United States District Court, E.D. Louisiana
the Court are appellant Christopher Martin Ridgeway's
notice of appeal (Rec. Doc. 1), appellees Stryker Corporation
and Howmedica Ostenics Corp.'s response (Rec. Doc. 14),
and appellant's reply (Rec. Doc. 15). For reasons's
assigned below, IT IS ORDERED that the
opinion of the Bankruptcy Court is AFFIRMED.
BACKGROUND AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY
are in the business of developing, manufacturing, and selling
medical technology. See Rec. Doc. 14 at 2. Between
October 2001 and September 2013, appellant worked for
appellees as a sales representative and district sales
September 30, 2013, appellees sued appellant in the Western
District of Michigan for breach of fiduciary duty, breach of
contract that included a non-competition agreement, and
misappropriating trade secrets. See Rec. Doc. 1-2 at
3. Appellees alleged appellant was in breach of an employee
confidentiality and intellectual property agreement, two
other unspecified contracts, and a non-compete agreement.
Id. Appellees further alleged appellant willfully
and maliciously misappropriated information compromising
trade secrets under the Michigan Uniform Trade Secrets Act
months later, appellant and Stone Surgical LLC
(“Stone”) sued appellees in the Eastern District
of Louisiana. Id. Appellant and Stone alleged
appellees interfered with appellant's distribution deals.
Id. Appellant and Stone further alleged that the
non-compete agreement attached to appellees amended complaint
was fraudulent. Id. The two cases were then
consolidated for trial in the Western District of Michigan.
pre-trial, appellant was sanctioned twice for discovery
violations. Id. First, in April 2015, appellant was
sanctioned for failing to properly respond to discovery
requests. Id. Then, on February 2, 2016, appellant
was sanctioned again pursuant to appellees' filing a rule
to show cause. Id. Pursuant to the rule to show
cause, a forensic review of appellant's electronic
devices and e-mail accounts revealed over 188, 000 missing
documents. Id. at 3-4. In response, the court
ordered appellant to pay the reasonable expenses associated
with the rule to show cause. Id. The court further
restricted appellant's response to appellees' fee
petition to challenging the reasonableness of the specific
fees and costs sought. Id.
February 16, 2016 and February 29 2016, the Western District
of Michigan conducted a jury trial. See Rec. Doc. 14
at 8. On February 29, 2016, a jury found that appellant
willfully and wantonly breach his fiduciary duty to
appellees; was liable for breach of contract and for
breaching his non-compete agreement; and willfully and
maliciously misappropriated trade secrets in violation of
MUTSA. Id. The jury also tendered a verdict against
appellant and Stone on all their claims and counterclaims,
including the contentions about a non-compete agreement.
March 9, 2016, the court rendered judgment against appellant
for $745, 195 and dismissed appellant and Stone's claims.
See Rec. Doc. 1-2 at 4. Both appellant and Stone
unsuccessfully appealed the court's judgment.
trial, on March 23, 2016, appellant filed a Chapter 11
bankruptcy petition in the United States Bankruptcy Court for
the Eastern District of Louisiana. See Rec. Doc. 14
at 9. The automatic stay imposed by the filing of the
bankruptcy case prevented appellees from filing and pursuing
a post-judgment motion for attorneys' fees. Id.
at 9. On September 22, 2016, appellees sought relief from the
automatic stay to liquidate its claims for attorneys'
fees, costs, and interest. Id. In response,
appellant opposed relief. Id.
November 29, 2016, the Bankruptcy Court denied the motion and
opted to liquidate the claims itself. See Rec. Doc.
1-2 at 6. To begin the process, the court directed appellant
to object to appellees' proofs of claim by December 9,
2016. Id. In objecting, appellant took a broad brush
approach and explicitly claimed the right to supplement his
objection. Id. On December 9, 2016, appellees filed
its response to the objection. See Rec. Doc. 14 at
the case was assigned to the United States Bankruptcy Court
for the Eastern District of Louisiana. Id. at 6.
During an April 7, 2017, telephone status conference,
appellant was denied an oral motion to file an entirely new
objection to appellees' proof of claim. Id.
Instead, the Bankruptcy Court ordered appellant to supplement
his objection no later than May 15, 2017. Id. On May
15, 2017, appellant timely filed his supplemental objections.
Id. at 7. However, in violation of the order,
appellant failed to identify entries he objected to under the
common core theory. Id. The supplement also included
entirely new objections not raised in appellant's initial
objections. Id. In response, appellees filed a
response to appellant's supplement and a motion to strike
the supplemental objection for failure to comply.
Id. On July 5, 2017, the Bankruptcy Court granted
appellees' motion to strike in part. Id.
Specifically, the Bankruptcy Court stuck appellant's
objections under the common core doctrine except to the
extent they were specifically identified. Id.
August 14, 2017, appellant filed a motion to reconsider and a
notice of appeal. Id. On September 8, 2017, the
Bankruptcy Court denied the motion to reconsider.
See Rec. Doc. 14 at 16. On November 20, 2017, the
Bankruptcy Court denied the notice of appeal. Id. at
14. After the Bankruptcy Court denied appellant's
motions, appellant filed a second notice of appeal.
See Rec. Doc. 1-2 at 8. The second notice of appeal
was denied and deemed interlocutory. Id.
18, 2016, appellant successfully sought relief from the
automatic stay to pursue his appeal of the Western District
of Michigan's judgment. See Rec. Doc. 14 at 16.
Thereafter, appellant filed a notice of appeal of the
judgment with the Sixth Circuit. Id. at 17. On May
24, 2017, the Sixth Circuit affirmed the judgment.
Id. On July 12, 2017, the Sixth Circuit denied
appellant and Stone's request for rehearing en
banc. See id. On October 17, 2017, appellant
and Stone filed a petition for writ of certiorari.
Id. On October 17, 2017, the United State Supreme
Court denied certiorari. Id.
September 1, 2017, the Bankruptcy Court conducted an
evidentiary hearing. Id. at 18. During the
evidentiary hearing, both parties introduced volumes of
evidence and extensive testimony. See Rec. Doc. 1-2
at 8. On July 27, 2018, the Bankruptcy Court entered a
memorandum opinion and order allowing appellees to recover a