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Mga Entertainment, Inc., A California Corporation; the Little Tikes v. National Products Ltd.

January 23, 2012

MGA ENTERTAINMENT, INC., A CALIFORNIA CORPORATION; THE LITTLE TIKES COMPANY, INC., AN OHIO CORPORATION, PLAINTIFFS,
v.
NATIONAL PRODUCTS LTD., A HONG KONG CORPORATION; PLAYMIND LTD., A HONG KONG CORPORATION; THE PLAYMIND GROUP, A HONG KONG CORPORATION; AND DOES 1 THROUGH 10, INCLUSIVE, DEFENDANTS.



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

MEMORANDUM AND ORDER GRANTING FEES IN THE AMOUNT OF $3,240.00 TO PLAINTIFF MGA ENTERTAINMENT IN CONNECTION WITH ORDER GRANTING MOTION FOR PARTIAL RECONSIDERATION OF OCTOBER 3, 2011 DISCOVERY ORDER AND COMPELLING PRODUCTION OF CONTRACTS OR AGREEMENTS, ETC. (Docket Nos. 205, 231)

I. INTRODUCTION

On October 3, 2011, the Court denied Plaintiff MGA Entertainment, Inc. and the Little Tikes Company, Inc.'s ("Plaintiffs") Motion to Compel Further Responses to Written Discovery and Production of Documents. (MTC Order, Dkt. No. 92). In the original Motion to Compel, Plaintiffs sought, in part, an order compelling production of documents responsive to Requests for Production Nos. 36-38, which called for "any contract or agreement" between Defendants and third parties relating to Plaintiffs' "Little Tikes"-branded merchandise and Defendant National Products' "Talking Train"-branded merchandise. (MTC, Dkt. No. 69, at 19).

The Court denied the Motion to Compel with respect to these Requests because Defendants' counsel expressly represented to the Court that no such written agreements existed. (MTC Order at 3). Counsel made this representation after the Court specifically questioned Defendants on this issue:

The Court: So, Mr. Haney, why no contracts produced?

Mr. Haney: Because we didn't have any written contracts with our distributors during the relevant time frame.

The Court: You're telling me that National Products never entered into a written contract with anybody about the sales of their products?

Mr. Haney: Verbal.

The Court: Really?

Mr. Haney: Yes, ma'am. That's the truth.

(Sept. 27, 2011 Hearing Transcript, Dkt. No. 103, at 66-67).

On December 16, 2011, Plaintiffs moved for partial reconsideration of the October 3, 2011 Order. Plaintiffs, relying on third-party discovery and the deposition testimony of Defendants' U.S. Sales Representative, persuasively demonstrated that National Products did, in fact, enter into written agreements as the Court had suspected. (MFR, Dkt. No. 205, at 2-4). After briefing and a hearing on the Motion for Reconsideration, the Court issued an Order on December 29, 2011 granting the motion. (MFR Order, Dkt. No. 231). A copy of that Order is attached.

Because the Court granted Plaintiffs' motion and found a lack of substantial justification for Defendants' opposition, the Court concluded that sanctions were warranted pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 37(a). (Id. at 19-24). Rule 37(a) provides that if a discovery motion is granted, the Court must order the party opposing the motion, absent substantial justification, to pay the prevailing party's reasonable expenses incurred in bringing the motion. Fed. R. Civ. P. 37(a)(5)(A). The Court ordered Plaintiffs to submit a declaration clarifying the amount of sanctions requested and provided Defendants an opportunity to file a response contesting the amount requested. (MFR Order at 24).

On January 8, 2012, Plaintiffs filed the Declaration of Robert M. Collins, including exhibits, in support of a demand for $6,237.00 in connection with the Court's December 29, 2011 Order. (Collins Decl. 1, Dkt. No. 251). On January 11, 2012, Plaintiffs filed a Supplemental Declaration of Robert M. Collins, including exhibits, with further ...


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