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 Motion for Preliminary Injunction following a June 22, 2009 preliminary injunction hearing, and IBM had filed an interlocutory appeal. On June 24, 2009, IBM filed an amended complaint, alleging that Johnson violated the terms of IBM’s equity based compensation programs, as well as his fiduciary duties. Two days later (and on the same date that the court issued its decision denying IBM’s first motion for preliminary injunction), IBM filed a request to move a second time for a preliminary injunction based on information developed during the expedited discovery process. The court denied this request.
Two weeks later, IBM filed a second motion for preliminary injunction. In that July 10, 2009 motion, IBM set forth that Johnson should be enjoined pursuant to his "legal duties to protect IBM trade secrets and confidential information" and his "duties to IBM pursuant to a confidentiality agreement that he signed when he joined IBM, the provisions of his various IBM equity grants and IBM’s internal Business Conduct Guidelines." On July 23, 2009, the Court held a pre-motion conference at which IBM conceded that its second motion for preliminary injunction was not based on information obtained during the expedited discovery process.
On July 30, 2009, Judge Robinson denied IBM’s second motion for preliminary injunction in rather strong terms. The court stated that it would not allow IBM to "litigate this matter through piecemeal, seriatim motions requesting the same relief." In fact, the court used the term "piecemeal, seriatim motions" three separate times in its decision as it held that IBM should have asserted all its bases for injunctive relief at the first opportunity. The court went on to refer to IBM’s method of proceeding as "vexatious" and representing a "great disservice to the interests of Mr. Johnson and of the Court in the orderly conduct of this litigation." The court also held that IBM’s second motion would require the court to reconsider certain aspects of its ruling on the first motion for preliminary injunction, a ruling that is before the Second Circuit Court of Appeals.
IBM immediately appealed the decision denying its second motion for preliminary injunction and filed a petition for writ of mandamus on August 7, 2009. The Second Circuit Court of Appeals has consolidated IBM’s appeals and has scheduled oral argument for September 9, 2009. Also, Johnson moved to dismiss IBM’s claims set forth in its amended complaint and to stay discovery. That motion is fully briefed and is before Judge Robinson.