Recently in Discovery Category

District Court Denies Ex Parte Motion to Compel Third Party to Produce Documents Where Plaintiff Waited too Long to File Motion

March 30, 2017

The plaintiff Alexsam, Inc. ("Alexsam") filed an ex parte application to compel compliance with a subpoena to produce documents against a third party to the action, MasterCard. Alexsam had first served a Rule 45 subpoena on MasterCard several months earlier but had not received the documents it requested. Alexsam contended that it was being "stonewalled by delays in responding [by MasterCard] and then a last-minute demand that is unreasonable" after the close of fact discovery. As a result, Alexsam sought ex parte relief, arguing that it has acted diligently, but that MasterCard, while at first appearing cooperative, then refused to comply.

The district court began its analysis of the ex parte application by noting that ex parte applications are solely for extraordinary relief and should be used with discretion. See Local Rule 37-3 (to be heard on an ex parte basis, the moving party must show "irreparable injury or prejudice not attributable to the lack of diligence of the moving party").

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District Court Denies Motion to Compel Inadvertently Produced Privileged Documents

January 31, 2017

In this patent infringement action, Teva inadvertently produced documents to Sunovion. Teva subsequently attempted to claw back the documents under the parties' protective order. Sunovion moved to compel the inadvertently produced documents.

In analyzing the motion to compel, the district court noted that it had "reviewed the parties' submissions, the Discovery Confidentiality Order (DCO), and, in particular, paragraphs 28 and 30 of the DCO." The district court further noted that "[t]hese paragraphs are applicable to the instant matter insofar as they refer to notice 'promptly after its discovery' and 'prompt remedial action' in the event of an inadvertent disclosure."

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District Court Orders Production of Attorney-Client Communications Between Opinion Counsel and Trial Counsel Based on Advice of Counsel Defense

January 17, 2017

Plaintiff Krausz Industries Ltd. ("Krausz") filed a motion for an order compelling Defendants Smith-Blair, Inc. and Sensus USA, Inc. (collectively "Smith-Blair") to allow discovery into various attorney-client communications and work product related to an advice of counsel defense.

Although the parties agreed that raising an advice of counsel defense can result in a waiver of the attorney-client privilege and work product doctrine, the parties disagreed about the scope of the waiver. Smith-Blair asserted that any waiver should be limited to communications and related work product between Smith-Blair and its opinion counsel on the issue of noninfringement that occurred before litigation began.

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District Court Denies Motion to Withdraw Deemed Admissions

January 10, 2017

The plaintiff filed an ex parte application to be relieved of admissions that were deemed admitted for failure to respond.

In analyzing the ex parte application, the district court first concluded that the plaintiff had not justified the filing of an ex parte application rather than a noticed motion. "Plaintiff has not shown Plaintiff's 'case will be irreparably prejudiced if the underlying motion is heard according to regular noticed motion procedures.' Mission Power, 883 F. Supp. at 492. To the contrary, there is no mention anywhere in the Application or supporting declaration that there is any crisis or emergency warranting ex parte relief, nor does it appear to the Court that Plaintiff's case would be 'irreparably prejudiced' if the underlying motion were heard according to regular noticed motion procedures. Moreover, to the extent there is any crisis, Plaintiff has not shown it is 'without fault in creating the crisis that requires ex parte relief, or that the crisis occurred as a result of excusable neglect.' Id. "

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Personal Web v. IBM: IBM's Motion to Compel Documents from Privilege Log Denied Where Motion Was Filed After Discovery Cut-Off

December 29, 2016

In this patent infringement action, IBM filed a motion to compel production of certain documents that were withheld as privileged. IBM contend that time was of the essence when it filed its motion.

The district court was not persuaded by the urgency of the request or that time "was of the essence" because the motion was filed late. As explained by the district court, "IBM's urgency is belied by the fact that its request is late. Fact discovery closed November 18. Under Civil Local Rule 37-3, IBM's motion to compel discovery was due within 7 days after the fact discovery deadline. Yet IBM filed its discovery motion on December 13, more than two weeks late."

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District Court Orders Production of Past Testing from Prior Litigations Despite Confidentiality of Third Parties

December 1, 2016

Dexcel filed a motion to compel contending that Takeda has refused to provide any fact discovery concerning Takeda's methods for particle size analysis used in prior litigations or underlying the data in the patents-in-suit. Dexcel asserted "that this information was relevant because it targets whether Takeda's position as to test methods to assess the literal infringement of Takeda's particle size limitations by Dexcel's product is consistent with positions Takeda has taken in the past."

Takeda objected arguing that any discovery into test methods for particle size that were employed in prior litigations "implicates the confidential and highly confidential information" of the defendants in those suits. Takeda also contended that the Discovery Confidentiality Orders entered in those matters prohibit it from disclosing information designated confidential by those defendants.

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District Court Grants Motion to Compel Responses to Interrogatories Even Though Interrogatories Contained Discrete Subpart Where There was only One Accused Product

November 29, 2016

Plaintiff Synopsys, Inc. ("Synopsys") filed a motion to compel defendant, ATopTech, to respond to interrogatories. ATopTech opposed the motion by arguing that it had already answered Synopsys's Set One, Interrogatory Nos. 1-5, which contained at least 21 discrete subparts. ATopTech therefore contended that it was "not required to respond to any of the interrogatories in Set Two, Interrogatory Nos. 6-25, because the Set Two interrogatories also contain discrete subparts, and even responding to Interrogatory No. 6 would require ATopTech to exceed the 25 interrogatory limit under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 33(a)(1)."

The district court began its analysis by noting that "[p]atent cases present unique challenges with respect to the application of Rule 33's numerical limit on interrogatories. A circuit judge for the Federal Circuit, sitting as the district court in a patent case, recently devoted an entire opinion to the issue of what constitutes a 'discrete subpart' for purposes of Rule 33(a)(1). See Erfindergemeinschaft Uropep GbR v. Eli Lilly & Co., 315 F.R.D. 191 (E.D. Tex. 2016).

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District Court Orders Additional Deposition of Defendant after Witness Changed Numerous Deposition Answers in Errata

November 23, 2016

The plaintiff, Chrimar Systems Inc. and Chrimar ("Chrimar") filed a motion to compel an additional deposition of Defendant D-Link Systems, Inc.'s ("D-Link") corporate representative, William C. Brown. Chrimar previously took the deposition of D-Link's corporate representative, pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 30(b)(6).

After the deposition concluded, Mr. Brown supplied an errata sheet, correcting numerous portions of his deposition testimony pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 30(e). In its motion, Chrimar contends that over 60 answers were materially altered and several answers were changed from "yes" to "no." As a result, Chrimar moved the district court to compel "Mr. Brown for a second deposition in Dallas, Texas regarding the changes represented in his errata sheet."

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After Plaintiff Asserted Boilerplate Objections to Discovery, District Court Orders Plaintiff's Objections Waived

October 25, 2016

The plaintiff filed a complaint against the defendant for patent infringement, trade dress infringement and unfair competition, among other claims, based on the defendants' marketing and selling of portable vaporizers. The plaintiff contended the portable vaporizers incorporated the plaintiff's technology.

After serving discovery, the defendants filed a motion to compel and the plaintiff did not respond to the motion to compel. After the district court issued an order to show cause why the motion should not be granted, the plaintiff filed a response to the district court's order stating that the lawyer's assistant had left the firm "causing communication between the Plaintiff and opposing counsel to suffer." Plaintiffs also reported that the parties had been attempting to settle, and Plaintiffs reasonably believed that the case would already have settled. On the same date, the Plaintiff moved for a thirty day extension of time to respond to the document requests, which the district court denied because the parties had not met and conferred.

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District Court Grants Plaintiff's Motion for Preliminary Injunction to Preclude Defendant from Discussing Case with Plaintiff's Former President Who Now Works for Defendant

October 21, 2016

In this patent infringement action, the Defendant, GHP Group, Inc. ("GHP"), hired the Plaintiff's, ProCom Heating, Inc. ("ProCom"), president during the litigation. The Plaintiff then filed a request for a temporary restraining order and a preliminary injunction to preclude the Defendant from discussing the case with the Plaintiff's former president.

To analyze the request for preliminary injunction, the district court noted that Kirchner was President of ProCom from October 6, 2014, to September 1, 2016, that during his time as President of ProCom, he was highly involved in the litigation, and that Kirchner is now Vice President of New Channel Development for GHP.

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District Court Refuses to Amend Protective Order to Permit Expert, Who Was Former Employee of Competitor, to Review Confidential Documents

October 12, 2016

In this patent infringement action, the defendant, High 5 Games ("High 5"), moved for an order overruling the plaintiff's, Konami Gaming, Inc. ("Konami"), objection to an expert witness viewing confidential information. In the alternative, High 5 moved to amend the stipulated protective order signed by the parties.

As explained by the district court, the stipulated protective order entered into by the parties stated that for purposes of access to confidential documents, an "expert" is "a person with specialized knowledge or experience in a matter pertinent to the litigation who . . . is not a past or current employee of a Party or of a Party's competitor."

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CG Technology v. DraftKings District Court Stays Discovery Pending Motion to Dismiss Challenging Validity of Asserted Patents Under Alice

October 6, 2016

DraftKings filed a motion to stay discovery until the district court had an opportunity to rule on the a motion to dismiss. The motion to dismiss asserted that all of the ten patents-in-suit were invalid because they claimed patent-ineligible subject matter. CG Technology opposed the motion.

The district court began its analysis by noting that the Federal Rules do not provide for automatic or blanket stays of discovery when a potentially dispositive motion is pending. Tradebay, LLC v. eBay, Inc., 278 F.R.D. 597 (D. Nev. 2011) (citation omitted). But the district court also noted that as a general matter, courts have broad discretionary power to control discovery. See e.g., Little v. City of Seattle, 863 F.2d 681, 685 (9th Cir. 1988). In determining whether to stay discovery, and in light of the directive in Rule 1 to construe the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure in a manner to "secure the just, speedy, and inexpensive determination of every action," the preferred approach is that set forth previously in Twin City Fire Insurance v. Employers of Wausau, 124 F.R.D. 652 (D. Nev. 1989).

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District Court Holds that Document Retention and Destruction Policies Are Privileged under Court's Default Discovery Standard

September 29, 2016

In this patent infringement action, the plaintiff sought production of the defendant's document retention and document destruction policies. The defendant asserted that the request sought information protected by work product and attorney-client privilege. The plaintiff argued that the documents were merely corporate policies that could not be privileged.

The district court analyzed the issue by reviewing the court's Default Discovery Standards and concluded that these policies are protected under those standards.

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District Court Denies Request for Production of Documents Provided to Prospective Litigation Funding Organizations

August 10, 2016

In this patent infringement action, the defendant sought the production of documents that the plaintif, IOENGINGE, had provided to potential companies that could fund litigation. IOENGINGED claimed that the documents were protected by the work product doctrine. The defendant sought production of the withheld documents.

IOENGINE explained that the approximately 70 documents listed on the privilege log were prepared by its counsel and by the inventor of the patent-in-suit, Mr. McNulty, for litigation funders in anticipation of and during litigation.

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District Court Grants Motion to Strike Errata Changing Deposition Answers from a "Yes" to a "No"

August 4, 2016

In this patent infringement action, the defendants filed a motion to strike an errata change to the deposition testimony of a witness, Joseph Tindall. The district court noted that if the errata were allowed, it would change an answer from "yes" to "no." As a justification for the change, the witness contended he "did not understand the question and gave an incorrect response when [he] answered it 'yes.'" In response, the defendants argued that the requested change was improper.

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