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Widmar v. Sun Chemical

June 28, 2012

WIDMAR
v.
SUN CHEMICAL



Name of Assigned Judge D. Leinenweber Sitting Judge if Other or Magistrate Judge Harry than Assigned Judge

CASE TITLE

DOCKET ENTRY TEXT

For the following reasons, Plaintiff's motion to quash a subpoena or for a protective order [DKT 105] is granted.

O[ For further details see text below.] Docketing to mail notices.

STATEMENT

Plaintiff has moved to quash a subpoena issued to his current employer, or for a protective order. Defendant began employment with a new employer, Grafsolve, in April, 2012. Defendants now seek to subpoena from Grafsolve:

1. Grafsolve's e-mail communications to and from Mr. Widmar, or his sole proprietorship;

2. Grafsolve's e-mails and documents relating to any prospective employment or business relationship with Plaintiff, his company, and/or his business colleague, Jeff Patrick;

3. Plaintiff's personnel file and employee relations file;

4. Plaintiff's benefits and compensation information;

5. all offers of employment or retention as an agent or independent contractor, and any documents, e-mails, or other communications related to any such offers.

Plaintiff argues that the subpoena is a naked attempt to interfere with his new job.

Defendants offer several reasons that the documents are relevant: a) to mitigation and damages, because they will illuminate how vigorously Plaintiff sought employment after being fired, and because Plaintiff's current discovery responses are unclear as to whether he still claims to be accruing back pay damages (his current commission and salary are projected to exceed his Sun Chemical salary); b) to Plaintiff's alleged reputational damage; and c) to Plaintiff's credibility, because Defendants claim that in another job application (that Plaintiff has already turned over), he lied about why he was fired. Because this Court has already had to order Plaintiff to turn over post-termination employment information, Defendants maintain that they should be permitted to seek this information directly from Grafsolve. Finally, Defendants argue that any harm to Plaintiff is speculative, and cannot outweigh their right to the information.

As to the issue of damages and mitigation, Plaintiff objects that he does not claim that Defendants' behavior negatively impacted his salary at Grafsolve, and that he is already under a court order to produce documents relating to his post-termination employment. Plaintiff notes that he has already produced his Grafsolve employment application, W-9 form, offer letter, employment agreement, and related e-mail communications. He also argues that it "defies logic" for Defendants seek this information in order to determine whether Plaintiff actively sought employment that pays him as well as Sun Chemical did, because before April he was employed by Core Components (which paid him $3, 000 per year less than Sun Chemical had), and left that job for this (theoretically more lucrative) position. Plaintiff notes that the vast majority of his back pay damages were "cut off" when Core hired him, and that Defendants cannot fairly claim that Plaintiff made insufficient efforts to obtain post-termination employment. Finally, Plaintiff argues that his performance in his new position has nothing to do with his damages and is not otherwise relevant ...


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