Codding v. Pearson Education, Inc.

Filing 89

ORDER ADDRESSING 86 JOINT DISCOVERY LETTER AND EXHIBITS. The court issues the attached order to memorialize its guidance from today's discovery hearing. First, the court directs Pearson Education to consider in good faith producing the cur rent versions of PSoC, enVision math, and myPerspective ELA courses to Dr. Codding. With respect to P&L statements, the court accepts Pearson Education's representation that no such statements exist. The court additionally provides guidance to the parties regarding discovery and their disputes more generally, as set forth in the attached. Signed by Judge Laurel Beeler on March 7, 2019. (lblc1S, COURT STAFF) (Filed on 3/7/2019)

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1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT 9 NORTHERN DISTRICT OF CALIFORNIA 10 San Francisco Division United States District Court Northern District of California 11 JUDY CODDING, Case No. 18-cv-00817-LB Plaintiff, 12 ORDER ADDRESSING DISCOVERY DISPUTES v. 13 14 PEARSON EDUCATION, INC., Re: ECF No. 86 Defendant. 15 16 17 The parties raised discovery disputes in a joint letter brief1 and at a discovery hearing before 18 the court on March 7, 2019. The court addressed the parties’ discovery disputes on the record at 19 the hearing. The court issues this order memorializing its guidance from the hearing. The only requests squarely raised in the joint letter brief were Dr. Codding’s requests for: 20 21 1. Access to the current version of all PSoC courses[,] 22 2. Access to the current version of all enVision math courses[,] 23 3. Access to the current version of all myPerspective ELA courses[,] 24 4. P&L Statements for all enVision math courses[,] 25 26 27 Joint Letter Br. – ECF No. 86-4. Citations refer to material in the Electronic Case File (“ECF”); pinpoint citations are to the ECF-generated page numbers at the top of documents. 1 28 ORDER – No. 18-cv-00817-LB 1 5. P&L Statements for all myPerspective ELA courses[, and] 2 6. P&L Statements for all other Core Pearson math and ELA courses[.]2 With respect to requests 1 through 3, Pearson Education stated that it would consider 3 4 producing to Dr. Codding the current versions of PSoC, enVision math, and myPerspective ELA 5 courses and said that this “may not be a heavy lift.” The court directs Pearson Education to 6 consider in good faith producing these courses and to meet and confer with Dr. Codding as 7 necessary and appropriate. With respect to requests 4 through 6, Pearson Education represented that there are no separate 8 9 P&L statements for any courses other than PSoC. Absent any evidence to the contrary, the court accepts Pearson Education’s representation. The court cannot order Pearson Education to produce 11 United States District Court Northern District of California 10 what it does not have. The parties also raised in their letter brief and at the hearing various objections and disputes 12 13 they have been having more generally regarding discovery. The court offers the following 14 guidance. 15 First, the court is inclined to allow Dr. Codding some discovery into other courses beyond 16 PSoC. Comparisons with other products may be relevant and necessary to put into perspective Dr. 17 Codding’s allegations about what Pearson Education did do, or did not do, regarding PSoC, and to 18 educate the parties with respect to the prospects for settlement or trial. (The court makes this 19 observation without prejudice to the parties’ ability to raise arguments regarding relevance and 20 burden with respect to any particular request.) Second, the parties must comply with Federal Rules of Civil Procedure 34’s provisions for 21 22 issuing document requests. Of course, after issuing requests, the parties can meet and confer and 23 discuss or narrow requests informally. But requests have to be issued formally in the first instance. Third, if the parties have multiple discovery issues such that the five-page limit for joint letter 24 25 briefs does not permit them to discuss them with specificity, they may raise separate issues in 26 separate joint letter briefs. 27 28 2 Id. at 2. ORDER – No. 18-cv-00817-LB 2 1 Fourth, for any dispute, the parties must meaningfully meet and confer (including meeting and 2 conferring in person, if counsel are local, or over the phone, if counsel are not, as set out in the 3 court’s standing order) before raising the dispute in a joint letter brief. Additionally, the parties 4 should not raise new issues or arguments for the first time right before filing the letter brief with 5 the court. Instead, the parties must first meaningfully meet and confer about the issue and their 6 arguments so as to allow the other side a meaningful opportunity to respond and include its 7 arguments. Cf. Updateme Inc. v. Axel Springer SE, No. 17-cv-05054-SI (LB), 2018 WL 5734670, 8 at *4 (N.D. Cal. Oct. 31, 2018) (“[T]he meet-and-confer and joint-letter-brief processes is meant 9 to encourage parties to (1) talk with each other, see each other’s positions, try to find areas of compromise, and work out disputes amongst themselves, and (2) narrow, sharpen, and focus the 11 United States District Court Northern District of California 10 issues they cannot resolve before they present those issues to the court.”); Synopsys, Inc. v. 12 Ubiquiti Networks, Inc., No. 17-cv-00561-WHO (LB), 2018 WL 2294281, at *1 (N.D. Cal. May 13 21, 2018) (“[T]he final joint letter brief should include only the core, central unresolved issues and 14 all of the parties’ arguments on those issues (including all the responses they have to the other 15 side’s arguments).”). “The overarching principle for all discovery disputes is that the parties have 16 an obligation to negotiate in good faith and cooperate in discovery.” Updateme, 2018 WL 17 5734670, at *4 n.21 (citing Synopsys, 2018 WL 2294281, at *1). 18 19 IT IS SO ORDERED. 20 Dated: March 7, 2019 ______________________________________ LAUREL BEELER United States Magistrate Judge 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 ORDER – No. 18-cv-00817-LB 3

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