United States District Court, C.D. California
LATERAL LINK GROUP, LLC, a California Limited Liability Company, Plaintiff,
HABEAS CORP., a Delaware corporation doing business as LATERAL.LY; MICAH SPRINGUT, an individual doing business as LATERAL.LY, and DOES 1-10, inclusive. Defendants.
ORDER ACCEPTING FINDINGS AND RECOMMENDATIONS OF
UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE RE DEFENDANTS' MOTION FOR
CONTEMPT AND PRECLUSIVE SANCTIONS (DOCKET NO. 212)
A. KRONSTADT UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
to 28 U.S.C. § 636, the Court has reviewed the
pleadings, the records on file, the Report and Recommendation
of the United States Magistrate Judge ("R & R"),
and the Objections to the Report and Recommendation and
Response filed by the parties. The Court accepts the findings
and recommendations of the Magistrate Judge.
the parties' Objections, Fed.R.Civ.P. Rule 72(a) and 28
U.S.C. § 636(b)(1)(A) provide that a Magistrate
Judge's order on a non-dispositive matter will be upheld
unless it is "clearly erroneous or contrary to
law." The "clearly erroneous" standard applies
to a Magistrate Judge's factual determinations and
discretionary decisions, including orders imposing discovery
sanctions. Computer Economics. Inc. v. Gartner Group.
Inc.. 50 F.Supp.2d 980, 983 (S.D. Cal. 1999); Davis
v. Chase Bank U.S.A.. N.A.. 2010 WL 1531410, at *1 (CD.
Cal. April 14, 1999). This standard is "significantly
deferential, " requiring a definite and firm conviction
that a mistake has been committed. Green v. Baca.
219 F.R.D. 485, 489 (CD. Cal. 2003); Computer
Economics. 50 F.Supp.2d at 983; Davis, 2010 WL
1531410, at *1. The "contrary to law" standard
permits independent review of purely legal determinations by
a Magistrate Judge. Computer Economics. 219 F.R.D.
at 983: see also Davis. 2010 WL 1531410, at *1
(Magistrate Judge's legal conclusions are reviewed de
novo). Defendants did not fully acknowledge the governing
The R &
R consists primarily of factual determinations and
discretionary decisions. Accordingly, the "clearly
erroneous" standard applies, except where otherwise
indicated. Defendants disagree with the Magistrate
Judge's factual determinations and discretionary
decisions but have not demonstrated those determinations and
decisions are clearly erroneous.
contention that the R & R, in granting Rule 37(a) relief,
contradicts this Court's Order referring discovery
matters to the Discovery Referee (Dkt. 139) is meritless.
This Court's May 2, 2016 Order specifically referred to
the portion of Defendants' Motion for Contempt and
Preclusive Sanctions concerning compliance with Magistrate
Judge McDermott's April 29, 2015 Order as to document
production to Judge McDermott. The R & R and the Rule 37(a)
relief granted pertain to the document production that was
the subject of Judge McDermott's April 29, 2015 Order and
thus fall squarely within this Court's May 2, 2016
The R &
R properly recommends Rule 37(a) relief. Rule 37(b)(2)
provides that, where a party fails to obey a discovery order,
the court "may issue further just orders, " which
"may" include contempt and preclusive sanctions.
Plainly, any relief for violating a discovery order is
discretionary and not limited to the options listed in
37(b)(2)(A)(i)-(vii). The Magistrate Judge had the discretion
and authority to issue Rule 37(a) relief as a further just
order under Rule 37(b)(2). The Magistrate Judge's award
of Rule 37(a) relief was not a new motion as Plaintiff
contends but a remedy under Rule 37(b)(2)i Additionally,
Local Rule 72-1 provides, "Magistrate judges shall have
the inherent power of judicial officers to implement and
enforce their own orders and to regulate proceedings before
them, to the extent permitted by law."
challenges the award of attorney's fees to Defendants and
also argues for apportionment under Rule 37(a)(5)(C). As
already noted, the R & R awards Rule 37(a) relief as a remedy
for violation of a court order under Rule 37(b)(2). Thus,
Rule 37(a)(5)(C) is inapplicable. Rule 37(b)(2)(C) is
applicable, which does not mention apportionment. Defendants,
moreover, contemplated filing a fee request regarding the
amount of fees after a ruling on their Motion for Contempt
and Preclusive Sanctions. Plaintiff will have the opportunity
at that time to address the appropriate amount of fees that
should be awarded to Defendants.
The R &
R recommends production of trade secret documents relevant to
Request Nos. 6, 37, 38, and 39 accompanied by a verification.
This Court ORDERS the production and verification to occur by
July 10, 2016. Any documents not produced by that date may
not be utilized at trial.
the R & R recommends that Plaintiff conduct a key word search
of its email server for documents responsive to Requests Nos.
6, 37, 38, and 39 accompanied by a verification and take all
steps necessary to retrieve and produce email design
communications. This Court ORDERS that the key word search,
production of documents, verification and retrieval, and
production of email design communications occur by July 10,
2016. Any documents not produced by that date may not be
utilized at trial.
ORDERED that (1) Defendants' Motion for Contempt and
Preclusive Sanctions is DENIED; (2) Rule 37(a) relief is
GRANTED; (3) compliance with the Rule 37(a) relief described
above is ORDERED to occur by July 10, 2016; and (4)
Defendants' request for attorney's fees is ...