Waymo LLC v. Uber Technologies, Inc. et al

Filing 1410


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Case 3:17-cv-00939-WHA Document 1410 Filed 08/29/17 Page 1 of 3 1 2 3 4 5 IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT 6 FOR THE NORTHERN DISTRICT OF CALIFORNIA 7 8 9 WAYMO LLC, 11 For the Northern District of California United States District Court 10 12 13 14 No. C 17-00939 WHA Plaintiff, v. ORDER DENYING MOTION FOR RELIEF FROM JUDGE CORLEY’S NONDISPOSITIVE PRETRIAL ORDER RE MOTION TO COMPEL UBER TECHNOLOGIES, INC.; OTTOMOTTO LLC; and OTTO TRUCKING LLC, Defendants. / 15 16 17 INTRODUCTION The magistrate judge overseeing discovery in this action granted in part and denied in 18 part defendants’ motion to compel. Plaintiff moves for relief from that order pursuant to Civil 19 Local Rule 72. The motion is DENIED. 20 STATEMENT 21 Defendants Uber Technologies, Inc., and Ottomotto LLC (collectively, “Uber”) moved 22 to compel plaintiff Waymo LLC to, among other things, respond to certain interrogatories and 23 produce certain documents (Dkt. No. 1215). In an order dated August 19, per the discovery 24 referral in this action, Magistrate Judge Jacqueline Corley granted in part and denied in part 25 Uber’s motion (Dkt. No. 1276). Pursuant to Civil Local Rule 72, Waymo filed a motion for 26 relief from the August 19 order (Dkt. No. 1289). This order follows full briefing. 27 28 Case 3:17-cv-00939-WHA Document 1410 Filed 08/29/17 Page 2 of 3 1 ANALYSIS 2 1. STANDARD OF REVIEW. 3 Under FRCP 72, a district judge considering timely objections to a magistrate judge’s 4 nondispositive order must defer to the order unless it is “clearly erroneous or contrary to law.” 5 Grimes v. City & Cty. of San Francisco, 951 F.2d 236, 241 (9th Cir. 1991). “The reviewing 6 court may not simply substitute its judgment for that of the deciding court.” Ibid. (citing United 7 States v. BNS Inc., 858 F.2d 456, 464 (9th Cir. 1988)). 8 2. 9 Waymo’s “objections” regarding interrogatory number 25 and request for production WAYMO’S MOTION FOR RELIEF. number 166 (see Dkt. Nos. 1289 at 1–3; 1362 at 1–3, 5) are really just requests for clarification 11 For the Northern District of California United States District Court 10 of Judge Corley’s August 19 order. As such, they have been mooted by Judge Corley’s 12 clarifications on the record during a more recent hearing on August 28. Waymo’s sole 13 remaining objection is that Judge Corley erred in ordering discovery into seven of its own 14 transactions (see Dkt. Nos. 1289 at 3–4; 1362 at 3–5). Judge Corley reasoned “that Waymo 15 intends to ask the jury to draw negative inferences against Uber based on how Uber conducted 16 the acquisition of Ottomotto,” so “how Waymo conducts its own acquisitions is relevant to the 17 claims and defenses in this action.” Additionally, the transactions in question are “relevant to 18 Waymo’s efforts to keep its self-described proprietary information secret” (Dkt. No. 1276 at 19 1–2). Waymo has not shown that these rulings were clearly erroneous or contrary to law. 20 First, Waymo complains that Uber has not shown “any aspects of those deals that 21 parallel the aspects of its acquisition of Otto, such as forensic due diligence or indemnity for 22 confessed acts of trade secret misappropriation or other malfeasance” (Dkt. Nos. 1289 at 3–4; 23 1362 at 4). But the point of the ordered discovery is so Uber can find out if any such parallels 24 exist. The showing Waymo demands would be an unreasonable prerequisite to that discovery. 25 Second, Waymo suggests its transactions are not discoverable because it “has no 26 intention of relying on [its] own acquisitions to argue that Uber’s deal was unusual” (Dkt. Nos. 27 1289 at 4; 1362 at 5). This argument misses the point. Uber remains entitled to discover 28 evidence relevant to the claims and defenses in this action even if Waymo will not use the same 2 Case 3:17-cv-00939-WHA Document 1410 Filed 08/29/17 Page 3 of 3 1 evidence. Waymo’s related argument that Uber cannot discover relevant evidence merely 2 because there is other evidence on the same issue (Dkt. No. 1362 at 3) is similarly unpersuasive. 3 Third, Waymo contends its “own efforts to keep its transactions confidential” are 4 irrelevant because it “does not challenge Uber’s actions to keep its deal confidential,” and its 5 “efforts to keep transactions confidential are unrelated to [its] efforts to keep its trade-secret 6 development away from outside prying eyes” and thus “do not inform whether [it] takes 7 reasonable measures to protect its trade secrets” (Dkt. No. 1289 at 4). As Uber pointed out in 8 its motion to compel before Judge Corley, however, Waymo has put at issue the question of 9 whether efforts to keep an acquisition shrouded in secrecy — as Uber did with the Otto acquisition — suggest a cover-up of some underlying misconduct (see Dkt. No. 1215 at 2). 11 For the Northern District of California United States District Court 10 This alone shows that Judge Corley’s ruling was not clearly erroneous. 12 13 14 CONCLUSION For the foregoing reasons, plaintiff’s motion for relief from Judge Corley’s August 19 order is DENIED. All stated objections thereto are OVERRULED. 15 16 IT IS SO ORDERED. 17 18 Dated: August 29, 2017. WILLIAM ALSUP UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 3

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