Indiana Patent Law: Request to Limit Discovery Denied but Judge Orders Reimbursement if Certain Discovered Evidence is Largely Duplicative
Indianapolis, Indiana - Magistrate Judge Mark Dinsmore of the Southern District of Indiana denied Defendants' motion to limit discovery in the patent infringement litigation between Knauf Insulation, LLC et al. and Johns Manville Corp. et al. Judge Dinsmore also recently denied Defendants' motion to bifurcate the trial.
This federal litigation alleges infringement of U.S. Patents Nos. 8,114,210; 8,940,089; D631,670; 9,039,827 and 9,040,652, which Plaintiffs Knauf Insulation, LLC, Knauf Insulation GmbH and Knauf Insulation SPRL contend were infringed by Defendants Johns Manville Corporation and Johns Manville, Inc.
This court order addresses Defendants' motion, filed by patent attorneys for Defendants, for limitations on electronic discovery. Specifically, Defendants asked the court to implement a date cutoff of January 1, 2007 for all electronically stored discovery and to limit the number of e-mail custodians from which Defendants must produce e-mail. Defendants asserted that these restrictions would reduce its discovery-related expenses by approximately $49,400.
The request to limit the time was denied. The court noted that there was a high likelihood that relevant evidence that was not available from any other source would be found in Defendants' materials prior to 2007. Further, the cost of obtaining that evidence was not excessive in light of the amount in controversy in the litigation. Consequently, the court held that Defendants had not met their burden of showing that the cost of the proposed discovery to Defendants outweighed the benefit to Plaintiffs.
Defendants also requested that the court limit electronic discovery to 10 of Defendants' 38 e-mail custodians. Patent lawyers for Defendants argued that such a limitation would result in a savings of $18,000 and would also facilitate the predictive coding process.
The court was again unpersuaded. It noted that, while discovery couldn't guarantee that 100% of responsive material would be produced, eliminating material held by 28 of Defendants' 38 e-mail custodians from the scope of discovery would "guarantee a zero percent recall for the 28 custodians not chosen." After asking itself the question, "how many relevant responsive documents are too many to voluntarily walk away from?," the court concluded that it had insufficient evidence to weight the benefit of the e-mails that would be produced as a result of including the 28 custodians that Defendants proposed be omitted from discovery. Moreover, it opined that in high-value litigation such as this lawsuit, the burden of the additional $18,000 expense does not outweigh the potential benefit to Knauf of receiving those emails.
The court ordered Defendants to produce discovery from all 38 e-mail custodians but also ordered that, should the search of the additional 28 custodians yield fewer than 500 responsive documents, Plaintiffs must reimburse Defendants $18,000 for the cost of loading the additional data from those 28 e-mail custodians.