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.

Vizant Technologies, LLC v. Whitchurch

United States District Court, E.D. Pennsylvania

February 13, 2017

VIZANT TECHNOLOGIES, LLC, et al.
v.
JULIE P. WHITCHURCH, et al.

          MEMORANDUM

          Bartle, J.

         On January 8, 2016, the court granted summary judgment on liability in favor of plaintiffs Vizant Technologies, LLC, and its chief executive officer, Joseph Bizzarro, and against defendant Julie P. Whitchurch, a former Vizant employee, on their claims of defamation and tortious interference with existing and prospective business relationships. The court also granted summary judgment on liability in favor of Vizant and against Whitchurch on certain breach of contract claims, as well as misappropriation of trade secrets under the Delaware Uniform Trade Secrets Act, Del. Code Ann. tit. 6, §§ 2001 et seq.[1]

         The court, the same day, entered a permanent injunction against Whitchurch.[2] The January 8, 2016 permanent injunction provided, in relevant part:

[I]t is hereby ORDERED that:
Julie P. Whitchurch . . . [is] permanently enjoined from engaging in any conduct or taking any action whatsoever to cause or to discourage any person or entity from doing business, investing in, or maintaining an employment or other relationship with Vizant Technologies, LLC or with any entity or person affiliated with Vizant Technologies, LLC.

         The Court of Appeals affirmed the permanent injunction on January 13, 2017. See Vizant Technologies, LLC v. Whitchurch, No. 16-1178 (3d Cir. Jan. 13, 2017).

         On March 2, 2016, the court held a non-jury trial on the issue of damages. Whitchurch, who was aware of the date, time, and location of the trial, did not appear. Thereafter, on March 22, 2016 the court entered judgment in favor of Vizant and against Whitchurch in the amount of $2, 256, 427.12 for compensatory damages, attorneys' fees, and costs and entered judgment in favor of Bizzarro and against Whitchurch in the amount of $500, 000 for damages related to his claim of defamation.[3]

         A number of months later on November 10, 2016 plaintiffs filed a motion for an Order for Whitchurch to Show Cause why she should not be sanctioned for making threatening and disorderly comments through email to the court and the court staff.

         On November 28, 2016, plaintiffs filed a second motion for an Order to Show Cause. They asserted that Whitchurch should be required to show cause why she should not be sanctioned for violation the court's January 8, 2016 permanent injunction as a result of her November 21, 2016 email communication to Vizant's largest investor, Frank Seidman. On January 18, 2017, we entered two orders directing Whitchurch to show cause why she should not be held in contempt and scheduled a hearing for February 2, 2017. Our January 18, 2017 Order relating to Whitchurch's email to Seidman stated in relevant part:

It is further ORDERED that defendant, Julie P. Whitchurch, show cause before this court on February 2, 2017, at 10:00 A.M., in Courtroom 16A, United States Courthouse, 601 Market Street, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, why (1) the defendant should not be held in contempt for violating the permanent injunction entered by the court on January 8, 2016 (Doc. # 214) by emailing Frank Seidman of Capital Solutions, Inc. on November 21, 2016; and (2) sanctions should not be imposed upon the defendant for willfully violating the permanent injunction.

         On February 1, 2017, the day before the hearing, Whitchurch filed a motion “for relief.” She urged the court to “withdraw, reconsider, and/or stay the contempt proceedings[, ]” arguing in essence that the Court of Appeals had not affirmed the permanent injunction and thus it did not have any effect. Later that day, the court entered an order and accompanying memorandum denying Whitchurch's motion. The court explained that the Court of Appeals had affirmed on January 13, 2017 the permanent injunction and that Whitchurch was wrong in asserting that she was not bound by it. See Vizant Technologies, LLC v. Whitchurch, No. 16-1178 (3d Cir. Jan. 13, 2017). The court advised her that the hearing scheduled for February 2, 2017 at 10:00 A.M. would proceed.

         The court held an evidentiary civil contempt hearing on the motions on February 2, 2017. Whitchurch, although well aware of the hearing, did not appear. The court now makes the following findings of fact and conclusions of law. All facts have been established by clear and convincing evidence.

         I.

         Civil contempt “is remedial, and for the benefit of the complainant.” Int'l Union, United Mineworkers of Am. v. Bagwell, 512 U.S. 821, 827 (1994) (quoting Gompers v. Bucks Stove & Range Co., 221 U.S. 418, 441 (1911)). If successful in civil contempt proceedings, the complainant is entitled to costs of investigating the violation of the court's order, preparing for and conducting the contempt proceeding, and attorneys' fees. See Gompers, 221 U.S. at 447; see also Robin Woods Inc. v. Woods, 28 F.3d 396, 400 (3d Cir. 1994). The award of ...


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.