United States District Court, W.D. Kentucky, Louisville Division
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER
Lindsay, Magistrate Judge United States District Court.
Court held an evidentiary hearing on April 10 and 11, 2017.
During that hearing, Rudd Equipment Co. (“Rudd”)
moved to admit two video depositions. John Deere Construction
and Forestry Company (“Deere”) objected to their
admission on relevance grounds. The Court reserved its
rulings on their admissibility for in camera review.
reasons below, the Court will deny Rudd's motions to
admit the video depositions. Likewise, the Court will deny
Rudd's motion to admit the exhibits tendered with the
video depositions and Deere's alternative motion to admit
the remainder of the exhibits.
procedural history of this case is complex. The Court will
detail only what is necessary for understanding the
parties' evidentiary dispute.
an independent dealer of Hitachi construction equipment.
Deere is its supplier of Hitachi construction equipment.
Deere seeks to terminate the dealer agreement with Rudd. In
an arbitration proceeding, the parties are litigating whether
the dealer agreement will terminate.
March 2, 2015, the Court signed an agreed order tendered by
the parties. (DN 44.) In short, the agreed order seeks to
maintain the status quo between the parties until the
arbitration proceeding ends. (See id., #1590.) The
agreed order says, “Deere will continue to treat Rudd
as a dealer in accordance with the status quo under [the
dealer agreement] as such status quo existed prior to the
October 2, 2014 termination, except as follows …
.” (Id. (brackets added).)
January 4, 2017, Rudd filed a motion to enforce the agreed
order. (DN 80.) In general, Rudd argues that Deere violated
the agreed order by requiring that Rudd submit Hitachi
Purchase Orders (“Hitachi POs”) signed by the
customer in order to receive discounts for selling Hitachi
equipment. (Id., #2078.) Rudd also argues that Deere
violated the agreed order by withholding discounts for
previously sold equipment and by threatening to debit
Rudd's account for past sales for which Rudd did not
provide Hitachi POs with customer signatures. (Id.)
responds that requiring Rudd to submit Hitachi POs with
customer signatures in order to obtain discounts does not
violate the agreed order. (DN 93, #2351.) Rather, Deere
argues that the agreed order requires Deere to treat Rudd
like other Hitachi dealers, and other Hitachi dealers must
submit Hitachi POs with customer signatures. (Id.,
2356 - 58.)
moves to admit the video depositions of Erik Frazier and Ken
Gerondale. (DN 109, #2723.) Frazier and Gerondale are
employees of Construction Machinery Industrial, LLC
(“CMI”). The Court will refer to Frazier and
Gerondale's depositions as the “CMI
depositions.” CMI is an independent dealer of Hitachi
equipment in Alaska. Deere is its distributor.
moves to admit exhibits from Gerondale's deposition as
Plaintiff's Exhibits 25, 26, 27, and 28 and one exhibit
from Frazier's deposition as Plaintiff's Exhibit 29.
(DN 109, #2729.)
objects to the CMI depositions and Rudd's proposed
exhibits on relevance grounds. (DN 109, #2730.) As an
alternative, if the Court is inclined to admit the CMI
depositions, Deere moves to admit the remainder of the
exhibits. (Id.; DN 106 #2561 - 62.) After the
hearing, Deere emailed the Court and withdrew its motion to
admit what is referred to in the hearing transcript as
Defendant's Exhibits 25, 26, 27, 28, and 29.
(See DN 106, #2561 - 62.) Thus, Deere seeks to admit
Defendant's Exhibits 24, and 30 - 35. (Id.,
Erik Frazier's Deposition
is CMI's IT manager and equipment manager. On direct
examination, Frazier testified that during 2014, 2015, and
2016, the “majority” of Hitachi PO forms were
filled out by CMI employees, then the customer “when we
can arrange it.” (08:37.23 - 08:44.27.) He said that to
his knowledge, CMI had received no complaints from Deere
about the fact that CMI was signing the Hitachi POs on behalf
of customers. (09:37.22 - 09:51.6.) He also testified that to
his knowledge, Deere had never withheld a discount based on
CMI's handling of ...