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Martinelli v. Johnson & Johnson

United States District Court, E.D. California

July 28, 2016

JOANN MARTINELLI, individually and on behalf of all others similarly situated, Plaintiff,
v.
JOHNSON & JOHNSON and McNEIL NUTRITIONALS, LLC, Defendants.

          ORDER

          EDMUND F. BRENNAN UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE

         This matter was before the court on June 22, 2016, for hearing on plaintiff’s motion to compel discovery. Attorney Annick Persigner appeared on behalf of the plaintiff and attorneys Ronie Schmelz and Amanda Villalobos appeared on behalf of the defendants. Oral argument was heard and the court ordered the parties to submit supplemental briefing. ECF No. 35. On July 1, 2016, defendants filed their supplemental opposition. ECF No. 39. On July 8, 2016, plaintiff filed a supplemental response.[1] ECF No. 40.

         ANALYSIS

         According to the June 15, 2016 updated joint statement, ECF No. 34, the parties’ disputes are as follows.

         A. Plaintiff’s RFP No. 4

         Plaintiff’s motion to compel seeks discovery “dating back to mid-2008.” ECF No. 34 at 9.[2] Defendants, however, “object to producing information that is beyond the appropriate statute of limitations applicable to Plaintiff’s state law claims.” Id. at 12. Specifically, defendants contend that the statute of limitations for plaintiff’s claims extends only to 2011 and object to producing discovery for periods prior to that. Id. at 9. Defendants add that they “presently intend to file a motion pursuant to Rule 12(c) . . . seeking an order that defines the appropriate temporal scope of the putative class Plaintiff seeks to represent.” Id. at 12. However, they have not filed a motion pursuant to Rule 12(c) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure nor has the court issued an order setting a temporal limitation on the scope of the putative class.[3] To the contrary, on March 7, 2016, the assigned District Judge issued a Scheduling Order, permitting the parties to proceed with discovery of “facts that are relevant to whether this action should be certified as a class action . . . .” ECF No. 25 at 2.

         In this regard, the court finds defendants’ argument unpersuasive and orders defendants to respond to plaintiff’s request for production of documents number 4.

         B. Plaintiff’s RFP Nos. 10, 12, 13, 24, and 36

         Requests numbers 10, 12, 13, 24, and 36 are characterized as concerning “consumer research and marketing.” ECF No. 34 at 13. Plaintiff argues that the information sought by these requests is “relevant to class certification because Plaintiff must demonstrate that each element of each claim can be proven with evidence common to the class.” Id. Many of these requests, however, seek discovery beyond the complaint’s allegations concerning Benecol Spreads’ claims of “No Trans Fats, ” and “No Trans Fatty Acids.” ECF No. 1 at 2.

         In request number 10, plaintiff seeks:

ALL DOCUMENTS and COMMUNICATIONS CONCERNING consumer feedback regarding the BENECOL SPREADS made within the CLASS PERIOD, including but not limited to the number and nature of consumer complaints and the complaints themselves.

ECF No. 34 at 33.

         In number 12, plaintiff seeks:

ALL DOCUMENTS and COMMUNICATIONS CONCERNING YOUR consumer research regarding the BENECOL SPREADS, including but not limited to e-mails, surveys, and correspondence with consumers ...

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