H-D USA LLC et al v. Affliction Holdings LLC
ORDER signed by Judge Pamela Pepper on 7/11/2019. Parties to limit scope of discovery on jurisdiction to period beginning 1/1/2014 and continuing thru date plaintiff filed complaint. (cc: all counsel)(cb)
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
EASTERN DISTRICT OF WISCONSIN
H-D USA LLC, and
HARLEY-DAVIDSON MOTOR COMPANY GROUP LLC,
Case No. 17-cv-1776-pp
AFFLICTION HOLDINGS LLC,
ORDER REGARDING DISCOVERY
On July 3, 2019, the parties contacted the court to discuss a dispute
that had arisen as they were conducting discovery into the defendant’s
contacts with the forum. The parties reported that the defendant had limited
its responses to the plaintiff’s jurisdictional interrogatories to the three-year
period preceding the filing of the complaint, arguing that contacts beyond the
statute of limitations were not relevant. The plaintiffs argued that it would be
more efficient for the defendant to provide information about contacts from the
time the defendant began selling the allegedly infringing product in Wisconsin
through the present (post-complaint) to allow the plaintiffs to determine when,
if ever, the facts supported the exercise of personal jurisdiction.
The complaint does not describe the period during which the plaintiffs
believe the infringing activity occurred. At the July 3 hearing, the plaintiffs
stated that the defendant was relying on Skidmore v. Led Zeppelin, et al, Case
No. 14-3089 (E.D. Pa. 2014) at dkt. no. 54, to support its argument that it
should not have to provide discovery beyond the limitations period. In
Skidmore, the district court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania ruled that
the defendant’s contacts with the State of Pennsylvania seventeen years earlier
were not sufficient to establish general or specific jurisdiction. Id. at 8. The
Skidmore case offers little guidance for this court aside from the fact that the
Skidmore court started with the three-year limitations period when examining
the sufficiency of the contacts. Id. at 8-9. Neither party has cited any other
facts or legal authority.
During the hearing, the defendant offered to produce documents dating
back to the beginning of 2014—presumably, January 1, 2014. The court finds
that offer a reasonable starting point. The court will require the defendant to
provide discovery covering the period from January 1, 2014 through the date
the plaintiff filed the complaint. In addition, the plaintiffs may ask the
defendant—whether through an interrogatory, a request for admission or a
question at a deposition—when it started selling the allegedly infringing
products in Wisconsin. If the information the plaintiff receives through this
discovery leads the plaintiffs to believe that the defendant had significant
contacts with Wisconsin before January 1, 2014, the plaintiffs may ask the
court to expand the scope of the jurisdictional discovery.
The court ORDERS that the parties shall limit the scope of discovery on
jurisdiction to the period beginning with January 1, 2014 and continuing
through the date on which the plaintiff filed the complaint.
Dated in Milwaukee, Wisconsin this 11th day of July, 2019.
BY THE COURT:
HON. PAMELA PEPPER
United States District Judge
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