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Medtronic Minimed Inc. v. Animas Corporation

United States District Court, Ninth Circuit

June 25, 2013

Medtronic Minimed Inc.; Medtronic Puerto Rico Operations Co.; Minimed Distribution Corp., Plaintiffs,
Animas Corporation, Defendant.


RONALD S.W. LEW, Senior District Judge.

Currently before the Court is Defendant Animas Corporation's ("Defendant") Motion to Bifurcate Liability and Damages [32]. The Court, having reviewed all papers and arguments submitted pertaining to this Motion, NOW FINDS AND RULES AS FOLLOWS: The Court DENIES Defendant's Motion.


This Motion stems from an Action filed by Plaintiffs Medtronic Minimed Inc., Medtronic Puerto Rico Operations Co., and Minimed Distribution Corp. (collectively "Plaintiffs") against Defendant for infringement of nine patents involving infusion pumps for the treatment of diabetes. Defendant currently moves to bifurcate liability from damages and to stay damages discovery until liability has been determined at trial [32].


Pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 42(b), a court may order a separate trial of one or more separate issues for the sake of "convenience, to avoid prejudice, or to expedite and economize." The moving party carries the burden of proving that bifurcation is warranted in a particular case, GEM Acquisitionco, LLC v. Sorenson Grp. Holdings, LLC, No. C 09-01484 SI, 2010 WL 1729400, at *2 (N.D. Cal. Apr. 27, 2010). In determining whether bifurcation is warranted, courts look to whether bifurcation will promote "efficient judicial administration, " Pinal Creek Grp. v. Newmont Mining Corp., 218 F.R.D. 652, 654 (D. Ariz. 2003) (citing Stoddard v. Ling-Temco-Vought, Inc. , 513 F.Supp. 314, 327 (C.D. Cal. 1980)), considering such factors as convenience, prejudice to the parties, simplification of discovery and conservation of resources, risk of jury confusion, and separability of the issues. See Information Techs., Inc. v. Research in Motion Ltd., No. C 08-04990 JW, 2012 WL 1142537, at *1 (N.D. Cal. March 29, 2012); Schwarzer, Tashima & Wagstaffe, Federal Civil Procedure Before Trial § 16:160.4 (2012). "Bifurcation is particularly appropriate when resolution of a claim or issue might dispose of the entire case." Renfrow v. Redwood Fire & Cas. Ins. Co., 288 F.R.D. 514, 523 (D. Nev. 2013). In light of such considerations, a court has "discretion to subdivide the case in whatever manner seems dictated by the circumstances." Rivera v. Nibco, Inc., No. CIV-F-99-6443 AWISMS, 2006 WL 845925, at *5 (E.D. Cal. Mar. 31, 2006) (quoting Wright & Miller, 9 Federal Practice and Procedure § 2389 (2d ed. 1995)).


The Federal Rules of Civil Procedure give district courts broad discretion in deciding whether to bifurcate a trial. Zivkovic v. S. Cal. Edison Co. , 302 F.3d 1080, 1088 (9th Cir. 2002) (citing Fed.R.Civ.P. 42(b)). In determining whether bifurcation of damages is appropriate, the Court keeps in mind that bifurcation "is the exception rather than the rule of normal trial procedure" within the Ninth Circuit. Clark v. I.R.S. , 772 F.Supp.2d 1265, 1269 (D. Haw. 2009) (citing Hangarter v. Provident Life & Accident Ins. Co. , 373 F.3d 998, 1021 (9th Cir. 2004)). As noted by Plaintiffs, bifurcation of a trial generally depends on the actual issues that will be tried. See Opp'n 15:14. Given that the Parties are in the middle of discovery, the final pretrial conference is one year away, and the full scope of triable claims and defenses has yet to be determined, the Court finds that bifurcating trial at this stage of litigation would be premature. Accordingly, the Court DENIES Defendant's current requests for the Court to bifurcate damages and stay damages discovery.


Based on the foregoing analysis, the Court DENIES Defendant's Motion to Bifurcate Liability and Damages. This Order does not preclude Defendant from raising anew its request for bifurcation of damages at a more timely point in the future. See L.R. 16-4.3.


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