Robert Heath v. Google Inc.

Filing 384

ORDER CLARIFYING SCOPE OF DISCOVERY, RE 357 MOTION TO CLARIFY. Signed by Judge Beth Labson Freeman on 9/27/2018.(blflc2S, COURT STAFF) (Filed on 9/27/2018)

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1 2 3 UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT 4 NORTHERN DISTRICT OF CALIFORNIA 5 SAN JOSE DIVISION 6 7 ROBERT HEATH, ET AL., Plaintiffs, 8 GOOGLE LLC, United States District Court Northern District of California 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 [Re: ECF 357] Defendant. 11 12 ORDER CLARIFYING SCOPE OF DISCOVERY v. 9 10 Case No. 15-cv-01824-BLF Before the Court is Defendant Google LLC’s (“Google”) Motion for Clarification or, in the Alternative, Motion for Leave to File Motion for Reconsideration (“Motion”). See Mot., ECF 357. Through this motion, Google seeks clarification as to whether a pending discovery dispute should be submitted to the magistrate judge, or whether Google must instead seek leave to file a motion for reconsideration of a previous order that Plaintiffs argue foreclosed the disputed discovery. In his July 27, 2017 discovery dispute order, Magistrate Judge Lloyd relied on this Court’s discussions with the parties about the scope of discovery to determine what “level of discovery [Google] may be allowed to obtain from the opt-in[] [Plaintiffs].” “Order,” ECF 185 at 1. Based on his understanding that this Court believed “it should be limited discovery, not full discovery,” he prescribed a discovery plan allowing for written discovery sent to 75 opt-in Plaintiffs and depositions of 35 Plaintiffs. Id. at 2. This Court later upheld the scope of discovery set forth in that Order, referencing, in part, discussions held at the June 6, 2017 Case Management Conference (“CMC,” ECF 173) and the case Wellens v. Daiichi Sankyo Inc., No. C-13-00581-WHO(DMR), 2014 WL 7385990 (N.D. Cal. Dec. 29, 2014). See ECF 199; 207. Through its present motion, Google requests clarification of Judge Lloyd’s Order and this 1 Court’s subsequent approval thereof. Google believes that this limitation applied only to discovery 2 pre-certification (i.e., pre-denial of decertification) of the collective action. See Mot. at 1. By contrast, 3 Plaintiffs believe this Court and Magistrate Judge Lloyd’s Order limited Google to this discovery 4 scope for the entirety of discovery (though it admits that “additional discovery relating to the Opt-Ins’ 5 damages and mitigation damages may be necessary in Phase II”). Opp. at 4–5 & n.1, ECF 364. 6 Because decertification was denied, Google now seeks additional discovery from the Opt-Ins prior to 7 trial and requests the Court clarify whether this issue is an open one, such that the related discovery 8 dispute would go to the magistrate judge. Mot. at 1–3. 9 The Court finds it clear from the record that Judge Lloyd’s Order limiting discovery applied only to pre-decertification discovery. This Court expressly stated as much at the June 6, 2017 case 11 United States District Court Northern District of California 10 management conference, stating “I think that in terms of allowing Google to oppose or to bring forth a 12 de-cert motion, that [it] is appropriate that Google have access to enough information to highlight the 13 most disparate group of plaintiffs to establish that they are not similarly situated.” CMC at 8:13–17; 14 see also CMC at 7:11–8:4 (discussing discovery “[i]n terms of the liability phase”). And the Court 15 referenced Wellens, 2014 WL 7385990 as persuasive, a case dealing explicitly with the scope of 16 discovery pre-decertification. Likewise, the transcript from the hearing in front of Judge Lloyd on the 17 underlying discovery dispute makes clear that he also had certification in mind. There, he discussed 18 certain requested discovery by stating, “I don’t see how it goes to the question of decertification.” 19 Hearing Tr. at 8:22–23, ECF 192; see also Hearing Tr. at 10:8–12 (“I’m just not overwhelmed by the 20 argument of the defense that they need damage information to show that there’s a diversity of potential 21 damages . . . and that that factor would weigh in whether or not the class should remain certified or 22 not.”). As such, this Court finds that the scope of discovery was limited only for the purposes of 23 decertification. 24 To be clear, the present Order clarifies only that Magistrate Judge Lloyd’s Order did not set the 25 scope of discovery outside of that necessary for decertification. This order does not address the proper 26 scope of any non-decertification discovery, or whether a request for any such discovery at this time 27 would be timely. Those matters should be addressed to the magistrate judge responsible for discovery 28 disputes. 2 1 IT IS SO ORDERED. 2 3 4 5 Dated: September 27, 2018 ______________________________________ BETH LABSON FREEMAN United States District Judge 6 7 8 9 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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