On June 2, 2011, ALJ Robert K. Rogers, Jr. issued Order No. 16 in Certain Starter Motors and Alternators (Inv. No. 337-TA-755).  In the Order, ALJ Rogers denied Complainant Remy International, Inc.’s (“Remy”) motion to compel Respondent Wetherill Associates, Inc. d/b/a WAI Global (“WAI”) to answer requests for admission, and follow-on interrogatories and requests for documents related to WAI’s non-infringement positions.

According to the Order, Remy asserted that WAI improperly refused to respond to the requested discovery, and that during an April 7, 2011 Discovery Committee meeting, it requested WAI to retract its objections and provide substantive responses.  Remy stated it renewed its request on April 11, and that WAI renewed its objection on April 15, and in its belief that Remy exhausted all attempts to resolve the issue, it informed WAI’s counsel that Remy would file this motion to compel, which it proceeded to do on May 2, 2011.

WAI opposed on substantive grounds, arguing that Remy’s discovery related to “old products that are no longer imported or sold,” and the requested discovery therefore had no relevance to the Investigation or the remedies the ITC could impose.  WAI also opposed on procedural grounds that Remy (i) did not engage in intensive good faith efforts to resolve the dispute; (ii) failed to provide two days notice to WAI or the remaining parties of the Investigation; (iii) failed to include a required certification of compliance per Ground Rule 3.2; (iv) failed to state the positions of the parties; and (v) prematurely filed its motion before the Discovery Committee reached an impasse in resolving this discovery dispute.

ALJ Rogers denied Remy’s motion solely on procedural grounds and therefore determined it unnecessary to address the parties’ substantive arguments.  ALJ Rogers first determined that Remy violated Ground Rule 3.5, which requires parties to make “intensive good faith efforts” to resolve discovery disputes without judicial intervention, when during the April 7, 2011 Discovery Committee meeting, and through subsequent correspondence Remy simply requested WAI to retract its objections and provide substantive responses to the discovery requests.  ALJ Rogers determined that Remy summarily rejected, and did not sufficiently discuss or consider a proposal by WAI to resolve the dispute through a mutually agreeable stipulation and consent order that WAI offered to prepare.  ALJ Rogers further determined that Remy violated Ground Rule 3.2, which requires motions to include a certification that at least two days prior to filing, all parties were notified of the movant’s intention to file the motion, and that if known, the positions of the other parties on the motion should be stated.  Although ALJ Rogers determined that Remy provided requisite notice to WAI, Remy failed to include the required certification and failed to demonstrate that all other parties received the required notice.  Finally, ALJ Rogers determined Remy violated Ground Rule 4.1.1, which prohibits filing a motion to compel discovery unless the matter has been raised with the Discovery Committee, and the committee reached an impasse.  ALJ Rogers determined that Remy provided insufficient evidence that any such impasse was reached, particularly in light of the possible resolution of the matter through a stipulation and consent order.