Emblaze Ltd. v. Microsoft Corporation

Filing 91

ORDER DENYING REQUEST TO LIMIT PARTICIPATION OF EMBLAZE'S EXPERT re 89 Letter Brief, filed by Emblaze Ltd. Signed by Judge Jon S. Tigar on June 25, 2014. (wsn, COURT STAFF) (Filed on 6/25/2014)

Download PDF
1 2 3 4 UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT 5 NORTHERN DISTRICT OF CALIFORNIA 6 7 EMBLAZE LTD., Case No. 12-cv-05422-JST Plaintiff, 8 v. 9 10 MICROSOFT CORPORATION, Defendant. ORDER DENYING REQUEST TO LIMIT PARTICIPATION OF EMBLAZE’S EXPERT Re: ECF No. 89 United States District Court Northern District of California 11 On June 16, 2014, the parties filed a letter brief outlining their dispute regarding 12 13 Microsoft’s refusal to permit Emblaze’s expert, Dr. Vijay Madisetti, to access materials that 14 Microsoft has designated as highly confidential under the district’s model protective order for 15 patent cases. ECF No. 89. In the brief, Microsoft attempts to justify its position by arguing that the Cozen O’Connor 16 17 law firm (“Cozen”), which represents Emblaze in Emblaze v. Apple, Case. No. 11-cv-01079 (N.D. 18 Cal.) (“the Apple case”), “has worked extensively with Dr. Madisetti” in connection with that 19 case. This is problematic, in Microsoft’s view, because Cozen represents Microsoft in an 20 unrelated tax matter in Pennsylvania. Microsoft contends that permitting Dr. Madisetti to access 21 the materials in this case without any limitations “would create an effective collaboration” 22 between Cozen and Cohen & Gresser (“C&G”), counsel for Emblaze in this case, which Microsoft 23 argues would be improper in light of the “law governing knowing collaboration with disloyal 24 attorneys.” Id. at 6-7 (citing Fund of Funds v. Arthur Andersen & Co., 567 F.2d 225, 232 (2d Cir. 25 1977)). 26 Microsoft has offered to permit Dr. Madisetti to work with C&G in this case only if: 27 (1) Dr. Madisetti agrees in writing not to discuss his work with Cozen; (2) C&G does not use any 28 of the work or testimony of Dr. Madisetti from the Apple case; (3) no information is given by 1 Emblaze or Dr. Masetti to C&G about “discussions with Cozen”; and (4) no Microsoft 2 confidential information is shared with anyone who interacts with Cozen, other than Dr. Madisetti. 3 Id. at 6. Microsoft contends that these restrictions are appropriate because counsel for Emblaze 4 voluntarily agreed not to have any discussions with Cozen, and C&G has not shown that this self- 5 imposed wall should not also apply to Dr. Madisetti. Microsoft contends that it is not seeking to 6 disqualify Dr. Madisetti, but only to limit C&G’s use in this case of Cozen’s work in the Apple 7 case. 8 9 Emblaze responds that Microsoft’s original reason for seeking to limit Dr. Madisetti’s access to confidential documents was the motion to disqualify C&G from representing Emblaze in this case, which the court recently denied. Now that the motion is no longer at issue, Emblaze 11 United States District Court Northern District of California 10 contends that there is no reason for Microsoft to doubt the good faith of C&G or Dr. Madisetti. 12 Emblaze also notes that Microsoft has never moved to disqualify Dr. Madisetti as an expert by 13 virtue of Cozen’s representation of Emblaze in the Apple case. Finally, Emblaze argues that there 14 is no reason to interfere with Dr. Madisetti in this case merely because Emblaze is represented by 15 Cozen in the Apple case, which involves a different defendant and different products. 16 The court concludes that there is no basis to impose the limitations on Dr. Madisetti’s 17 participation that Microsoft requests. First, the motion to disqualify C&G was denied, so neither 18 the making of that motion nor the arguments made in support of it provide any basis for limiting 19 Dr. Madisetti’s participation. Second, the only authority upon which Microsoft relies to support 20 its position is Fund of Funds, which deals exclusively with an attorney’s breach of the duty of 21 loyalty to a client. Microsoft has not cited any authority that stretches Fund of Funds so far as to 22 disqualify or limit an expert witness in an unrelated case, and the court has already determined that 23 Fund of Funds is inapposite to the facts presented in this case. 24 Third, C&G’s decision to wall itself from any communications with Cozen was completely 25 voluntary. Microsoft points to no authority showing that this self-imposed ethical wall also must 26 be applied to Dr. Madisetti. 27 28 Finally, the court finds that the terms of the protective order governing the documents at issue are sufficient to protect Microsoft’s interests. 2 1 2 3 4 5 6 Accordingly, Microsoft’s request to impose limits on the participation of Dr. Madisetti in this case is DENIED. IT IS SO ORDERED. Dated: June 25, 2014 ______________________________________ JON S. TIGAR United States District Judge 7 8 9 10 United States District Court Northern District of California 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 3

Disclaimer: Justia Dockets & Filings provides public litigation records from the federal appellate and district courts. These filings and docket sheets should not be considered findings of fact or liability, nor do they necessarily reflect the view of Justia.

Why Is My Information Online?