Snaprays v. Ontel Products Corporation et al
MEMORANDUM DECISION AND ORDER-granting in part and denying in part 91 Motion to Expedite. See Order for details. Signed by Magistrate Judge Paul M. Warner on 9/14/17. (jmr)
IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT FOR THE DISTRICT OF UTAH
SNAPRAYS, LLC dba SNAPPOWER, a
Utah limited liability company,
Case No. 2:16-cv-01198-CW-PMW
ONTEL PRODUCTS CORPORATION, a
New Jersey corporation; and ASHOK
“CHUCK” KHUBANI, an individual
residing in New Jersey,
District Judge Clark Waddoups
Chief Magistrate Judge Paul M. Warner
District Judge Clark Waddoups referred this case to Chief Magistrate Judge Paul M.
Warner pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1)(A). 1 Before the court is SnapRays, LLC dba
SnapPower’s (“Plaintiff”) motion to compel. 2 The court has carefully reviewed the written
memoranda submitted by the parties. Pursuant to civil rule 7-1(f) of the Rules of Practice for the
United States District Court for the District of Utah, the court has concluded that oral argument is
not necessary and will determine the motion on the basis of the written memoranda. See
On July 26, 2017, Plaintiff served Ontel Products Corporation and Ashok Khubani
(collectively, “Defendants”) with Plaintiff’s first set of requests for production and first set of
See docket no. 88.
See docket no. 91.
interrogatories, which contain ninety-five (95) requests for production and fifteen (15)
interrogatories. Defendants have refused to respond substantively to those discovery requests.
Defendants argue that discovery at this stage of the case is limited to claim construction issues
and, consequently, Plaintiff’s discovery requests, which Defendants claim are directed at issues
other than claim construction, are premature. As a result of the parties’ dispute on this issue,
Plaintiff filed the motion before the court, in which it seeks compelled responses to its first set of
requests for production and first set of interrogatories from Defendants, as well as an award of
reasonable expenses incurred in connection with the instant motion. See Fed. R. Civ. P.
In support of its motion, Plaintiff argues that there is nothing in the applicable rules or the
court’s scheduling order that limits discovery to claim construction issues or in some way phases
discovery. Accordingly, Plaintiff argues, it is entitled to conduct discovery relating to all claims
and defenses. In response, Defendants reiterate their argument that Plaintiff’s discovery requests
are premature because, according to Defendants, the parties are in a period of limited discovery
related to claim construction issues only. In short, the parties disagree upon the effect of the
current scheduling order as it relates to phasing discovery into an initial period of claim
construction discovery, with other discovery to follow.
The court concludes that phased discovery was contemplated by the current scheduling
order. Importantly, the scheduling order specifically sets forth deadlines for discovery “before
claim construction.” 3 In the court’s view, there would be no utility in setting such deadlines if
discovery leading up to those deadlines was not limited to claim construction.
Docket no. 87 at 3.
Furthermore, the court concludes that phased discovery is entirely appropriate in this
case. Although the court expresses no opinion on the ultimate outcome of claim construction,
the court’s claim construction decision has the potential of narrowing the issues and claims
involved in this case. Accordingly, it makes inherent sense for claim construction discovery to
take place prior to the parties engaging in other discovery. Once the court renders its claim
construction decision, the parties will then be able to focus their discovery efforts more
appropriately. This approach will not only provide for an economical use of the parties’
resources, but will also serve the general purpose of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure. See
Fed. R. Civ. P. 1 (providing that the rules “should be construed, administered, and employed by
the court and the parties to secure the just, speedy, and inexpensive determination of every action
For those reasons, the court concludes that any discovery not related to claim
construction is stayed pending the court’s claim construction decision. Accordingly, Plaintiff’s
motion to compel is granted in part and denied in part. To the extent that Plaintiff’s discovery
requests seek information not related to claim construction, Defendants are under no obligation,
at this time, to respond to those discovery requests. On the other hand, for any of Plaintiff’s
discovery requests that seek information related to claim construction, Defendants are hereby
ordered to respond to those requests within fourteen (14) days of the date of this order. Because
the parties did not brief the issue of which of Plaintiff’s discovery requests, if any, relate to claim
construction, the court will not render an opinion on that issue at this time. Instead, any disputes
about whether certain discovery requests are in fact related to claim construction should be
brought before the court by way of appropriate motion after the parties have satisfied their
After the court has rendered its claim construction decision, the parties are directed to
attempt to agree upon a new scheduling order that addresses any necessary remaining deadlines.
If the parties are able to agree, they are directed to submit a stipulated motion for entry of their
proposed scheduling order. If the parties are unable to agree, either party may bring the issue of
scheduling to the court by way of an appropriate motion. In either case, a motion related to
scheduling must be filed within fourteen (14) days of the court’s claim construction decision.
As a final matter, the court addresses Plaintiff’s request for an award of reasonable
expenses incurred in connection with its motion to compel. Given that the court has agreed with
Defendants’ position, the court concludes that it was substantially justified. See Fed. R. Civ. P.
37(a)(5)(A)(ii). Accordingly, Plaintiff’s request is denied. See id.
In summary, IT IS HEREBY ORDERED that Plaintiff’s motion to compel 4 is
GRANTED IN PART and DENIED IN PART, as detailed above.
IT IS SO ORDERED.
DATED this 14th day of September, 2017.
BY THE COURT:
PAUL M. WARNER
Chief United States Magistrate Judge
See docket no. 91.
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