By Eric Schweibenz
On July 26, 2011, Chief ALJ Paul J. Luckern issued the public version of Order No. 5 (dated March 30, 2011) in Certain Handbags, Luggage, Accessories, and Packaging Thereof (Inv. No. 337-TA-754).  In the Order, ALJ Luckern granted Complainants Louis Vuitton Malletier S.A. and Louis Vuitton U.S. Manufacturing, Inc.’s (collectively, “Louis Vuitton”) motion to compel Meada Corporation d/b/a/ Diophy International (“Meada”), Pacpro, Inc. (“Papcro”), and Alice Wang (collectively, “Respondents”) to produce documents and provide information. 

Specifically, Louis Vuitton sought to compel the production of documentation and information relating to Respondents’ dissolved businesses Diophy Int’l Trading USA, Inc. (“Diophy”) and T&T Handbag Co. (“T&T”); the manufacturing and importation of the accused products; the corporate organization of Pacpro, Meada, T&T, and Diophy; marketing of the accused products; sales records and customer information relating to the accused products; and financial information, such as annual reports, required financial filings, tax returns, and W-2 forms.  Louis Vuitton asserted that Respondents had only produced 140 pages of documents and suggested in deposition that they had done little to gather information and produce documents. 

Respondents opposed the motion, arguing that with the exception of Ms. Wang’s personal tax returns, they had produced all responsive documents.  As to Ms. Wang’s tax returns, Respondents asserted that Louis Vuitton had not shown such returns were relevant and that information regarding the companies from which Ms. Wang received earnings could be obtained from other documentation.  Respondents added that Ms. Wang was concerned that the protective order would not fully protect her interests.

The Commission Investigative Staff argued in support of the motion and, more particularly, that the requested documents and information were relevant.

In granting the motion, ALJ Luckern noted inconsistencies in Respondents’ arguments relating to discovery responses.  First, the ALJ observed that, with the exception of Ms. Wang’s tax returns, Respondents asserted they had produced all responsive documents and that they had searched the computers of all Meada employees.  However, Respondents had previously admitted that the hard drives of the four computers used at Meada had not been searched and had argued that it would be expensive and burdensome to require their inspection.  In addition, the ALJ noted that Respondents had admitted that the search for e-mails had been limited to a term search using only two terms, the product code and the accused model designation.  The ALJ also noted that Meada responded to certain of Louis Vuitton’s requests for production by stating that it did not “have” responsive documents in its possession, but did not explain what it meant by not having the documents or why it limited its search to documents in its possession rather than in its possession, custody, or control.

Accordingly, the ALJ granted Louis Vuitton’s motion to compel, ordering Respondents to search for and produce documents in their possession, custody, and control regardless of geographic location and including documents from Diophy, T&T, and any of Meada or Pacpro’s predecessor or successor companies.  The ALJ further determined that the search should include the four hard drives at Meada and any other electronic files and e-mail.  ALJ Luckern also ordered Respondents to supplement their responses to interrogatories and requests for production as necessary and submit an affidavit to the ALJ detailing their document collection efforts, including an identification of all electronic media searched and the terms/methodologies used.  The ALJ also ordered that Ms. Wang’s personal financial documents be produced.