United States District Court, D. Utah, Central Division
SNAPRAYS, LLC dba SNAPPOWER, a Utah limited liability company, Plaintiff,
ONTEL PRODUCTS CORPORATION, a New Jersey corporation; and ASHOK “CHUCK” KHUBANI, an individual residing in New Jersey, Defendants.
Waddoups District Judge
MEMORANDUM DECISION AND ORDER
M. WARNER Chief United States Magistrate Judge
Judge Clark Waddoups referred this case to Chief Magistrate
Judge Paul M. Warner pursuant to 28 U.S.C. §
636(b)(1)(A). Before the court is SnapRays, LLC dba
SnapPower's (“Plaintiff”) motion to
compel. 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 DUCivR 7-1(f).
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 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. 37(a)(5)(A).
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.
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.” 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.
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 and proceeding”).
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 meet-and-confer obligations.
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.
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.
summary, IT IS HEREBY ORDERED that Plaintiff s motion to
compel is GRANTED IN PART and DENIED IN PART, as detailed