United States District Court, N.D. California
ORDER REGARDING JOINT DISCOVERY LETTERS RE: DKT. NOS.
A. WESTMORE United States Magistrate Judge.
April 22, 2016, Plaintiffs Martin Schneider, Sarah Deigert,
Laurie Reese, Theresa Gamage, Tiffanie Zangwill, and Nadia
Parikka filed the instant putative class action against
Defendant Chipotle Mexican Grill, Inc. (Compl., Dkt. No. 1.)
Plaintiffs allege that Defendant violated California,
Maryland, Florida, and New York consumer protection laws when
it began advertising that its foods were free of genetically
modified organisms ("GMOs") in April 2015. (Compl.
pending before the Court are the parties' joint discovery
letters, Dkt. Nos. 60 and 61. The Court deems the matter
suitable for disposition without hearing pursuant to Civil
Local Rule 7-1(b). Having reviewed the papers filed by the
parties and the relevant legal authority, the Court resolves
the parties' discovery disputes as set forth below.
April 27, 2015, Defendant began its advertising campaign,
"G-M-Over It." (Compl. ¶ 1.) In this campaign,
Defendant represented that it was becoming the first fast
food chain in the United States to have a "GMO free menu
that uses 'only non-GMO ingredients.'"
(Id.) Defendant produced ads stating, for example,
that "'all' of [Defendant's] food is now
non-GMO, " and that its foods have "No GMO"
and were "made with no-GMO ingredients." (Compl.
¶¶ 35-36.) Defendant also advertised on its store
fronts, stating "A Farewell to GMOs" and that
"When it comes to our food, genetically modified
ingredients don't make the cut;" similarly,
Defendant's in-store signs stated: "Only non-GMO
ingredients." (Compl. ¶¶ 37-38.)
allege that this campaign is misleading because Defendant:
"(1) serves protein products such as beef, chicken, and
pork from poultry and livestock that have been raised on GMO
feed; (2) serves dairy products such as cheese and sour cream
derived from cows raised on GMO feed; and (3) sells beverages
such as Coca-Cola and Sprite that are loaded with corn-syrup
derived from GMO corn." (Compl. ¶ 2; see
also Compl. ¶¶ 41-43.) Plaintiffs now seek to
represent four classes, made up of "All persons residing
in California[, Maryland, Florida, and New York], during the
period April 27, 2015 to the present, who purchased and/or
paid for Chipotle Food Products." (Compl.
November 30, 2016, the case was assigned to the undersigned
for discovery purposes. (Dkt. No. 39.) The parties have now
submitted two joint discovery letters. (Dkt. Nos. 60, 61.)
26(b)(1) permits discovery of "any nonprivileged matter
that is relevant to any party's claim or defense and
proportional to the needs of the case, considering the
importance of the issues at stake in the action, the amount
in controversy, the parties' relative access to relevant
information, the parties' resources, the importance of
the discovery in resolving the issues, and whether the burden
or expense of the proposed discovery outweighs its likely
benefit." Fed.R.Civ.P. 26(b)(1). The "[i]nformation
within this scope of discovery need not be admissible in
evidence to be discoverable." Id.
A party may serve on any other party a request within the
scope of Rule 26(b):
(1) to produce and permit the requesting party or its
representative to inspect, copy, test, or sample the
following items in the responding party's possession,
custody, or control:
(A) any designated documents or electronically stored
information--including writings, drawings, graphs, charts,
photographs, sound recordings, images, and other data or data
compilations--stored in any medium from which information can
be obtained either directly or, if necessary, after
translation by the responding party into a reasonably usable
(B) any designated tangible things[.]
Fed. R. Civ. P. 34(a).
discovery is subject to the limitations imposed by Rule
26(b)(2)(C), which requires the court to limit discovery upon
a finding (1) that the discovery sought is unreasonably
cumulative or duplicative, or can be obtained from other
source that is more convenient, less burdensome, or less
expensive, (2) that the party seeking discovery has had ample
opportunity to obtain the information sought, or (3) that the
burden or expense of the proposed discovery outweighs its
likely benefit, considering the needs of the case, the amount
in controversy, the parties' resources, the importance of
the issues at stake in the action, and the importance of the
discovery in resolving the issues. Fed.R.Civ.P. 26(b)(2)(C).