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Burningham v. Wright Medical Group, Inc.

United States District Court, D. Utah, Central Division

May 22, 2019

DALE BURNINGHAM and LANA BURNINGHAM, Plaintiffs,
v.
WRIGHT MEDICAL GROUP, INC. and WRIGHT MEDICAL TECHNOLOGY, INC., Defendants.

          District Judge Jill N. Parrish

          MEMORANDUM DECISION AND ORDER

          PAUL M. WARNER, Chief United States Magistrate Judge

         District Judge Jill N. Parrish referred this case to Chief Magistrate Judge Paul M. Warner pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1)(A).[1] Before the court are Defendants Wright Medical Group, Inc. and Wright Medical Technology, Inc.'s (collectively, “Defendants”) short form discovery motion, [2] and Plaintiffs Dale Burningham and Lana Burningham's (collectively, “Plaintiffs”) two short form discovery motions.[3] 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 decide the motions on the basis of the written memoranda. See DUCivR 7-1(f).

         LEGAL STANDARDS

         Before addressing the above-referenced motions, the court sets forth the following general legal standards governing discovery. Rule 26(b)(1) provides:

Parties may obtain discovery regarding any nonprivileged matter that is relevant to any party's claim or defense and proportional to the needs of the case, considering the importance of the issues at stake in the action, the amount in controversy, the parties' relative access to relevant information, the parties' resources, the importance of the discovery in resolving the issues, and whether the burden or expense of the proposed discovery outweighs its likely benefit. Information within this scope of discovery need not be admissible in evidence to be discoverable.

Fed. R. Civ. P. 26(b)(1). “The district court has broad discretion over the control of discovery, and [the Tenth Circuit] will not set aside discovery rulings absent an abuse of that discretion.” Sec. & Exch. Comm'n v. Merrill Scott & Assocs., Ltd., 600 F.3d 1262, 1271 (10th Cir. 2010)

         (quotations and citations omitted).

         ANALYSIS

         I. Defendants' Short Form Discovery Motion

         Defendants seek a protective order forbidding the discovery sought in Plaintiffs' subpoena to a third party, MicroPort Orthopedics, Inc. (“MicroPort”). Defendants contend that MicroPort acquired Defendant Wright Medical Technology, Inc.'s (“WMT”) OrthoRecon division in January 2014, which included the product lines of the components Plaintiff received. Defendants also contend that MicroPort's acquisition post-dates all of Plaintiffs' allegations in this case and that MicroPort's conduct is not implicated in this action. For those reasons, Defendants contend that the discovery sought by Plaintiffs' third-party subpoena to MicroPort is not relevant and disproportionate.

         In response, Plaintiffs argue that the discovery they seek is relevant and generally admissible. Plaintiffs also contend that Defendants have produced similar discovery in other matters but have refused to produce the same discovery in this action.

         For the following reasons, the court agrees with Defendants' arguments and concludes that Plaintiffs' arguments are without merit. First, the court has determined that Plaintiffs' allegations concerning Defendants' production of similar information in other matters are entirely unpersuasive. Whether Defendants have or have not produced similar information in other matters has no bearing on the court's determination about whether Defendants should produce the discovery sought by Plaintiffs in this action. Instead, the court must focus on the claims and defenses in this action when determining relevance for purposes of discovery.

         Second, Plaintiffs, through their third-party subpoena to MicroPort, are attempting to obtain information about conduct that is not implicated in this action and that post-dates any of Plaintiffs' allegations. The court concludes that such information is neither proportional to the needs of this ...


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