Hood Packaging Corporation v. Steinwagner
MEMORANDUM OF LAW & ORDER. IT IS HEREBY ORDERED: Defendant Brian Steinwagner's Motion to Vacate, Amend or Clarify the Preliminary Injunction 91 is GRANTED.(Written Opinion). Signed by Chief Judge Michael J. Davis on 3/16/15. (GRR)
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
DISTRICT OF MINNESOTA
HOOD PACKAGING CORPORATION,
MEMORANDUM OF LAW & ORDER
Civil File No. 14-02979 (MJD/FLN)
Mary M.L. O’Brien, John E. Radmer and George H. Norris, Meagher & Geer,
PLLP, Counsel for Plaintiff.
Jared D. Kemper and Timothy D. Kelly, Dykema Gosset, PLLC, Counsel for
This matter is before the Court on Defendant Brian Steinwagner’s Motion
to Vacate, Amend or Clarify the Preliminary Injunction. [Docket No. 91] The
Court heard oral argument on Friday, March 6th.
This lawsuit arises out of Hood’s allegations that Defendant Brian
Steinwagner (“Steinwagner”) breached terms of a 2009 Confidentiality,
Invention, Non-Compete and Non-Solicitation Agreement (“the Agreement”)
with Plaintiff Hood Packaging Corporation (“Hood”).
Hood filed its initial Complaint against Steinwagner on July 22, 2014. On
August 5, 2014, Hood filed a Motion for a Temporary Restraining Order and
Preliminary Injunction against Steinwagner, seeking to enjoin him from violating
the terms of the Agreement. Hood’s motion also requested a Court order
allowing the parties to conduct expedited discovery.
On September 2, 2014, the Court entered an Order allowing expedited
discovery. On September 9, 2014, the Court granted, in part, Hood’s motion for
injunctive relief based on the likelihood that Hood would suffer irreparable harm
if a preliminary injunction did not issue. The injunction was to remain in effect
until the earlier of June 5, 2015, or further order of this Court.
In support of his Motion to Vacate, Amend or Clarify the Injunction,
Steinwagner argues that the preliminary injunction should be vacated for three
reasons: first, the Agreement was not supported by bargained-for consideration;
second, the Agreement allowed “grandfather rights” to Steinwagner as to
customers he brought to Hood; and third, the Agreement was not triggered by
Steinwagner’s June 5, 2014 departure from Hood.
Standard of Review
This Court may exercise its discretion to vacate or modify an injunction.
United States v. Northshore Min. Co., 576 F.3d 840, 848 (8th Cir 2009) (citation
omitted). In deciding whether to vacate a preliminary injunction, the Court
employs the same standards it employed when first issuing the injunction. See
Baker Elec. Co-op., Inc. v. Chaske, 28 F.3d 1466, 1472 (8th Cir.1994). The Court
considers: (1) the likelihood that the movant will succeed on the merits of its
claim, (2) the threat of irreparable harm to the movant, (3) the balance between
that harm and the injury that granting the injunction may inflict on other
interested parties, and (4) whether the issuance of an injunction is in the public
interest. Dataphase Sys., Inc. v. CL Sys., Inc., 640 F.2d 109, 114 (8th Cir.1981) (en
“The absence of irreparable harm is sufficient grounds for vacating a
preliminary injunction.” Local Union No. 884 v. Bridgestone/Firestone, Inc., 61
F.3d 1347, 1355 (8th Cir. 1995) (quoting Modern Computer Sys., Inc. v. Modern
Banking Sys., Inc., 871 F.2d 734, 738 (8th Cir. 1989)).
Despite extensive discovery, including several depositions and exchange
of electronically stored information, Hood cannot point to any evidence of lost
customers or lost sales since Steinwagner left Hood. This includes the three
month period following Steinwagner’s departure when no injunction was in
effect. There is simply no foundation for finding that, in the remaining three
months of the injunction, Hood will be faced with a threat of irreparable harm so
great as to warrant further injunctive relief against Steinwagner. Therefore, the
Court will order that the injunction against Steinwagner be vacated. In so
ordering, however, the Court does not express any view on the merits of Hood’s
claims against Steinwagner.
Accordingly, based upon the files, records, and proceedings herein, IT IS
Defendant Brian Steinwagner’s Motion to Vacate, Amend or Clarify
the Preliminary Injunction [Docket No. 91] is GRANTED.
Dated: March 16, 2015
s/ Michael J. Davis
Michael J. Davis
United States District Court
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