Edwards Lifesciences Corporation et al v. Meril Life Sciences Pvt. Ltd. et al

Filing 361

ORDER by Hon. Haywood S. Gilliam, Jr., GRANTING Docket No. 314 Motion for Relief from Non-Dispositive Pretrial Order of Magistrate Judge. (hsglc2, COURT STAFF) (Filed on 1/10/2022)

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1 2 3 4 UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT 5 NORTHERN DISTRICT OF CALIFORNIA 6 7 8 EDWARDS LIFESCIENCES CORPORATION, et al., Plaintiffs, 9 v. 10 11 Case No. 19-cv-06593-HSG ORDER RE MOTION FOR RELIEF FROM NON-DISPOSITIVE PRETRIAL ORDER OF MAGISTRATE JUDGE Re: Dkt. No. 314 MERIL LIFE SCIENCES PVT. LTD., et al., United States District Court Northern District of California Defendants. 12 13 Pending before the Court is Meril Life Sciences Pvt. Ltd.’s and Meril, Inc.’s (collectively, 14 “Meril”) motion for relief from the December 9, 2021 Order of Magistrate Judge Kandis A. 15 Westmore. See Dkt. Nos. 271, 308, 314. Edwards Lifesciences Corporation and Edwards 16 Lifesciences LLC (collectively, “Edwards”) has filed an opposition. See Dkt. No. 356. For the 17 reasons provided below, the Court GRANTS Meril’s motion. 18 At issue is whether Meril may depose Mr. Larry Wood, Edwards’ Corporate Vice 19 President, and Ms. Pooja Sharma, Edwards’ Vice President of Strategy and Program 20 Management. On July 6, 2021, Meril served a 30(b)(6) deposition notice, noticing a deposition of 21 Edwards through persons designated to testify on Edwards’ behalf regarding certain topics. See 22 Dkt. No. 271-1. That deposition was set to commence on July 15, 2021, or a date “otherwise 23 agreed by counsel.” Id. Edwards designated Mr. Wood and Ms. Sharma to testify on its behalf 24 but objected to the July 15 date and notified Meril that the witnesses would instead be made 25 available on August 12 and 13. Dkt. No. 271 at 2-4. Meril then objected to the August 12 and 13 26 dates, and the parties ultimately could not agree on a deposition date for Mr. Wood and Ms. 27 Sharma. Dkt. No. 192. The parties accordingly filed a Joint Discovery Dispute Letter on August 28 18, 2021, which Judge Westmore ultimately resolved on December 9, 2021. Dkt. No 308. Judge Westmore’s Order concluded that Meril violated Civil Local Rule 30-1, which 1 2 requires parties to meet and confer regarding scheduling before noticing a deposition, and further 3 found that Meril had engaged in “gamesmanship” by waiting until August 10, 2021 to notify 4 Edwards that it could not proceed with the depositions of Mr. Wood and Ms. Sharma on the 5 morning of August 12, 2021. Id. In the pending motion, Meril contends that Judge Westmore’s 6 December 9 Order rests upon multiple factual misunderstandings and requests the opportunity to 7 take depositions of Edwards’ witnesses so that it has a meaningful opportunity to cross-examine 8 them at trial. See Dkt. No. 314. To begin with, the undersigned agrees with Judge Westmore that many of the 9 “unprecedented number of discovery disputes” in this case are of the kind that professional 11 United States District Court Northern District of California 10 lawyers routinely should, and do, resolve without expending judicial resources. See Dkt. No. 308. 12 While it should go without saying, the Court strongly encourages both parties to recommit to 13 professionalism and good-faith cooperation for the remainder of this case. Turning to the merits, having reviewed newly-submitted email correspondence between 14 15 counsel for Meril and counsel for Edwards that was not before Judge Westmore, the Court 16 concludes that Meril is correct.1 See Dkt. No. 357-2; 357-3. That correspondence shows that as 17 early as August 2, 2021, Meril made clear to Edwards that the August 12 and 13 deposition dates 18 would not leave sufficient time for Meril to review Edwards’ ongoing and incomplete document 19 productions prior to those depositions, and thus sought alternative dates. See Dkt. No. 357-2. 20 Based on that evidence, the Court finds that: (1) Meril did not wait until the last minute to object 21 to the August 12 and 13 deposition dates; and (2) Edwards’ refusal to provide alternative dates 22 that would allow Meril time to adequately review the completed document production was 23 unreasonable. Moreover, while Edwards offered Meril another opportunity to take the Wood and 24 Sharma depositions in early December, the Court finds that it was also unreasonable for Edwards 25 to condition these depositions of key witnesses on Meril withdrawing an entirely unrelated and 26 27 28 1 The email correspondence was not before Judge Westmore because her Standing Order states that joint discovery letters may not be accompanied by exhibits or affidavits other than exact copies of interrogatories, requests for production of documents and/or responses, privilege logs, and relevant deposition testimony. See Judge Westmore S.O. 14(b). 2 1 2 potentially important document request. See Dkt. Nos. 356 at 1; 271 at 3. For these reasons, the Court GRANTS Meril’s motion. Edwards shall make Mr. Wood 3 and Ms. Sharma available for deposition on or before January 21, 2022. If Edwards fails to do so, 4 those witnesses will be precluded from offering testimony at trial, and testimony from other 5 witnesses that purports to be based on information from them also will be excluded. 6 7 8 9 IT IS SO ORDERED. Dated: January 10, 2022 ______________________________________ HAYWOOD S. GILLIAM, JR. United States District Judge 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

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