DuoDesk, LLC v. Gee Hoo Industrial Corporation
ORDER denying 156 MOTION for APPEAL OF MAGISTRATE JUDGE DECISION to District Court; granting 157 Motion in Limine. Signed by Judge Jay C. Zainey. (jrc)
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
EASTERN DISTRICT OF LOUISIANA
GEE HOO INDUSTRIAL
SECTION: “A” (3)
Before the Court is a Motion to Appeal Magistrate Judge’s Ruling on Motion for Sanctions
(Rec. Doc. 156) filed by Defendant Gee Hoo Industrial Corporation (“Gee Hoo”). Also before the
Court is a Motion in Limine to Exclude Documents/Testimony and Preclude Use of Documents
by Defendant (Rec. Doc. 157) filed by Plaintiff DuoDesk, L.L.C. (“DuoDesk”). The motions, set for
submission on April 20, 2016, and May 4, 2016, respectively, are before the Court on the briefs without
oral argument. Trial is set to begin in this matter on May 18, 2016.
In the Motion to Appeal Magistrate Judge’s Ruling on Motion for Sanctions, Gee Hoo moves
the Court to set aside a ruling granting DuoDesk’s Motion for Sanctions. In the Motion in Limine,
DuoDesk moves the Court to exclude photographs that were produced after the discovery deadline.
DuoDesk also moves to exclude certain evidence that Gee Hoo belatedly produced.
Plaintiff DuoDesk filed suit in this Court on June 11, 2014, alleging breach of contract. (Rec.
Doc. 1). Mr. Christoph Leonhard, the president of DuoDesk, a Louisiana L.L.C., had designed an
exercise machine called the “activeLife Trainer.” He contracted with Gee Hoo, a Taiwanese
manufacturing company, to manufacture the trainers. Plaintiff’s original complaint alleges that
Defendant breached its contract by failing to manufacture the trainers in accordance with certain
On July 23, 2015, DuoDesk amended its complaint to allege that, after the filing of the
complaint, Gee Hoo breached the parties’ non-disclosure and confidentiality agreement (“NDA”).
(Rec. Doc. 28). The NDA applied to the products that Gee Hoo agreed to develop for DuoDesk.
DuoDesk alleges that in February of 2015, Gee Hoo attempted to sell DuoDesk’s machines at an
Motion for Appeal/Review of Magistrate Judge Decision
The Court has considered this motion in light of Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 72(a). Under
this rule, a district judge must consider timely objections and modify or set aside any part of a
magistrate judge's order that is clearly erroneous or is contrary to law. The “clearly erroneous” standard
requires that the court affirm the decision of the magistrate judge unless “on the entire evidence [the
court] is left with a definite and firm conviction that a mistake has been committed.” United States v.
United States Gypsum Co., 333 U.S. 364, 395 (1948). Judges for the Eastern District have held that
“[p]ursuant to this highly deferential standard of review, Magistrate Judges are afforded broad
discretion in resolving discovery disputes and reversal is appropriate only if it is determined that the
Magistrate Judge has abused his discretion.” As an example, see Giangrosso v. Certain Underwriters
at Lloyds of London, 1995 WL 115817, at *1 (E.D. La. Mar. 16, 1995).
The Court has considered Gee Hoo’s challenges and finds that Gee Hoo has not met this high
standard. The Court finds that Magistrate Judge Knowles did not abuse his discretion in finding that
sanctions were appropriate due to Gee Hoo’s failure to produce certain documents when requested
during discovery. The Court further finds that the supposed lack of prejudice to DuoDesk from the
belated production of the documents does not render Judge Knowles’ order clearly erroneous or
contrary to law.
Motion in Limine
DuoDesk moves the Court to exclude photographs that were produced after the discovery
deadline. DuoDesk argues that these photographs should have been produced sooner, considering
DuoDesk’s Request for Production No. 1, which sought “all documents which in any way relate or
refer to the subject matter of the Litigation.” (Rec. Doc. 169). The Court agrees with DuoDesk. Because
these responsive photos were not produced until after the discovery deadline, the Court finds that they
should be excluded. See Johnson v. Big Lots Stores, Inc., 253 F.R.D. 381, 388-89 (E.D. La. 2008)
(granting motion to exclude responsive documents that were produced after close of discovery).
DuoDesk also moves the Court to exclude certain evidence that Gee Hoo belatedly produced.
The Court is persuaded that the seemingly intentional withholding of this evidence by Gee Hoo has
prejudiced DuoDesk. The Court therefore finds that the exclusion of this evidence is justified.
Accordingly and for the foregoing reasons;
IT IS ORDERED that Motion to Appeal Magistrate Judge’s Ruling on Motion for
Sanctions (Rec. Doc. 156) is DENIED;
IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that Motion in Limine to Exclude Documents/Testimony
and Preclude Use of Documents by Defendant (Rec. Doc. 157) is GRANTED.
May 4, 2016
JUDGE JAY C. ZAINEY
UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
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