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M.H. Eby, Inc. v. Timpte Indus., Inc.

United States District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania

December 19, 2019, Decided; December 19, 2019, Filed

CIVIL ACTION NO. 19-386

Opinion

MEMORANDUM OPINION

Smith, J.

December 19, 2019

The plaintiff originally commenced this action seeking a declaratory judgment that it was blameless in (1) ending its 40-year relationship [*2]  with the defendant in which it served as an authorized dealer of the defendant's trailers and parts and (2) starting to manufacture and sell its own trailers. Specifically, the plaintiff seeks declarations that it properly terminated an agreement between the parties, that it is not required to return anything to the defendant, and that it did not violate the defendant's intellectual property rights. Unsurprisingly, the defendant's newly asserted counterclaims allege a different story. The defendant alleges that plaintiff fraudulently induced it to enter into the agreement, that the plaintiff breached the agreement, that the plaintiff misappropriated trade secrets, and that the plaintiff engaged in unfair competition by misusing the defendant's confidential information.

In response to these allegations, the plaintiff has now filed this motion pursuant to Rule 12(b)(6) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure to dismiss the defendant's counterclaims. After thoroughly reviewing the allegations in the amended counterclaim and the parties' submissions, the court finds that the defendant has set forth plausible counterclaims against the plaintiff, and the various arguments that the plaintiff invokes are insufficient to bar the counterclaims. [*3]  Therefore, the court will deny the motion to dismiss in its entirety. However, the court will provide plaintiff with the ability to reassert its arguments at a later stage in the litigation when these arguments are no longer premature and when the record is more fully developed.

I. ALLEGATIONS AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY

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2019 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 217867 *; 2019 WL 6910153

M.H. EBY, INC., Plaintiff, v. TIMPTE INDUSTRIES, INC. d/b/a TIMPTE, INC., Defendant.

Prior History: M.H. Eby, Inc. v. Timpte Indus., 2019 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 125086 (E.D. Pa., July 26, 2019)

CORE TERMS

trade secret, trailers, counterclaims, alleges, hopper-bottom, confidential, motion to dismiss, misappropriation, concealment, unfair competition, dealer, terminate, parties, argues, fraudulent misrepresentation, limitation of liability, manufacture, customers, secret, grain, gist, breach of contract, customer list, ambiguous, disclose, damages, factual allegations, amended answer, asserts, pricing