Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

Wawrzynski v. H.J. Heinz Co.

United States District Court, W.D. Pennsylvania

January 7, 2015

DAVID WAWRZYNSKI, Plaintiff,
v.
H. J. HEINZ COMPANY, et al., Defendants.

MEMORANDUM OPINION

ARTHUR J. SCHWAB, District Judge.

Plaintiff sued Defendants for breach of implied contract and unjust enrichment pertaining to a condiment package used to dispense ketchup. Second Amended Complaint, doc. no. 107. Presently before the Court is Defendants' Motion for Summary Judgment and Brief in support of same. Doc. no. 114 and 115. Plaintiff filed a Response in Opposition to Defendants' Motion for Summary Judgment. Doc. no. 119. Defendants filed a Reply to the Response in Opposition. Doc. no. 124.

In the interim, this Court granted Plaintiff's request to conduct additional discovery, and then allowed the parties to file Supplemental Briefs related to the evidence adduced through the additional discovery. Plaintiff and Defendants timely filed their Supplemental Briefs (and corresponding exhibits) under seal. See doc nos. 148 and 150. This matter is now ripe for adjudication.

I. BACKGROUND

A. Procedural History

Plaintiff sued Defendants for breach of implied contract and unjust enrichment pertaining to a container used to dispense ketchup. Doc. no. 1-2. Plaintiff originally filed this lawsuit in the Wayne County Circuit Court for the State of Michigan, but Defendants removed the matter to the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan in November of 2010. See doc. nos. 1, 1-2.

Shortly after removing the case to this Court, Defendants filed a Motion to Dismiss Plaintiff's Complaint (doc. no. 2), and in response, Defendant filed an Amended Complaint which continued to assert causes of action for breach of implied contract and unjust enrichment. Doc. no. 4. In response to Plaintiff's Amended Complaint, Defendants filed a Motion to Dismiss, or, in the Alternative to Transfer Venue. Doc. no. 9. The District Court granted the Alternative Motion to Transfer Venue, and in August of 2011, the case was transferred to the United States District Court for the Western District of Pennsylvania, and was initially assigned to Judge Terrence McVerry. Doc. no. 20.

Once the matter was before Judge McVerry, the Defendants filed an Answer to Plaintiff's Complaint along with a Counterclaim alleging that that they did not infringe Plaintiff's condiment container patent and/or that the Plaintiff's container patent was invalid. Doc. no. 26. Plaintiff filed a Motion to Dismiss Defendants' Counterclaim (doc. no. 33), and after the matter was fully briefed, the Court denied Plaintiff's Motion to Dismiss the Counterclaim. Doc. no. 49.

Upon reaching the decision that Defendants' patent counterclaim could proceed, Judge McVerry recused himself in accordance with the Court's Local Patent Rules and Patent Pilot Program (Section (a)(1)(c) of Public Law 111-349). Doc. no. 53. The matter was then reassigned to this Court. See text orders dated March 8, 2012 reassigning this matter.

Shortly thereafter, Plaintiff filed an Answer to Defendants' Counterclaim. Doc. no. 60. However, Plaintiff then filed another Motion to Dismiss the Counterclaim. Doc. no. 62.

On April 13, 2012, Defendants filed a Response to Plaintiff's (second) Motion to Dismiss their Counterclaim (doc. no. 69), and simultaneously filed a Motion for Summary Judgment. Doc. no. 67. Defendants' Motion for Summary Judgment (and Brief in Support) argued that: (1) Plaintiff's two common law claims were preempted by federal patent law; and (2) based on the evidence of record, Plaintiff could not prevail on either of his two common law claims, as a matter of law. Doc. nos. 67, 68.

The Court denied Plaintiff's (second) Motion to Dismiss the Counterclaim. Doc. no. 79. Shortly thereafter, Plaintiff filed a Motion to Stay the Court's Decision on the second basis for Defendants' Motion for Summary Judgment. Doc. no. 81.

The Court granted Defendants' Motion for Summary Judgment solely on the first basis for the motion - patent preemption (doc. no. 84) - and thus, denied Plaintiff's Motion to Stay the Court's Decision on the second basis as moot. Doc. no. 85. Once the Court determined that the patent counterclaim preempted Plaintiff's common law claims, the only remaining claims in this case were Defendants' counterclaims for non-infringement of patent (Count I) and invalidity of patent (Count II).

Defendants filed a Motion for Summary Judgment on the Counterclaims. Doc. no. 86. In response, Plaintiff filed a Response in Opposition to the Motion for Summary Judgment on the Counterclaim for non-infringement (Count I) and Defendants agreed to withdraw the Counterclaim for invalidity of patent (count II). Doc. no. 89.

On June 12, 2012, this Court granted Defendants' Motion for Summary Judgment on the Counterclaim for non-infringement (Count I) for Voluntary Dismissal of the Counterclaim for invalidity (Count II). Doc. no. 92. Plaintiff appealed this decision to the United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit, which, in turn, issued an Opinion and Judgment determining that this case was not a patent case, and transferred the matter to the United States Court of Appeals for Third Circuit. Doc. no. 97.

On July 21, 2014, the Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit issued a Judgment reversing, vacating, and remanding the judgment of this Court. Doc. no. 100. After the Mandate was filed on August 12, 2014 (doc. no. 102), this Court ordered Plaintiff to file a Second Amended Complaint based on the rulings from the Courts of Appeals, and scheduled an initial case management conference. See text Order dated ...


Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.