United States Sixth Circuit

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BDT Prod., Inc. v. Lexmark Int'l, Inc., 08-6140

District court's grant of defendant's motion for attorney fees and imposition of sanctions arising from a grant of partial summary judgment in favor of defendant in a suit brought by its one-time partners, arising from a claim that defendant had misappropriated trade secrets in developing a printer tray that substantially resembled a tray developed by plaintiff, is vacated and remanded where: 1) sanctions under 28 U.S.C. section 1927 may be imposed only on individual attorneys, and not law firms; 2) district court did not abuse its discretion in finding that the law firm, Meisenheimer, pursued a meritless lawsuit, and that it knew or should have known that it was pursuing a meritless suit; but 3) district court relied in part on a misstatement of Sixth Circuit law and without sufficient evidence imputed plaintiff's and the other law firm's improper purpose to Meisenheimer in finding that Meisenheimer had acted in bad faith.

Appellate Information

  • Argued 11/19/2009
  • Decided 04/21/2010
  • Published 04/21/2010

Judges

  • Before MERRITT, GIBBONS, and McKEAGUE, Circuit Judges.

Court

  • United States Sixth Circuit

Counsel

  • For Appellees:
  • ARGUED:Elizabeth S. Hughes, Gess Mattingly & Atchison, PSC, Lexington, Kentucky, for Appellant. William L. Montague, Jr., Dinsmore & Shohl LLP, Lexington, Kentucky, for Appellee. ON BRIEF:Elizabeth S. Hughes, Gess Mattingly & Atchison, PSC, Lexington, Kentucky, for Appellant. William L. Montague, Jr., David J. Treacy, Whitney H. Mendiondo, Dinsmore & Shohl LLP, Lexington, Kentucky, for Appellee.