When we last wrote about IBM’s efforts to enjoin David Johnson, its former Vice President of Corporate Development, from joining Dell, Judge Stephen Robinson of the Southern District of New York had denied IBM’s second motion for preliminary injunction and the Second Circuit Court of Appeals was preparing to hold oral argument on the matter. The Court of Appeals has now issued a brief order upholding Judge Robinson’s decisions. After setting forth that it would review the District Court’s denials of the motions for preliminary injunction under the deferential abuse of discretion standard, the Court of Appeals upheld the denial of the first motion for preliminary injunction. In so doing, it cited to the trial court’s finding that Johnson was “extremely credible” and that IBM’s witness “lacked familiarity with documents bearing on the controversy.” The Court of Appeals also rejected IBM’s attacks on the trial court’s order denying the second preliminary injunction, finding that the trial court was correct when it held that it could not address the second motion because it concerned the same facts as the first motion, which was at that time before the Second Circuit.
The matter now returns to the trial court. In the last actions taken in the trial court prior to the resolution of the appeal, Johnson had moved to dismiss two counts of IBM’s Amended Complaint. The trial court had also denied Johnson’s request to stay discovery, instead directing the parties to agree on a scheduling order. The case will now proceed on those two fronts.