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St. Jude Med. S.C., Inc. v. Cormier

United States Court of Appeals, Eighth Circuit

March 11, 2014

St. Jude Medical S.C., Inc., a Minnesota corporation, Plaintiff - Appellant
v.
Annette Cormier, an individual, Defendant - Appellee

Submitted February 13, 2014.

Appeal from United States District Court for the District of Minnesota - Minneapolis.

For St. Jude Medical S.C., Inc., a Minnesota corporation, Plaintiff - Appellant: James Dickey, William F. Mohrman, MOHRMAN & KAARDAL, P.A., Minneapolis, MN; James A. Gale, Gregg Howard Metzger, David Martin Stahl, FELDMAN & GALE, Miami, FL.

For Annette Cormier, an individual, Defendant - Appellee: Wayne S. Moskowitz, William Zane Pentelovitch, Julian Cyril Zebot, MASLON & EDELMAN, Minneapolis, MN.

Before SMITH, BEAM, and BENTON, Circuit Judges.

OPINION

Page 326

BENTON, Circuit Judge.

St. Jude Medical S.C., Inc. sued its competitor Medtronic U.S.A., Inc. for tortiously interfering with its business relationship

Page 327

with Joe Cormier, an employee. They arbitrated their claims. St. Jude then sued Joe's wife Annette Cormier, a former employee, for related claims. Annette moved for judgment on the pleadings, invoking res judicata. The district court granted judgment. St. Jude appeals. Having jurisdiction under 28 U.S.C. § 1291, this court reverses in part and remands.

I.

Annette worked for St. Jude as a technical service specialist, Joe as a sales representative. In 2009, Annette left her at-will employment with St. Jude to work for Medtronic. Joe's sales dropped significantly. St. Jude sued Medtronic in Florida state court, alleging unfair competition and tortious interference with its advantageous business relationship with Joe and his accounts. Neither Annette nor Joe was party to the lawsuit. St. Jude and Medtronic privately arbitrated their claims. (In arbitration, St. Jude also claimed Medtronic interfered with Joe's term-of-years employment contract.) The arbitration panel found that Medtronic had tortiously interfered with St. Jude's contractual and business relationship with Joe. It awarded St. Jude lost profits.

St. Jude then sued Annette in federal court, alleging unjust enrichment, breach of contract, tortious interference with Joe's employment agreement, misappropriation of trade secrets, civil conspiracy, and breach of fiduciary duties. Annette asserted that res judicata and collateral estoppel barred St. Jude from relitigating claims asserted in arbitration. The district court granted judgment to Annette.

This court reviews de novo a grant of judgment on the pleadings and a dismissal based on res judicata. Minch Family LLLP v. Buffalo-Red River Watershed Dist., 628 F.3d 960, 965 (8th Cir. 2010). This court views St. Jude's factual ...


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