Dollar Tree Stores, Inc. v. Toyama Partners, LLC et al

Filing 354

ORDER re 331 Letter Brief filed by Toyama Partners, LLC. Signed by Magistrate Judge Nandor J. Vadas on 11/03/2011. (njvlc2, COURT STAFF) (Filed on 11/3/2011)

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1 2 3 NOT FOR CITATION 4 5 IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT 6 7 FOR THE NORTHERN DISTRICT OF CALIFORNIA 8 EUREKA DIVISION 9 United States District Court For the Northern District of California 10 11 12 13 14 No. CV 10-0325 SI (NJV) DOLLAR TREE STORES, INC., ORDER GRANTING IN PART AND DENYING IN PART DEFENDANTS’ MOTION TO COMPEL Plaintiff, v. (Doc. No. 331) TOYAMA PARTNERS LLC, et al., Defendants. 15 / 16 17 18 19 The district court has referred the parties’ discovery motions and all future discovery matters to this Court for determination. Doc. Nos. 202, 248. Defendants seek to compel the production of leases Plaintiff entered into within a 150-mile 20 radius of the Mowry Crossing Shopping Center for the last ten years, as well as all form and master 21 leases Plaintiff has used in California for the last six years. Doc. No. 331. Defendants argue the 22 documents are relevant both to the validity of the liquidated damages clause in the Amended Lease 23 and to Plaintiff’s claims of lost profits. Id. While relevancy for purposes of discovery is extremely 24 broad, Defendants’ requests are facially over-broad and unduly burdensome. First, Defendants have 25 not shown that other leases are relevant to the lost profit analysis for the Mowry Crossing store. 26 Second, Plaintiff has testified about how the liquidated damages provision in the Amended Lease 27 was calculated and why the highly profitable nature of the Mowry Crossing store required a different 28 liquidated damages provision than the “boilerplate” provision Plaintiff typically included in its leases. See Doc. No. 347 (Declaration of Patrick Abramowich), Exs. 1- 4. Even if other leases 2 contained similar liquidated damages provisions, the similarity would not be relevant in and of itself 3 to determining whether the provision in the Amended Lease is arbitrary. See El Centro Mall, LLC v. 4 Payless Shoe-Source, Inc., 174 Cal. App. 4th 58 (2009) (similar liquidated damages provision in 5 leases for other stores in same shopping center could give rise to an inference that provision was 6 arbitrary, but was not conclusive in the absence of evidence allowing detailed analysis of 7 circumstances surrounding other leases). Defendants did not seek to meaningfully limit their 8 discovery requests to Dollar Tree stores that are not similarly situated or to Dollar Tree leases with 9 the same liquidated damages provision, but instead served discovery requests demanding production 10 United States District Court For the Northern District of California 1 of all leases Plaintiff entered into within 150-mile radius in the last ten years and all form and master 11 lease agreements used in California for the last six years. 12 The Court therefore denies Defendants’ motion to compel in part and grants it in part. 13 Within ten court days of this Order, Plaintiff shall produce the leases for any other Dollar Tree store 14 within a 150-mile radius of the Mowry Crossing Dollar Tree store that contain reasonably similar 15 (within $500) liquidated damages provisions. Plaintiff may redact the leases of proprietary and 16 confidential information, but should provide sufficient information regarding the store size, store 17 location and amount of liquidated damages to allow Defendants to meaningfully interpret the 18 similarity or dissimilarity of the lease to the Amended Lease. 19 Dated: November 3, 2011 20 NANDOR J. VADAS United States Magistrate Judge 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 2

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