Mills et al v. Free Flow Spas et al
ORDER granting 25 Motion to Compel; denying 27 Motion to Amend/Correct Protective Order. See Order for specifics. Signed by Honorable Barry A. Bryant on August 27, 2013. (mll)
IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
WESTERN DISTRICT OF ARKANSAS
MEREDITH and JACK MILLS
Case No. 4:12-cv-04091
FREE FLOW SPAS, et al
BEFORE the Court is the Plaintiffs' Motion to Compel (ECF No. 25) and Defendant Balboa
Water Group's Motion to Amend Protective Order. ECF No. 27. Pursuant to the provisions of 28
U.S.C. § 636(b)(1) and (3) (2005), United States District Judge Susan O. Hickey referred these
Motions to the undersigned for decision. On August 26, 2013, the Court conducted a hearing on
these Motions. The Court having reviewed the pleadings and arguments of counsel finds the
Plaintiffs' Motion to Compel (ECF No. 25) should be GRANTED and Defendant Balboa Water
Group's Motion to Amend Protective Order (ECF No. 27) should be DENIED.
1. Plaintiffs' Motion to Compel:
Plaintiffs have requested in discovery that Defendant Balboa Water Group ("Balboa")
produce and allow copying of schematics and other engineering drawings and technical information
for distribution in this litigation. ECF No. 25. Balboa has agreed to allow Plaintiffs and their
experts to review schematics and other engineering drawings and technical information, but will not
allow any copying of these documents. ECF No. 26. Balboa argues Defendant Free Flow Spas,
("Free Flow") subsequent to the incident, was purchased by Watkins Manufacturing, which is a
direct market competitor of Balboa. Id. Watkins Manufacturing is not a defendant in this lawsuit.
Balboa argues Plaintiffs desire for them to produce such proprietary information and allow that it
be copied and disseminated would include placing the highly sensitive proprietary information
directly into the hands of Watkins Manufacturing thereby potentially causing severe financial
consequences for Balboa. Id.
Plaintiffs and Free Flow both oppose Balboa’s attempts to limit access to these documents.
As Free Flow points out, their expert will be required to travel from California to the offices of
Defendant Balboa’s counsel to view the documents in question and make no copies. ECF No. 28.
Then the expert will have to perform an analysis and inspection based upon memory. Id. According
to Free Flow, Watkins Manufacturing has no relationship with Free Flow in this litigation; is not a
party in this litigation; counsel for Free Flow does not report to Watkins Manufacturing; nor is there
any circumstance in which counsel for Free Flow would provide documents to Watkins
Manufacturing. Id. Further, the parties already have in place a Protective Order which contains
language about designating documents as “confidential” and that such documents can only be
disseminated to parities, counsel in the lawsuit, experts and the court. ECF No. 24.
Based upon the forgoing, Plaintiffs' Motion to Compel is GRANTED, Balboa's objections
to Interrogatories No. 23 and 32 are overruled, and Balboa shall fully respond with adequate answers
and produce responsive documents in response to Plaintiffs' Interrogatories No. 23 and 32.
2. Defendant Balboa Water Group's Motion to Amend Protective Order:
In an attempt to facilitate discovery, Balboa has filed a Motion to Amend Protective Order
which contains language that provides “confidential” documents can only be viewed at counsel’s
office. ECF No. 27. Balboa's Motion to Amend Protective Order is opposed by Plaintiffs and Free
Flow. ECF Nos. 28, 29.
Based upon this Court's granting of Plaintiffs' Motion to Compel (ECF No. 25), Balboa's
Motion to Amend Protective Order (ECF No. 27) is DENIED.
IT IS THEREFORE ORDERED that Plaintiffs' Motion to Compel (ECF No. 25) should
be GRANTED, Balboa's objections to Interrogatories No. 23 and 32 are overruled, and Balboa shall
within fourteen (14) days of this Order fully respond with adequate answers and produce responsive
documents in responses to Plaintiffs' Interrogatories No. 23 and 32. Additionally, Defendant Balboa
Water Group's Motion to Amend Protective Order (ECF No. 27) should be DENIED.
DATED this 27th day of August, 2013.
/s/ Barry A. Bryant
HON. BARRY A. BRYANT
U.S. MAGISTRATE JUDGE
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