Placencia et al v. I-Flow Corporation et al

Filing 115

ORDER re Discovery Conference Call held 5/24/2012. Defendants are granted protective orders with respect to the depositions and related written discovery discussed on the record during the 5/24/2012 conference call with the Court. Signed by Judge David G Campbell on 5/24/2012. (NVO)

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    1 WO 2 3 4 5 6 IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT 7 FOR THE DISTRICT OF ARIZONA 8 9 Gilbert S. Placencia and Theresa Placencia, Plaintiffs, 10 11 ORDER v. 12 No. CV10-2520 PHX DGC I-Flow Corporation, a Delaware corporation, et al., 13 Defendant. 14 15 16 This is a diversity-jurisdiction product liability case brought under state law. 17 Plaintiffs allege that Gilbert Placencia was injured by Defendants’ pain pump, which was 18 installed in his shoulder after arthroscopic surgery. 19 conference call with the parties on May 24, 2012. Following the call, Plaintiffs’ counsel 20 provided the Court with copies of the Rule 30(b)(6) deposition notices that were 21 addressed during the call. The Court will grant Defendants’ requests for a protective 22 order. The Court held a discovery 23 A. DOJ Investigation. 24 Plaintiffs seek discovery of documents and other communications that have passed 25 between Defendants and the Department of Justice (“DOJ”) pursuant to a subpoena 26 served by DOJ in 2010, some five years after the events at issue in this case. Plaintiffs’ 27 counsel explained during the conference call that such discovery would be relevant for 28 this reason: “if in any responses that [Defendants] might have given to the Department of     1 Justice there is any information that goes to the veracity of [Defendants’] claims in 2 defending the case, that is going to be clearly relevant in the action.” Plaintiffs’ counsel 3 further stated that the discovery would provide “an opportunity to explore the credibility 4 of [Defendants’] witnesses” by comparing their answers in deposition in this case to “any 5 answers or responses that [Defendants] might have given to the Department of Justice.” 6 When asked to describe the nature of the DOJ investigation, Plaintiffs’ counsel said “it is 7 hard for us to say exactly what the nature and scope is because we haven’t been able to 8 get any discovery from the defendants.” 9 In other words, Plaintiffs wish to conduct discovery into communications in a DOJ 10 investigation they cannot clearly describe because of the mere possibility that such 11 communications might undermine Defendants’ credibility in this case in some undefined 12 way. This is too speculative a basis for the discovery. Plaintiffs did not dispute defense 13 counsel’s assertion during the conference call that Defendants have produced more than 14 13,000 documents, provided more than 65 hours of company witness depositions, and 15 responded to 1,331 written discovery requests in this and similar product liability cases 16 over Defendants’ pain pumps. The Court will not permit further expensive discovery on 17 the mere hope that something helpful might turn up. The Court finds that “the burden 18 [and] expense of the proposed discovery outweighs its likely benefit.” Fed. R. Civ. P. 19 26(b)(2)(C)(iii). The Court also finds that Plaintiffs have had ample opportunity to obtain 20 relevant information through other discovery. See Fed. R. Civ. P. 26(b)(2)(C)(ii). 21 B. Subsequent Stock Sales. 22 The Court reaches the same conclusion on Plaintiffs’ proposed inquiry into sales 23 of stock by I-Flow executives that occurred more than one year after the pain pump at 24 issue in this case was sold and used in Mr. Placencia’s surgery. When asked why such 25 later stock sales might be relevant, Plaintiffs’ counsel stated that communications related 26 to the sales “may very well discuss the company’s conduct at an earlier period of time.” 27 Again, Plaintiffs speculate. There is no clear connection between the stock sales and the 28 issues in this case, and the Court will not permit discovery into those sales on the mere ‐ 2 ‐      1 possibility that something relevant might be found. The Court’s obligation to control 2 “the extent of discovery,” and to do so in a way that achieves “the just, speedy, and 3 inexpensive determination” of this case, compels the Court to conclude that speculative 4 discovery – searching marginally relevant haystacks in hopes of finding a relevant needle 5 or two – should not be permitted. See Fed. R. Civ. P. 1, 26(b)(2)(C). 6 IT IS ORDERED that Defendants are granted protective orders with respect to 7 the depositions and related written discovery discussed during the conference call with 8 the Court on May 24, 2012. 9 Dated this 24th day of May, 2012. 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 ‐ 3 ‐ 

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