Fiteq Inc v. Venture Corporation et al

Filing 453

ORDER DENYING 431 PLAINTIFF FITEQ, INC.'S MOTION TO REOPEN DISCOVERY. Signed by Judge Beth Labson Freeman on 10/17/2016. (blflc2S, COURT STAFF) (Filed on 10/17/2016)

Download PDF
1 UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT 2 NORTHERN DISTRICT OF CALIFORNIA 3 SAN JOSE DIVISION 4 5 FITEQ INC, Case No. 13-cv-01946-BLF Plaintiff, 6 v. 7 8 VENTURE CORPORATION, et al., Defendants. ORDER DENYING PLAINTIFF FITEQ, INC.'S MOTION TO REOPEN DISCOVERY [Re: ECF 431] 9 10 This case began with a partnership between the parties to build a payment card that would United States District Court Northern District of California 11 12 combat fraud. FiTeq Inc. (“FiTeq”) and Venture Corporation, Inc. (“Venture”) entered into an 13 Operating Agreement (“OA”) in 2009, pursuant to which each party had responsibilities: FiTeq 14 was to design, develop, market, and sell the card, while Venture was to “seamless[ly] 15 manufactur[e]” it. ECF 199-26, OA Recitals. The agreement was highly sequenced, with ten 16 milestones, each of which had up to nine component parts. See ECF 199-26, OA Exh. B. The 17 joint project ultimately failed, but the parties dispute which—and most importantly whose—action 18 caused the failure. Now before the Court is FiTeq’s motion to reopen discovery. Mot., ECF 431. For the 19 20 21 22 reasons discussed below, the Court DENIES FiTeq’s motion without prejudice. I. BACKGROUND Discovery in this case closed in February 2015, but the Court reopened fact discovery in 23 March 2015, after finding that Plaintiff’s disclosures of certain damages computations were 24 inadequate and because FiTeq failed to provide cards for testing. ECF 141, 194, 233. Reopening 25 fact discovery caused the Court to continue the trial date from August 31, 2015 to May 9, 2016. 26 ECF 233, 257; Opp’n 1, ECF 438 (“Th[e] new discovery took more than nine months and caused 27 the Court to move the trial date.”). On May 5, 2016, the Court vacated the May 9, 2016 trial date 28 to accommodate the Court’s schedule because the Court was in trial in another case. ECF 413. 1 Trial was subsequently reset for October 3, 2016. ECF 417. After Defendants notified the Court 2 to their unavailability for trial on that date, the Court reset the trial for January 4, 2017. ECF 422. 3 The Court expects this case, which was filed in 2013, to go to trial on that date and has already 4 ruled on the parties’ motions in limine and joint pretrial statements. ECF 406, 437. Nevertheless, four months before trial, FiTeq filed this motion to reopen discovery. Mot. 5 6 1, ECF 431. Through this motion, “FiTeq seeks an order reopening discovery until December 16, 7 2016” so that the production of an August 23, 2016 letter from MasterCard approving FiTeq’s 8 payment card for pilot use, and the related reports and test results, would be deemed timely for use 9 at trial. Id. at 1. Alternatively, “FiTeq seeks an order letting it use this evidence at trial in response to any attempted showing by Venture that FiTeq’s card technology is not viable or 11 United States District Court Northern District of California 10 reasonably likely to be commercialized.” Id. Through its motion, FiTeq seeks to reopen 12 discovery until two weeks before trial to produce the MasterCard letter and several other 13 documents without specificity. Pursuant to its request, FiTeq produced the MasterCard letter and various related 14 15 documents on August 29, 2016 and “sent Venture[’s] counsel a letter inviting Venture to start 16 scheduling any discovery it wished to conduct concerning the MasterCard approval.” Id. at 4. 17 FiTeq produced (1) FiTeq internal test reports; (2) a test report by a lab called “QCard,” (3) expert 18 testimony of Uwe Truggelman, (4) reviews and papers, and (5) the MasterCard letter. Opp’n 2. 19 Venture declined to engage in discovery and now opposes FiTeq’s motion. See generally Opp’n. 20 21 II. LEGAL STANDARD Pretrial deadlines “may be modified only for good cause and with the judge’s consent. 22 Fed. R. Civ. P. 16(b)(4). In determining whether there is good cause to re-open discovery, courts 23 consider the following factors: 24 27 1) whether trial is imminent, 2) whether the request is opposed, 3) whether the non-moving party would be prejudiced, 4) whether the moving party was diligent in obtaining discovery within the guidelines established by the court, 5) the foreseeability of the need for additional discovery in light of the time allowed for discovery by the district court, and 6) the likelihood that discovery will lead to relevant evidence. 28 U.S. ex rel. Schumer v. Hughes Aircraft Co., 63 F.3d 1512, 1526 (9th Cir. 1995) vacated on other 25 26 2 1 grounds, 520 U.S. 939 (1997) (citing Smith v. United States, 834 F.2d 166, 169 (10th Cir. 1987)). 2 “Rule 16(b)’s ‘good cause’ standard primarily concerns the diligence of the party seeking 3 the amendment.” Johnson v. Mammoth Recreations, Inc., 975 F.2d 604, 609 (9th Cir. 1992); see 4 also Fed. R. Civ. P. 16 Advisory Committee's Notes (1983 amendment) (noting district court may 5 modify pretrial schedule “if it cannot reasonably be met despite the diligence of the party seeking 6 the extension.”). “If [the party seeking the modification] was not diligent, the inquiry should end 7 there.” See Johnson, 975 F.2d at 609. “The district court is given broad discretion in supervising 8 the pretrial phase of litigation, and its decisions regarding the preclusive effect of a pretrial order . 9 . . will not be disturbed unless they evidence a clear abuse of discretion.” Id. at 607 (internal quotation marks and citation omitted). 11 United States District Court Northern District of California 10 III. 12 DISCUSSION At the hearing, the Court expressed concern that FiTeq’s motion was overly broad and that 13 FiTeq was requesting to reopen discovery until two weeks before trial, which coincides with the 14 December holidays. Hr’g Tr. 3:4–6, ECF 452. Instead, the Court suggested that it would be more 15 reasonable to address the issue at trial. Id. 3:7–8. In response, FiTeq conceded that the motion 16 was overly broad, and agreed that “this is a matter best handled at trial on rebuttal, depending on 17 what Venture says and how it says it.” Id. 3:21–22. Based upon FiTeq’s concession, the Court 18 need not determine whether FiTeq has met its burden under Rule 16. The Court finds it 19 reasonable to allow FiTeq the opportunity to request admission of the MasterCard letter at trial. 20 Accordingly, FiTeq’s motion to reopen discovery is DENIED. FiTeq may seek to 21 introduce the MasterCard letter in rebuttal if Venture opens the door by submitting evidence to 22 prove that even today, FiTeq’s card could never be certified. FiTeq will still face the hurdle of 23 establishing the admissibility, relevance, and probative value of the MasterCard letter. 24 25 26 27 IT IS SO ORDERED. Dated: October 17, 2016 ______________________________________ BETH LABSON FREEMAN United States District Judge 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?