Twitter, Inc. v. Skootle Corp. et al

Filing 71


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1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT 9 FOR THE NORTHERN DISTRICT OF CALIFORNIA United States District Court For the Northern District of California 10 11 12 13 No. C 12-1721 SI TWITTER, INC., ORDER GRANTING IN PART PLAINTIFF’S MOTION TO COMPEL Plaintiff, v. 14 SKOOTLE CORP. and JAMES KESTER, 15 Defendants. / 16 17 Currently before the Court is Twitter’s motion to compel discovery from defendants Skootle 18 Corp. and James Kester and from two third parties. Docket No. 65. The Court has considered the 19 arguments raised and rules as follows: 20 Plaintiff’s Interrogatories Nos. 1-2: These interrogatories seek identification of “personal” 21 Twitter accounts opened by Skootle’s employees. Twitter argues this information is relevant to the issue 22 of what Skootle employees knew about Twitter’s Terms of Service (TOS). Twitter contends that it 23 cannot ascertain this information on its own, despite Skootle’s provision of a list of current and former 24 employees to Twitter, because individuals opening Twitter accounts often have the same name. 25 Defendants object to these requests, arguing that the information sought is not relevant, is personal to 26 the individual employees and is not in Skootle or Kester’s custody or control. Defendants also argue 27 that Twitter has and can continue to seek discovery directly from Skootle’s current or former 28 employees, presumably by deposition notice or subpoena, about their personal Twitter accounts. 1 The Court finds that given this information’s marginal relevance to defendants’ liability, 2 Twitter’s motion to compel as to these interrogatories is DENIED without prejudice. If, as discovery 3 continues, Twitter discovers that current or former Skootle employees used “personal” accounts in 4 furtherance of the allegations made in the complaint, it can again move to compel production of this 5 information. 6 Plaintiff’s Requests for Production 14/15 to Skootle and 15/16 to Kester: These requests ask 8 defendants to produce documents regarding defendants’ revenue and income from Skootle and Skootle’s 9 TweetAdder program, including financial statements and tax records. Defendants object to these 10 United States District Court For the Northern District of California 7 requests, arguing that their financial information is not relevant to the causes of action alleged. The 11 Court notes that the information sought is directly relevant to the issue of punitive damages under the 12 alleged tortious interference and fraud causes of action. As such, plaintiff’s motion to compel as to 13 these requests for production is GRANTED. 14 15 Plaintiff’s Document Subpoenas to Third Parties: Plaintiff asks the Court to compel third-parties 16 Troy Fales and Amanda Kester – who are represented by defense counsel – to produce documents. With 17 respect to Mr. Fales, Twitter has requested documents showing the amounts Fales has been paid for his 18 work on TweetAdder, allowing for redactions of personal information and of income on work or 19 services not related to TweetAdder (Request No. 3). Plaintiff contends these documents will show that 20 defendants knew about and condoned Mr. Fales’ conduct, and will help establish Mr. Fales’ status as 21 an agent of Skootle and his bias as a witness. Defense counsel object on Mr. Fales’ behalf, arguing that 22 the information sought impermissibly violates Mr. Fales’ rights of privacy as he is not a defendant. The 23 Court GRANTS Twitter’s motion to compel production of documents responsive to Request No. 3, 24 redacted as identified above. 25 The document subpoenas also seek all communications relating to Twitter, Skootle or 26 TweetAdder (Request Nos. 11, 12, 14). Defense counsel object on behalf of Mr. Fales and Ms. Kester 27 on over-breadth grounds, arguing that the requests as phrased would cover any document mentioning 28 Twitter and include, for example, emails with a signature identifying a Twitter account. The Court 2 1 GRANTS Twitter’s motion to compel with respect to Request Nos. 11, 12 and 14 but defines “relating 2 to” as “concerning, describing or discussing.” 3 4 IT IS SO ORDERED. 5 Dated: November 7, 2012 6 7 SUSAN ILLSTON United States District Judge 8 9 United States District Court For the Northern District of California 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 3

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