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City of Colton v. American Promotional Events

June 7, 2011

CITY OF COLTON, PLAINTIFF,
v.
AMERICAN PROMOTIONAL EVENTS, INC., ET AL., DEFENDANTS.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Suzanne H. Segal United States Magistrate Judge

AND RELATED CONSOLIDATED ACTIONS

MEMORANDUM AND ORDER DENYING PLAINTIFF UNITED STATES OF AMERICA'S MOTION FOR REVIEW OF SPECIAL MASTER'S REPORT

I.

INTRODUCTION

On March 11, 2011, the Honorable Venetta S. Tassopoulos (Ret.), in accordance with her designation as the Special Master in the above-captioned matter (see Dkt. No. 278), conducted a hearing to resolve certain discovery disputes. (See Report of Special Master*fn1 at 2). One such dispute involved Plaintiff United States of America (the "United States") and Defendant Goodrich Corporation ("Goodrich"). The dispute involved Goodrich's request for production of documents and privilege logs from the United States. (Id.). At the hearing, the Special Master set a production schedule for the United States as a resolution of the dispute before her. Neither party requested that the Special Master memorialize her ruling in a written order.

The Special Master set a detailed schedule for the United States. (Id. at 5). The schedule required the United States to produce documents on a rolling basis in batches of 25,000 documents every week, with corresponding privilege logs to follow within ten days of each production. (Id.).

On March 22, 2011, the United States filed a motion for reconsideration with the Special Master, seeking reconsideration of the schedule. (Id. at 6). In its motion, the United States requested clarification concerning the number and type of documents required to be produced at each stage of the process. (Id.). The Special Master, in a written report, granted the motion for reconsideration in part, and explained that "the total number of documents for each production should be the sum of all documents actually produced, all documents listed on the corresponding privilege log, and all documents processed, reviewed and found to be non-responsive to any request." (Id. at 7).

On April 11, 2011, the United States filed the instant motion with this Court for review of the Special Master's order granting the motion for reconsideration in part. (Dkt. No. 646, Plaintiff United States' Motion For De Novo Review ("Motion for Review") at 1-2). In the Motion for Review, the United States objects to the Special Master's order on three grounds:

(1) The Order erroneously compelled the production of documents because there was no motion to compel production before the Special Master;

(2) The Special Master's Order ignores the terms of the Court's Case Management Order; and

(3) The schedule is unduly burdensome.

(Id. at 2).

At the Court's May 31, 2011 hearing on the Motion for Review, counsel for the United States clarified this objection to the Special Master's order, arguing that the order compelled the United States to produce a privilege log that it was specifically not required to produce under the terms of the operative Case Management Order ("CMO").*fn2 The United States also contended that, because the Special Master did not provide the United States the opportunity to object on that ground, failure to produce either documents or the log according to the schedule would unfairly expose the United States to sanctions.

The United States seeks an order vacating the Special Master's order on the grounds that the order exceeds the Special Master's authority and that the order conflicts with the CMO. The United States also seeks relief from the Special Master's schedule for production of documents and logs on the ground that the schedule is unduly burdensome. The Court has conducted a de novo review ...


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