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Yeoman v. Ikea U.S. West, Inc.

United States District Court, Ninth Circuit

October 22, 2013

REID YEOMAN and RITA MEDELLIN, on behalf of themselves and all others similarly situated Plaintiffs,
v.
IKEA U.S. WEST, INC.; DOES 1-50, inclusive, Defendants.

ORDER

WILLIAM Q. HAYES, District Judge.

The matters before the Court are Plaintiffs' Objections to the Magistrate Judge's Order Granting in Part and Denying in Part Plaintiffs' Motion to Reopen Discovery and Extend Expert Deadlines. (ECF No. 114).

I. Background

On November 8, 2011, Plaintiffs filed the First Amended Class Action Complaint, which is the operative pleading. (ECF No. 25). Plaintiffs allege that they purchased items from an Ikea store using a credit card, and that, "[d]uring the credit card transaction, the cashier asked plaintiff[s] for [plaintiffs'] ZIP code.... [B]elieving [plaintiffs were] required to provide the requested information to complete the transaction, [plaintiffs] provided it." Id. at 3. Plaintiffs allege that Defendant has a uniform policy of requesting and recording ZIP codes from customers during credit card transactions, in violation of California's Song-Beverly Credit Card Act of 1971.[1] Id. at 2.

On July 10, 2012, the parties filed a Joint Motion to Continue Existing Deadlines to Complete Fact Discovery and to Exchange Expert Witness Disclosures (ECF No. 48) The Magistrate Judge found good cause to extend discovery solely to take an additional 30(b)(6) witness deposition, but did not find good cause to otherwise extend the fact or expert discovery deadlines. (ECF No. 50). The deadline to exchange expert reports remained set for September 17, 2012, and the deadline to exchange expert reports remained set for October 19, 2012. (ECF Nos. 42, 50).

On September 7, 2012, Defendant filed a Motion to Decertify the Class pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 23(c). (ECF No. 51). Defendant included a declaration from John Robinson, Treasurer for Ikea North America, in support of its motion to decertify the class. (Robinson Decl., ECF No. 51-7). In his declaration, Robinson stated that, "Visa-branded and MasterCard-branded Signature Debit Cards appear in Ikea's transaction logs as VISA' and MC' transactions, " rather than as DEBT' for a debit card transaction. Id. at ¶¶ 6-7. "It cannot be ascertained from any of Ikea's data or records (including transaction logs, transaction receipts, or any other data available to Ikea), whether a transaction in the transaction log listing the tender type as MC' or VISA' was a credit card transaction or was a signature debit card transaction.'" Id. at ¶ 9. Robinson stated that from February 1, 2010 to the present, customers dictate whether their purchases using signature debit cards are processed as a traditional debit transaction requiring a PIN, or as a credit transaction requiring a signature. Id. at ¶¶ 10-11. Robinson also stated that, "Ikea has never kept a record of the customers' responses to this prompt, and their responses cannot be ascertained from the transaction logs or any other of Ikea's data or records." Id. at ¶ 11.

On February 27, 2013, the Court denied Defendant's motion to decertify the class. (ECF No. 93). The Court's Order modified the class definition to:

[A]ll persons from whom Ikea requested and recorded a ZIP Code in conjunction with a credit card transaction in California from February 16, 2010 through February 28, 2011 (the Class'). Excluded from the Class are (i) transactions wherein personal information was required for a special purpose incidental but related to the individual credit card transaction, including, but not limited to, information relating to shipping, delivery, servicing, or installation of the purchased merchandise, or for special orders; (ii) transactions wherein a credit card issued to a business was used; and (iii) transactions executed at self-checkout kiosks. Id.

On April 26, 2013, Plaintiffs filed a Motion to Reopen Discovery for a Limited Purpose and to Extend Expert Deadlines for a Limited Purpose ("Motion to Reopen"). (ECF No. 100). Specifically, Plaintiffs moved to reopen discovery for Plaintiffs to "gain access to and review [Defendant's] transaction logs, databases, and records with respect to its credit card transactions and its customers' information collected from February 16, 2010 through February 28, 2011." (ECF No. 100-1 at 3). In addition, Plaintiffs moved to extend expert discovery so that they may retain an additional expert consultant. Id. Finally, Plaintiffs moved to extend expert discovery so that they may take depositions of eight witnesses Defendant disclosed in August, 2012, as well as complete the deposition of Dr. Dennis H. Tootelian, which was cut short due to Dr. Tootelian's illness. Id. Defendant did not oppose the taking of Dr. Tootelian's deposition, but did oppose Plaintiffs' requests to reopen discovery and extend time to take the other expert witness depositions. ( See Opp'n, ECF No. 102). On July 10, 2013, the Magistrate Judge issued an Order Granting in Part and Denying in Part Plaintiffs' Motion to Reopen Discovery and Extend Expert Deadlines. (ECF No. 114). On July 23, 2013, Plaintiffs filed objections to the Order. (ECF No. 116). On August 12, 2013, Defendant filed a Response to Plantiffs' Objections. (ECF No. 118). On August 19, 2013, Plaintiffs filed a Reply in support of their Objections. (ECF No. 119). On September 9, 2013, Plaintiffs filed a Notice of Supplemental Evidence in support of their Objections. (ECF No. 120). On September 23, 2013, Defendant filed a Response to Plaintiffs' Notice of Supplemental Evidence. (ECF No. 121).

II. Discussion

Pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1)(A), this Court reviews the Magistrate Judge's Order under a "clearly erroneous or contrary to law" standard. See Rockwell Int'l, Inc. v. Pos-A-Traction Indus., Inc., 712 F.2d 1324, 1325 (9th Cir. 1983) ("Where a magistrate is designated to hear a discovery motion, [a] judge of the court may reconsider any pretrial matter... where it has been shown that the magistrate's order is clearly erroneous or contrary to law.'") (quoting 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1)(A)); see also Fed.R.Civ.P. 72(a) ("[t]he district judge in the case must consider timely objections [to nondispositive matters] and modify or set aside any part of the order that is clearly erroneous or is contrary to law."). "Matters concerning discovery generally are considered nondispositive' of the litigation." See Thomas E. Hoar, Inc. v. Sara Lee Corp., 900 F.2d 522, 525 (2d Cir. 1990). "Review under the clearly erroneous standard is significantly deferential, requiring a definite and firm conviction that a mistake has been committed." Concrete Pipe & Prod. v. Constr. Laborers Pension Trust, 508 U.S. 602, 623 (1993); see also Hernandez v. Tanninen, 604 F.3d 1095, 1100 (9th Cir. 2010) (same). "[T]he magistrate judge's decision... is entitled to great deference by the district court." United States v. Abonce-Barrera, 257 F.3d 959, 969 (9th Cir. 2001).

Plaintiffs object to the denial of their motion to reopen discovery and extend expert deadlines, arguing that the Magistrate Judge committed clear error in his findings. ( See ECF No. 116). Plaintiffs contend that Plaintiffs established excusable neglect under Fed.R.Civ.P. 6(b)(1); and that the requested discovery is warranted under Fed.R.Civ.P. 26(b)(2)(C). Id. at 2. The Court reviews each of Plaintiffs' objections to the Magistrate Judge's Order in turn under the "clearly erroneous and contrary to law" standard.

A. Excusable Neglect Under Fed.R.Civ.P. 6(b)(1)

The legal standard that applies to Plaintiffs' request to reopen discovery to determine the size of the class is set out in Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 6(b). The rule provides, "When an act may or must be done within a specified time, the court may, for good cause, extend time... on motion made after the time has ...


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