ALJ Bullock Rules On Motion And Cross-Motion To Compel Discovery In Certain Rubber Resins (337-TA-849)
On November 21, 2012, ALJ Charles E. Bullock issued the public version of Order No. 12 (dated November 6, 2012) granting-in-part Respondents’ motion to compel discovery and denying Complainant’s cross motion to compel discovery in Certain Rubber Resins and Processes for Manufacturing Same (Inv. No. 337-TA-849).
As an initial matter, ALJ Bullock reprimanded both Respondents’ and Complainant’s counsel for presenting substantive arguments via e-mail in response to an email sent by ALJ Bullock’s attorney-advisor asking the parties to “advise whether the motion and the issues presented therein remain ripe for resolution.” Specifically, ALJ Bullock stated that “presenting arguments in e-mails to the undersigned’s attorney-adviser is unprofessional, wholly inappropriate, and will not be tolerated.”
According to the Order, Respondents (see our June 22, 2012 post for a complete list of the Respondents) argued that Complainant SI Group, Inc. (“SI Group”) had failed to produce documents and respond to discovery requests. Specifically, Respondents sought the following discovery: 1) “SI Group’s technical records for the production of its SP-1068 tackifier resin in the United States and China form 2004 to present,” 2) “information regarding the development and use of each claimed trade secret,” and 3) “documents from the related Chinese litigation.” The Commission Investigation Staff agreed with Respondents, asserting that all the documents sought by Respondents are relevant to issues in the investigation.
In opposition, SI Group argued that its recent document production and supplemental interrogatory responses satisfied Respondents’ discovery requests. Regarding the documents requested from the related Chinese litigation, SI Group asserted that Respondents already have access to the documents. Further, SI Group argued that, if it is required to produce the requested documents, Respondents are under an obligation to produce similar documents submitted by Respondents in the related Chinese litigation.
ALJ Bullock held that SI Group’s recent document production and supplemental interrogatory responses mooted most of the specific discovery requests argued for by Respondents. ALJ Bullock granted Respondents’ motion with respect to one requested interrogatory relating to SI Group’s production of its SP-1068 resin. Additionally, ALJ Bullock granted Respondents’ motion with respect to the documents requested from the related Chinese litigation. Regarding SI Group’s cross-motion, ALJ Bullock determined that SI Group failed to specify any specific discovery requests and failed to comply with Ground Rule 3.5, relating to the requirements for discovery-related motions. Accordingly, ALJ Bullock granted-in-part Respondents’ motion to compel discovery and denied SI Group’s cross-motion.