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Court Grows Tired of Apple and Samsung’s Repeated Motions to Shorten Time: Apple v. Samsung

Samsung moved to shorten time for briefing and a hearing on a motion pertaining to an expert witness, while just a few days earlier Apple had filed a motion to shorten time on its motion relating to the production of foreign-language and other documents in advance of depositions. The court noted that a little more than two weeks earlier, both parties moved to shorten time on a total of nine discovery motions and in the past four months, the parties submitted eighteen discovery motions, all on shortened time.

The court found that this was all too much and questioned whether the motion to shorten time was being abused. “The court recognizes the constraints placed on the parties by the accelerated discovery and trial schedule in this case, and has sought to assist resolution of these matters as quickly as possible. Yet the court also finds that in most of these instances, motion practice has supplanted the process of reasonable negotiation that the parties have been ordered to undertake through the lead counsel meet and confer process. Whether due to high stakes, the complexity and number of issues, the intransigence of the parties in their respective positions, or any combination of such factors that stymies an incentive to compromise, the parties appear largely unable to communicate their positions and objections in order to arrive at negotiated solutions for discovery without calling on the resources of this court by way of an expedited request. In light of the pending motion, on the heels of so many others, the court is thus forced to consider whether the mechanism of shortened time has come under abuse in this case. That is, by continuously and successfully requesting to jump to the head of the court’s line, do Apple and Samsung unfairly obtain an expediency in decisions-rendered that other litigants patiently standing in the queue do not or only rarely receive?”

The answer to the question was “yes”: “The answer revealed by the docket in this case is, unfortunately, yes. Although it may not be the province or responsibility of Apple or Samsung – or any individual party for that matter – to consider the externalities that its tactics impose on those sharing the judicial resources of this court, perhaps it should be. In any event, the court cannot overlook its duty to balance the legitimate needs of the parties in this case against the impact on other litigants who seek to be heard on a reasonable schedule.”

Accordingly, the court denied the motions to shorten time and ordered the motions re-noticed in accordance with the local rules.

Apple Inc. v. Samsung Electric Co., Case No. C 11-1846 LHK (PSG) (N.D. Cal. Jan. 31, 2012)

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