BladeRoom Group Limited et al v. Facebook, Inc.

Filing 225

(REDACTED) ORDER by Magistrate Judge Howard R. Lloyd re 180 Discovery Dispute Joint Report No. 8. (hrllc2S, COURT STAFF) (Filed on 3/13/2017)

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1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT 9 NORTHERN DISTRICT OF CALIFORNIA 10 SAN JOSE DIVISION United States District Court Northern District of California 11 12 BLADEROOM GROUP LIMITED, et al., Plaintiffs, 13 14 15 16 v. FACEBOOK, INC., et al., Case No.5:15-cv-01370-EJD (HRL) **REDACTED** ORDER RE DISCOVERY DISPUTE REPORT NO. 8 Re: Dkt. No. 180 Defendants. 17 In Discovery Dispute Joint Report (DDJR) #8 defendants Emerson Electric Co., Emerson 18 Network Power Solutions, Inc., and Liebert Corporation (collectively, the “Emerson defendants”) 19 seek an order compelling plaintiffs to provide further detail about their allegedly misappropriated 20 trade secrets (Interrogatory #1) and also to separately identify any claimed misconduct by each of 21 the Emerson defendants instead of lumping them together collectively (Interrogatories #1-11). 22 Plaintiffs oppose both requests. Interrogatory #1 23 24 25 26 Interrogatory #1 says: “Identify all trade secrets you allege that you disclosed to [each of the Emerson defendants].” The Emerson defendants say that plaintiffs simply have not revealed enough about their 27 claimed trade secrets to enable them to know what they are defending against. Nonsense, say 28 plaintiffs. We disclosed them either in our Disclosure of Plaintiffs’ Trade Secrets under California 1 Code of Civil Procedure § 2019.210 (“Disclosures”) or in various documents we identified in our 2 response to Interrogatory #1. In rejoinder, the Emerson defendants contend, in effect, that the 3 Disclosures are long on generalities and short on specifics. 4 Plaintiffs’ first argument is that, if the Emerson defendants wanted more specificity in the 5 Disclosures, they should have moved for an order to supplement them. Since they have not done 6 so, they have “waived” (plaintiffs’ word) the contention that the disclosure is inadequate. 7 Plaintiffs cite no authority for this rather curious proposition, and the court sees nothing wrong 8 with using discovery (Interrogatory #1) to get more specificity. Indeed, discovery was exactly the 9 right way to go about probing the facts and, perhaps, exposing the weaknesses of an opposing 10 United States District Court Northern District of California 11 party’s claims. The court rejects plaintiffs’ argument. Equally troubling is the plaintiffs’ assertion that Interrogatory #1 only asked that their trade 12 secrets be “identif[ied],” and that they had already done that in their Disclosures. Plaintiffs say 13 that if the Emerson defendants had wanted something more than the identity of the trade secrets, 14 they should have propounded an interrogatory that pointedly asked for specifics, and plaintiffs 15 would have been happy to comply. Here, plaintiffs are exalting form over substance. Obviously, 16 defendants wanted specifics, or why bother to propound the interrogatory at all? Furthermore, the 17 Disclosures did not, in this court’s view, for the most part adequately “identify” the trade secrets 18 with the “reasonable particularity” that Cal. Code Civ. Proc. § 2019.210 requires. And, since 19 plaintiffs tell the court that they would have fleshed out their Disclosures if the Emerson 20 defendants had only asked the right question, they should have no problem doing that now that the 21 court has clarified the question for them. 22 23 24 REDACTED 25 26 27 28 2 1 2 3 REDACTED 4 5 6 7 8 9 In short, the court is persuaded that plaintiffs owe the Emerson defendants a supplemental 11 United States District Court Northern District of California 10 response to Interrogatory #1 that addresses all the claimed trade secrets as to the shortcomings the 12 court has described by example above. 13 Interrogatories #1-11 14 The Emerson defendants are three separate, presumably related, entities. In Interrogatories 15 #1-11 each asked plaintiffs to state (individually), which entity received what secret, which entity 16 misappropriated what secret, which caused damages, and so on. Plaintiffs responded by providing 17 identical answers for each entity and made no attempt to separate out who did what. Plaintiffs 18 explained they would need further discovery to figure that out and offered to supplement their 19 responses later. That was months ago. “Later” is now. Plaintiffs shall now respond separately 20 and particularly to each of the three Emerson defendants. Conclusion 21 22 23 Plaintiffs will submit supplemental interrogatory responses within 14 days from the filing of this order. 24 SO ORDERED. 25 Dated: March 13, 2017 26 27 HOWARD R. LLOYD United States Magistrate Judge 28 3

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