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Gentex Corp. v. Sutter

IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT FOR THE MIDDLE DISTRICT OF PENNSYLVANIA


April 6, 2009

GENTEX CORPORATION, PLAINTIFF,
v.
BRAD SUTTER, PATRICK WALKO, BAE SYSTEMS AEROSPACE & DEFENSE GROUP, INC., BAE SYSTEMS AH INC. AND BAE SYSTEMS SPECIALTY DEFENSE SYSTEMS OF PENNSYLVANIA, INC., DEFENDANTS.

The opinion of the court was delivered by: Judge Caputo

MEMORANDUM

Before me is Motion to Reclassify Discovery Responses of Defendants Simula Aerospace & Defense Group, Inc. (n/k/a BAE Systems Aerospace & Defense Group, Inc.), Armor Holdings, Inc. (n/k/a BAE Systems AH Inc.) and Specialty Defense Systems of Pennsylvania Inc. (n/k/a BAE Systems Specialty Defense Systems of Pennsylvania, Inc.). (Doc. 78.) The motion seeks to abrogate the Plaintiff's designation "Attorneys' Eyes Only" (AEO) of discovery responses to interrogatories and requests for documents. Defendants contend the classification should be "Confidential" rather than AEO because the responses do not disclose any trade secrets.

Relief here is sought under Paragraph 14 of the Confidentiality Agreement and Protective Order. (Doc. 60.) Paragraph 14 allows for a party to object to a designation of AEO or Confidentiality and the order provides the burden is on the party seeking the protection to justify it.

As noted, the Defendants contend AEO is not warranted but Confidentiality is. This is so, Defendants say, because there are no trade secrets disclosed in the discovery responses.*fn1

Defendants contend it is necessary for various of its officers and employees to review the discovery responses to mount a defense. While I will not attempt to evaluate this contention, the fact remains that the designation of AEO was made, and unless it is not justified, the designation should remain unaltered.

There is nothing in the Order which suggests that trade secrets are subject to a specific designation. Moreover, on two occasions, I have indicated that the Plaintiff's discovery responses to pointed inquiry regarding the trade secret misappropriation claims of Plaintiff contained reasonable particularity as to the description of the misappropriated trade secrets of which Plaintiff was aware. Given this finding, to grant the current motion would require that I find trade secrets claimed to have been misappropriated were not described with reasonable particularity in the discovery responses provided by Plaintiff and designated AEO. I find no basis to reconsider my prior rulings on this subject.

Therefore, without more, I cannot conclude that the designation AEO should be changed to Confidential, and thus, the motion will be denied.

ORDER NOW, this 6th day of April, 2009, for the reasons set forth in the foregoing Memorandum, IT IS HEREBY ORDERED that Motion to Reclassify Discovery Responses of Defendants Simula Aerospace & Defense Group, Inc. (n/k/a BAE Systems Aerospace & Defense Group, Inc.), Armor Holdings, Inc. (n/k/a BAE Systems AH Inc.) and Specialty Defense Systems of Pennsylvania Inc. (n/k/a BAE Systems Specialty Defense Systems of Pennsylvania, Inc.) (Doc. 78) is DENIED.

A. Richard Caputo United States District Judge


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