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J&M Industries, Inc. v. Raven Industries, Inc.

United States District Court, D. Kansas

February 20, 2018

J&M INDUSTRIES, INC., Plaintiff,
v.
RAVEN INDUSTRIES, INC. Defendant.

          ORDER ON MOTION TO COMPEL

          HON. KENNETH G. GALE U.S. MAGISTRATE JUDGE

         Now before the Court is Plaintiff's Motion to Compel. (Doc. 100.) Having reviewed the submissions of the parties, Plaintiff's motion (Doc. 100) is GRANTED in part.

         FACTS

         This is a patent infringement case brought pursuant to 35 U.S.C. § 271, et seq. The parties are competitors in the grain storage cover industry. The present motion relates to Defendant's responses to certain of Plaintiff's discovery requests. Although the responses were supplemented subsequent to the filing of the present motion, several issues remain.

         ANALYSIS

         I. Legal Standards.

         Fed.R.Civ.P. 26(b) states that

[p]arties 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 state 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.

         As such, the requested information must be nonprivileged, relevant, and proportional to the needs of the case to be discoverable. “Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 26(c) confers broad discretion on the trial court to decide when a protective order is appropriate and what degree of protection is required.” Layne Christensen Co. v. Purolite Co., 271 F.R.D. 240, 244 (D. Kan. 2010) (quoting Seattle Times Co. v. Rhinehart, 467 U.S. 20, 36 (1984)).

         II. Plaintiff's Motion to Compel (Doc. 100).

         Plaintiff moves the Court for an order compelling Defendant to “provide full and complete answers and responses” to several interrogatories. (Doc. 101, at 1.) Plaintiff contends the discovery requests relate to “the acts of infringement by [Defendant], [Plaintiff's] entitlement to pre-patent issuance damages and [Defendant's] assertions regarding its conduct and defenses.” (Id., at 2.) Plaintiff argues that Defendant's responses are “deficient.” (Id.) Plaintiff also seeks his costs, including attorneys' fees relating to the dispute and motion. The Court will address the interrogatories in turn.

         A. Interrogatory No. 1.

         Interrogatory No. 1 seeks certain information relating to “each and every time that [Defendant] has Provided an Internal Strapping System since August 2013 . . . .” (Doc. 101-2, at 2.) At issue are subsections (f)-(i),

f. whether or not Raven provided, whether itself or by contractors of Raven, installation services for each Event and the name of the person who ...

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