Fasteners for Retail, Inc. v. Andersen, No. 11 C 2164, Slip Op. (N.D. Ill. Aug. 22, 2014) (Durkin, J.).
Judge Durkin granted in plaintiff Fasteners for Retail’s (“FFR”) motion to enforce the parties’ settlement agreement against defendant K International (“Kinder”) in this patent, Lanham Act and trade secret dispute. The parties previously resolved this case pursuant to a settlement agreement (“Agreement”) in which the Court retained jurisdiction over any disputes arising out of the Agreement. The parties did not, however, settle a related Ohio state court action FFR had filed against certain Kinder employees.
FFR sought to depose Kinder in the Ohio action, but Kinder refused claiming that the Agreement’s broad release from all “obligations” prevented FFR seeking any discovery from Kinder. While the release language was broad, the Court held that the released obligations were limited by language in the release to liability related to the suit or any consequences of losing the suit, for example an award of fees. Because the released “obligations” were so limited, FFR was free to seek discovery from Kinter in the Ohio action.
The Court also ordered Kinter to produce a declaration required by the Agreement identifying products sold by Linter upon which a particular individual consulted for Kinder. Kinder could not limit its declaration to only those product sales that could be traced to the individual’s assistance in developing or marketing the product. Kinter’s limitation did not exist in the Agreement’s plain language.