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GEOMC Co, Ltd. v. Competitive Technologies, Inc.

United States District Court, D. Connecticut

September 22, 2017

GEOMC CO., LTD., Plaintiff,
v.
CALMARE THERAPEUTICS, INCORPORATED, Defendant.

          RULING ON MOTIONS IN LIMINE AND EVIDENTIARY DISPUTES

          VICTOR A. BOLDEN UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.

         GEOMC Co., Ltd. (“Plaintiff, ” or “GEOMC”) brought this case against Calmare Therapeutics, Incorporated (“Defendant, ” or “CTI”), claiming that CTI failed to pay for or return certain medical devices that GEOMC manufactured and supplied to CTI. Complaint, ECF No. 1; Sec. Am. Compl., ECF No. 137. A bench trial in this matter is scheduled to begin on Monday, September 25, 2017.

         GEOMC has filed a motion in limine seeking to preclude the introduction of certain evidence. Pl. Mot. in Limine, ECF No. 191. Although CTI did not file any motions in limine, CTI also made requests in the joint trial memorandum regarding additional evidentiary disputes. Specifically, CTI seeks an adverse inference and seeks to preclude the admission of a particular trial exhibit. Joint Trial Mem., ECF No. 190.

         For the reasons outlined below, GEOMC's [191] Motion in Limine is GRANTED. CTI's request for an adverse inference is DENIED AS MOOT, and CTI's request to preclude the admission of Plaintiff's Exhibit 4 is DENIED without prejudice to renewal in the context of trial.

         I. FACTUAL AND PROCEDURAL BACKGROUND

         This case has now been pending for over three years. Despite the voluminous filings during that time, the underlying dispute between the parties is relatively simple. GEOMC claims that it manufactured and supplied certain medical devices to CTI under an agreement entered into by the parties in 2007 (“2007 Agreement”) and that CTI breached this agreement by failing to fully pay for those devices. See Ruling Re: Mot. for Summ. J. at 2-7, ECF No. 187. GEOMC also claims that it entered into a security agreement with CTI in 2012 (“2012 Security Agreement”), which entitled GEOMC to the return of 393 devices in the event of a contractual breach. Id. GEOMC claims that CTI failed to return those devices despite its breach of the 2007 Agreement.

         GEOMC filed its initial Complaint in August 2014 and amended its Complaint in October 2014. Compl., ECF No. 1; Am. Compl., ECF No. 29. In September 2015, CTI sought leave to amend its Answer in order to add numerous affirmative defenses and counterclaims, see Def. Mot. for Leave to Am. Compl., ECF No. 109, and GEOMC simultaneously sought leave to amend its Amended Complaint by adding an additional claim for breach of contract, see Pl. Cross-Mot. to Amend, ECF No. 120. After extensive briefing from the parties, the Court granted leave for GEOMC to file a Second Amended Complaint and directed CTI to file a new Answer directed to that complaint. Order, ECF No. 136.

         After CTI filed its Answer to GEOMC's Second Amended Complaint, GEOMC moved to strike several affirmative defenses and counterclaims from CTI's Answer, arguing that CTI's new revisions improperly sought to expand the scope of the case beyond the limited changes reflected in the Second Amended Complaint. Pl. Mot. to Strike, ECF No. 139. The Court granted in part and denied in part GEOMC's motion, limiting CTI's affirmative defenses and counterclaims to those that the Court determined would not expand the scope of the case or result in prejudice to GEOMC. Ruling Re: Mot. to Strike, ECF No. 144.

         Following the Court's ruling on GEOMC's motion to strike, the following claims remained on the part of GEOMC: Breach of Contract, Replevin, Wrongful Detention, Conversion, Unjust Enrichment, and violation of the Connecticut Unfair Trade Practices Act (“CUTPA”). Id. The Court, however, struck numerous affirmative defenses and counterclaims from CTI's answer as impermissibly and prejudicially expanding the scope of this case.[1] Id. Among those defenses and counterclaims that were allowed to remain in the case were CTI's claims that (1) damages owed by CTI should be offset by damages owed by GEOMC and (2) CTI “overpaid” GEOMC by the amount of $32, 000. Id.

         The day after the Court's ruling on GEOMC's motion to strike, the Court issued an Order expressing concern about the significant delay associated with this case, citing to the numerous revisions to the scheduling order and the multiple unsuccessful settlement conferences. Order, ECF No. 145. The Court then set an expedited schedule “in light of the age and relatively narrow scope of this case[, ]” providing that trial would commence in early August. Id.; Sched. Order, ECF No. 148. Following the Court's Scheduling Order, the parties again requested an extension of time to conduct limited additional discovery. Def. Mot. for Ext. of Time, ECF No. 149. The Court granted the extension, once again expanding the deadline for discovery in this matter, and issued a new Scheduling Order, resulting in the current trial date of September 25, 2017. Scheduling Order, ECF No. 148.

         Following the conclusion of discovery in this case, GEOMC filed a motion for summary judgment on all claims. Pl. Mot. for Summ. J., ECF No. 169. For the first time in this case, in CTI's opposition to GEOMC's motion for summary judgment, CTI argued that GEOMC owed CTI money for sales of medical devices made in Korea under a distributorship agreement the parties entered into in 2008 (“2008 Korea Distributorship”). Def. Mem. in Opp., ECF No. 175. According to CTI, this agreement constituted an amendment to the original 2007 Agreement, through which GEOMC was obligated to pay royalties to CTI in connection with sales of GEOMC's medical devices in Korea. Id. GEOMC objected to the inclusion of this argument in CTI's opposition, noting that CTI never specifically included this argument as a counterclaim in its Answer to the Second Amended Complaint and that CTI never conducted any discovery on this question. Pl. Reply Br., ECF No. 178.

         The Court granted in part and denied in part GEOMC's motion. The Court granted summary judgment as to CTI's liability for GEOMC's breach of contract claim and denied summary judgment as to damages. Order, ECF No. 187. The Court also granted summary judgment as to GEOMC's claims for replevin, wrongful detention and conversion and denied summary judgment with respect to GEOMC's CUTPA claim. Id. In its ruling, the Court acknowledged CTI's claim regarding device sales in Korea, but declined to directly address the validity of this claim, noting that this argument was not material to the questions of law at issue on summary judgment. Id. at 22-23.

         In light of the Court's summary judgment ruling, the parties' earlier disputes regarding CTI's liability for breach of contract, replevin, wrongful detention and unjust enrichment are no longer before the Court. The Court has concluded that, as a matter of law, CTI is liable to GEOMC under these various theories; the only disputes remaining to be resolved relate to the specific amount of damages owed in connection with CTI's violations.

         A final pre-trial conference was held on September 13, 2017. Minute Entry, ECF No. 193. In advance of that conference, GEOMC submitted a motion in limine seeking to preclude evidence related to CTI's claims regarding sales made by GEOMC in Korea, see Pl. Mot. inLimine, ECF No. 191. The parties also submitted a joint trial memorandum outlining evidentiary disputes regarding (1) CTI's entitlement to an adverse inference regarding the specific number ...


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