude the same evidence. (Rec. Doc. No. 284.) Finally, the same day, defendants filed a motion in limine seeking to exclude evidence of trade secrets. (Rec. Doc. No. 288-1.) Supporting and opposition briefs have been filed for each motion. In addition, a reply and surreply brief have been filed for defendants' motion to exclude evidence of trade secrets.

Now, for the following reasons, the court will defer ruling on plaintiff and third-party defendants' motions and will deny defendants' motion to exclude evidence of trade secrets.

DISCUSSION

I. Plaintiff and Third-Party Defendants' Motions to Exclude Hearsay

Plaintiff and Third-Party Defendants' Motions in limine (collectively "plaintiff's motion") seek to exclude the same evidence: evidence of statements made by Taylor A. Doebler, Jr. ("Ted Doebler"). Therefore, we will handle these two motions together.

In the present case, plaintiff's motion seeks to exclude several statements made by Ted Doebler, who is now deceased. Rather than address each instance of hearsay it expects the defendants to offer at trial, plaintiff's motion simply cites multiple paragraphs ...


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