United States District Court, W.D. Pennsylvania
GIBSON UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
the Court is the Motion to Stay Discovery (ECF No. 43) of
Defendant Cooper B-Line, Inc., doing business as Eaton B-Line
("Defendant"). The Motion is fully briefed (ECF
Nos. 44, 46, 50), and the Court held oral argument on the
Motion on August 19, 2019. The Motion is now ripe for
reasons that follow, Defendant's Motion to Stay Discovery
Subject-Matter Jurisdiction and Venue
Court has diversity jurisdiction over this dispute pursuant
to 28 U.S.C. § 1332(a)(1) because Plaintiff Creativ
Pultrusions, Inc. ("Plaintiff") is a citizen of a
different state than Defendant, and the amount in controversy
exceeds $75, 000. (ECF No. 1-1 ¶¶ 2-3, 40; ECF No.
4 ¶¶ 2-3.)
this case was originally filed in the Court of Common Pleas
of Bedford County, Pennsylvania, venue is proper in the
Western District of Pennsylvania pursuant to 28 U.S.C. §
1441(a). See Polizzi v. Cowles Magazines, Inc., 345
U.S. 663, 666 (1953) (explaining that the proper venue of a
removed action is "the district court of the United
States for the district and division embracing the place
where such [removed] action is pending").
to its Complaint, Plaintiff is a manufacturer of
fiberglass-reinforced polymer pultrusion products. (ECF No.
1-1 ¶ 7.) Among other products, Plaintiff manufactures
certain cable-tray and strut products (the
"Products") that are designed by Defendant and
supplied to Defendant for marketing and sale. (Id.)
1998, Plaintiff entered into a Partnership Agreement with
Defendant for the manufacture, marketing, and sale of the
Products. (Id. ¶ 8.) Under the Partnership
Agreement, Plaintiff is the exclusive manufacturer of the
Products, and Defendant has exclusive marketing rights to the
Products. (Id. ¶ 9.) Further, the Partnership
Agreement requires Plaintiff to provide the Products to the
partnership at its cost and requires Defendant to design and
market the Products for the partnership at its cost.
(Id. ¶ 10.) Pursuant to the Agreement,
Plaintiff and Defendant are to divide the net earnings of the
partnership on a 50/50 basis at the end of each month.
June 1998 through December 2017, the parties performed in
accordance with the Partnership Agreement. (Id.
¶ 12.) However, in December 2017, Defendant entered into
an agreement with someone other than Plaintiff to source the
Products, which Plaintiff alleges violated the exclusivity
provisions of the Partnership Agreement. (Id. ¶
16.) Defendant ceased requesting the Products from Plaintiff
for Defendant to market and sell, and Plaintiff was left with
hardware inventory in its possession that was not requested
by Defendant. (Id.)
April 26, 2018, Defendant sent a notice to Plaintiff that it
was terminating a different agreement between the parties
-the Private Labeling Agreement, which was dated May 1, 2005.
(Id. ¶ 17.) Plaintiff claims that the Private
Labeling Agreement is a contract between Plaintiff and
Defendant that is distinct from the Partnership Agreement and
that gave Plaintiff the right to market and sell certain of
Products to customers. (Id.) Plaintiff asserts that
Defendant's attempt to cancel the Private Labeling
Agreement did not cancel the Partnership Agreement.
(Id. ¶ 18.) Accordingly, Plaintiff claims that
the Partnership Agreement is still effective and that
Defendant has failed to comply with the terms of the
Agreement. (Id. ¶ 21.)
November 19, 2018, Plaintiff filed its Complaint (ECF No.
1-1) in the Court of Common Pleas of Bedford County,
Pennsylvania. In the Complaint, Plaintiff brought three
claims for relief: (1) a declaratory judgment claim seeking a
declaration that the Partnership Agreement is in effect and
enforceable through at least June 30, 2022, and that the
parties are required to perform according to its terms
through at least that date (id. ¶ 35); (2) a
breach-of-contract claim for breach of the Partnership
Agreement (id. ¶¶ 37-40); and (3) an
unjust-enrichment claim for Defendant's receipt of
benefits due to other parties supplying Defendant with the
Products and Defendant failing to provide Plaintiff with
fifty percent of the profits from those sales (id.
filed its Answer, Affirmative Defenses, and Counterclaim (ECF
No. 4) on December 20, 2018. Defendant brought the following
four counterclaims: (1) a breach-of-contract counterclaim
based on Plaintiff's alleged breach of the Private
Labeling Agreement (id. ¶¶ 39-49); (2) an
unjust-enrichment counterclaim for the proceeds that
Plaintiff received from Defendant that were improperly based
on Plaintiff's inflated costs for the production of the
Products (id. ¶¶ 50-56); (3) a
counterclaim for conversion due to Plaintiff's failure to
return the tooling for cable-tray products to Defendant when
Defendant terminated the Private Labeling Agreement
(id. ¶¶ 58-66); and (4) a declaratory
judgment claim seeking a ...