BAE Sys. Info. and Elec. Sys. Integration Inc. v. Lockheed Martin Corp.Annotate this Case
Justia Opinion Summary
Plaintiff filed a motion seeking approval of its appointment of James Gallagher as its "Designated Consultant" pursuant to the Stipulation and Order for the Production and Exchange of Proprietary Information entered by the court on February 22, 2010. Defendant objected to Gallagher's designation. The court held that because the terms of the order did not prevent the selection of a likely fact witness as a Designated Consultant - and the order did not otherwise prevent Gallagher's designation - and because compensating Gallagher as a Designated Consultant (and not as a fact witness) would not violate the Delaware Lawyers' Rules of Professional Conduct, plaintiff's Motion to Approve Designated Consultant was granted.
EFiled: Aug 10 2011 9:14AM EDT Transaction ID 39190548 Case No. 3099-VCN COURT OF CHANCERY OF THE STATE OF DELAWARE JOHN W. NOBLE VICE CHANCELLOR 417 S. STATE STREET DOVER, DELAWARE 19901 TELEPHONE: (302) 739-4397 FACSIMILE: (302) 739-6179 August 10, 2011 Kevin R. Shannon, Esquire Potter Anderson & Corroon LLC 1313 North Market Street Wilmington, DE 19801 Re: Samuel A. Nolen, Esquire Richards, Layton & Finger, P.A. One Rodney Square Wilmington, DE 19801 BAE Systems Information and Electronic Systems Integration Inc. v. Lockheed Martin Corporation C.A. No. 3099-VCN Date Submitted: May 23, 2011 Dear Counsel: Plaintiff BAE Systems Information and Electronic Systems Integration Inc. has filed a motion seeking approval of its appointment of James and Order for the Production and Exchange of Proprietary Information (the .1 Defendant Lockheed Martin 1 See Order at ¶ 12(f). BAE Systems Information and Electronic Systems Integration Inc. v. Lockheed Martin Corporation C.A. No. 3099-VCN August 10, 2011 Page 2 designation, and the Court now addresses its objections. I. BACKGROUND A. Because the documents at issue in this case are, in many instances, of a technical and sensitive nature, the Order provides that each party may designate 2 A party seeking to designate such a consultant must provide the other party with the Competition Sensitive information is disclosed to the proposed Designated Consultant.3 2 a Id. addressees, or copy recipients shown on particular Competition Sensitive documents; expert witnesses; and Designated Consultants. Id. at ¶¶ 12-13. These Paragraphs do not refer to fact witnesses, except that, in authorizing the authors, recipients, and copy recipients of Competition Sen 3 Id. BAE Systems Information and Electronic Systems Integration Inc. v. Lockheed Martin Corporation C.A. No. 3099-VCN August 10, 2011 Page 3 Designated Consultant on the ground that the proposed Designated Consultant is: involved in any capacity (other than advising with regard to this litigation) including but not limited to competitive decisionmaking, relating to the Automated Test Systems . . . opportunities covered or purported by either party to be covered by Memorandum of Party or any other firm that could gain a competitive advantage from access to the Competition Sensitive Discovery Material, unless the proposed Designated Consultant agrees to cease any such involvement prior to receiving Competition Sensitive Discovery Material.4 Once approved as a Designated Consultant by the other party (or, in the case that party maintains an objection to the selection, by court order), the Designated Consultant must, before being permitted to review Competition Sensitive information, commit to complying with the terms of the Order for two years after the conclusion of this action and agree to notify the other party of any change in Test Systems 4 5 work.5 Id. at ¶ 12(f)(i). Id. at ¶ 12(f)(ii). The party receiving such notification may then object to the Designated BAE Systems Information and Electronic Systems Integration Inc. v. Lockheed Martin Corporation C.A. No. 3099-VCN August 10, 2011 Page 4 B. Gallagher BAE notified Lockheed that that it had selected Gallagher as its Designated Consultant curriculum vitae and an Agreement to be Bound by Protective Order signed by Gallagher.6 Gallagher was employed by, and performed ATS work on behalf of, Sanders Associates (from 1983 to 1986, when Sanders was purchased by Lockheed), Lockheed (from 1986 to 2000) and BAE (from 2000 to 2008).7 BAE asserts that Gallagher, through his employment, became knowledgeable of the facts underlying its claims in this litigation; Lockheed describes Gallagher as a key fact witness.8 After he retired, Gallagher became an employee of Hepco, Inc. and, in addition to consulting on other matters, provides consulting services to BAE and its counsel in connection with this litigation; he is paid $73.75 per hour, a rate that is 6 7 8 Id. at 2 (Gallagher CV). Id. Approve Designated Consultant at 7; Id. Ex. 1, g the . BAE Systems Information and Electronic Systems Integration Inc. v. Lockheed Martin Corporation C.A. No. 3099-VCN August 10, 2011 Page 5 significantly lower than the effective hourly rate he was paid during his employment at BAE.9 Consultant would require a substantial time commitment and would prevent him from taking on other consulting projects, whether for BAE or others; it would additionally prevent him from accepting ATS-related consulting work for two years following the completion of this litigation.10 II. DISCUSSION Lockheed objects to the choice of Gallagh Consultant on two grounds. It contends that, because Gallagher will be a fact witness in this action: (i) allowing him to serve as a Designated Consultant would violate the Order by exposing him to information that would unfairly inform his testimony and (ii) paying him to serve as a Designated Consultant would violate s witnesses in order to influence their testimony. 9 -8. 10 Gallagher Aff. ¶¶ 10-11. BAE Systems Information and Electronic Systems Integration Inc. v. Lockheed Martin Corporation C.A. No. 3099-VCN August 10, 2011 Page 6 A. The Order argument, the Order generally limits access to Competition Sensitive materials, but specifically provides that Designated Consultants may have access to such materials. The Order does not provide that basis that he is a fact witness, and neither does it provide that Lockheed may object on the basis that Gallagher is not the only person with the knowledge needed to assist BAE in connection with this litigation. Instead, the Order, which was negotiated and proposed Designated Consultant only on the basis that the proposed Designated Consultant is involved with a firm that would gain an advantage from exposure to Competition Sensitive information. Gallagher currently has no such involvement, except in connection with advising BAE on this litigation (an exception expressly allowed under Paragraph 12(f)(i)).11 Further, he has agreed to be bound by the terms of the Order 11 Lockheed has not argued that potential role as a fact witness in this litigation falls within the definition of in any capacity basis for Lockheed to object to his designation. See Producing Party may BAE Systems Information and Electronic Systems Integration Inc. v. Lockheed Martin Corporation C.A. No. 3099-VCN August 10, 2011 Page 7 for two years following completion of this litigation. , if Gallagher serves recollection of the facts underlyin The Court understands his Although Lockheed may impeach Gallagher B. The Ethics role as a Designated Consultant; Lockheed contends that such compensation is tantamount to paying Gallagher for his testimony as a fact witness. BAE argues that Gallagher is not being paid for the time he actually spends testifying, and that, withhold consent on the ground that a Designated Consultant is involved in any capacity, . . . , including but not limited to competitive decisionmaking, related to [ATS] opportunities . . . with Although one at the Order excludes witnesses and deponents from the category of persons who can review Competition Sensitive information, and that allowing Gallagher to serve as a Designated Consultant would l to be used as a means to educate a See AB ¶¶ 5-10. BAE Systems Information and Electronic Systems Integration Inc. v. Lockheed Martin Corporation C.A. No. 3099-VCN August 10, 2011 Page 8 even if he were being compensated for the time he would lose while testifying or preparing to testify, Rule 3.4(b) of the Conduct does not prohibit reimbursement of expenses reasonably incurred by a witness and for the loss of time incurred in connection with preparing for testimony, attending proceedings, or testifying. The prohibition against paying fact witnesses for their testimony protects the integrity of the adversary process: compensating a fact witness for her testimony creates the perception that, but for the compensation, the witness might not offer 12 Nonetheless, although fact witnesses may not be paid for their testimony, the rules of ethics do not, in all 12 See (b) evidence, counsel or assist a witness to testify falsely, or offer an inducement to a witness that is ; id. at R. 3.4, cmt. by the prohibitions against destruction or concealment of evidence, improperly influencing witnesses, obstructive tactics in discovery proced id. law. The common law rule in most jurisdictions is that it is improper to pay an occurrence witness any fee for testifying . . . Golden Door Jewelry Creations, Inc. v. Lloyds Underwriters Non, 865 F. Supp. 1516, 1525-26 (S.D. Fla. 1994), , 117 is as clearly subversive of the proper administration of justice as to pay him to testify to what is ) 3.4(b), which, like Del. Lawy 3.4(b), tracks the Model Rules of P In re Robinson, 151 A.D. 589, 600 ( N.Y. App. Div. 1912), , 103 N.E. 160 (N.Y. 1913). BAE Systems Information and Electronic Systems Integration Inc. v. Lockheed Martin Corporation C.A. No. 3099-VCN August 10, 2011 Page 9 cases, prohibit individuals, who happen also to be fact witnesses, from receiving compensation from parties for services performed in other capacities. For example, as counsel for Lockheed observed: [C]ertainly employees of corporations can testify on behalf of corpora 13 Here, the Court is satisfied that the compensation BAE proposes to pay to Gallagher relates to his work as a Designated Consultant, and not to his willingness to testify . Gallagher has been paid at a fixed hourly rate for consulting for BAE, and others, since 2008.14 Lockheed pay him as an employee now would not present a problem under the ethics rules. Paying Gallagher what is, in effect, his standard consulting fee does not seem functionally different. So long as he is paid for his time in connection with his 13 . to Approve Designated Consultant, Cross Motions to Mot. to Bifurcate, Tr. at 96. 14 Gallagher Aff. ¶ 10. BAE Systems Information and Electronic Systems Integration Inc. v. Lockheed Martin Corporation C.A. No. 3099-VCN August 10, 2011 Page 10 work as a Designated Consultant, and not for his time as a fact witness,15 Gallagher is not precluded by the rules of ethics from attempting to wear two hats.16 Again, Consultant, is free to attempt to impeach his credibility on that basis.17 15 See id. for the time I spend acting as a litigation consultant, and that I will not be compensated for the time I spend testifying at a depositio . 16 See, e.g., Barrett Indus. Trucks, Inc. v. Old Republic Ins. Co., 129 F.R.D. 515 (N.D. Ill. 1990); In re Gulf Oil/Cities Serv. Tender Offer Litig., 1990 WL 108352 (S.D.N.Y. 1990) (each allowing a party to hire, as a litigation consultant, a former employee who was also a fact witness); but see State of N.Y. v. Solvent Chem. Co., Inc., 166 F.R.D. 284, 290-91 (W.D.N.Y. 1996) (holding that the work of a fact witness as a litigation consultant was not protected under the work product doctrine where (1) the witness had previously been viewed as a hostile witness by the hiring party, and (2) the hiring party attempted to use the employment agreement with the witness to avoid production of otherwise discoverable material). Indeed, Solvent Chemical Company demonstrates that the question as to whether one person may function both as a fact witness and as a litigation consultant may be answered differently in view of the particular circumstances of the case. 17 The parties both contend t on Professional Ethics (Del. Ethics Op. 2003- ) supports their respective Professional Ethics considered whether a client should have been allowed to compensate two The Committee considered that Witness A was presently unemployed, but that Witness B had started an independent consulting business. Id. at 1. The client proposed to compensate Witness A for retirement more than three years before; Witness B would be compensated for his lost time at the same rate as he then received when consulting for others. Id. at 2. The Committee concluded that: BAE Systems Information and Electronic Systems Integration Inc. v. Lockheed Martin Corporation C.A. No. 3099-VCN August 10, 2011 Page 11 III. CONCLUSION Because the terms of the Order do not prevent the selection of a likely fact witness as a Designated Consultant and the Order does not otherwise prevent and because compensating Gallagher as a Designated Consultant (and not as a fact witness) (1) Witness B may be reimbursed for his out of pocket expenses, and for the reasonable value of his lost time; and (2) Witness A may be reimbursed for his out of pocket expenses. However, insufficient facts have been presented to the Committee to conclude that Witness A may be compensated for the loss of his time or to determine what rate of compensation would be appropriate under the circumstances. Id. The distinction drawn by the Committee between the two witnesses was that, in the case of opportunity, and, moreover, that loss can be Id. at 9) while, in the case of Id. at 10. Because BAE proposes to compensate Gallagher as a Designated Consultant and not in his capacity as a fact witness, Op. 2003-3 is not precisely on point here. If the Court were to y, then the reasoning expressed in Op. 2003position, because appears to have worked as a consultant for the past three years (for which he is paid by Hepco at Consultant in lieu of seeking other consulting work with BAE or other clients. Thus, like Witness B, Gallagher, unless compensated, will suffer a substantial, and measurable, financial loss if he has to testify for the party proposing to compensate him. Compensating Gallagher for his lost time under such circumstances would be consistent with the reasoning expressed in Op. 2003-3. BAE Systems Information and Electronic Systems Integration Inc. v. Lockheed Martin Corporation C.A. No. 3099-VCN August 10, 2011 Page 12 is granted. IT IS SO ORDERED. Very truly yours, /s/ John W. Noble JWN/cap cc: Register in Chancery-K