Searching over 5,500,000 cases.

Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

Obesity Research Institute, LLC v. Fiber Research International, LLC

United States District Court, S.D. California

June 23, 2017



          Hon. Cynthia Bashant United States District Judge.

         Presently before the Court is Plaintiff Obesity Research Institute, LLC's (“ORI”) meritless objection to the magistrate judge's August 11, 2016 Order. The objection specifically addresses Defendant Fiber Research International, LLC's (“FRI”) production of voluminous emails on December 7, 2015, which ORI contends was produced in a non-compliant format. (See ECF No. 308.)

         Rather than complying with United States Magistrate Judge Mitchell D. Dembin's Chambers Rules: Civil Pretrial Procedures § IV(C)(2)-which, applied to the circumstances of this case, would have made ORI's discovery challenge due 30 days after the emails were produced in December 2015-ORI sought relief over eight months later on August 10, 2016. (ECF No. 308.) The magistrate judge promptly denied ORI's request, observing that “[ORI] is seeking production of certain documents provided to [ORI] in mid-December 2015 based upon the formatting of the documents, ” and ultimately concluding that “[t]he time to bring that motion before the court expired many months ago and no good cause for the delay [was] presented.” (ECF No. 309.)

         For the following reasons, the Court OVERRULES ORI's objection in its entirety.


         A party may object to a non-dispositive pretrial order of a magistrate judge within fourteen days after service of the order. See Fed. R. Civ. P. 72(a). The magistrate judge's order will be upheld unless it is “clearly erroneous or contrary to law.” Id; 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1)(A). The “clearly erroneous” standard applies to factual findings and discretionary decisions made in connection with non-dispositive pretrial discovery matters. F.D.I.C. v. Fid & Deposit Co. of Md, 196 F.R.D. 375, 378 (S.D. Cal. 2000); Joiner v. Hercules, Inc., 169 F.R.D. 695, 697 (S.D. Ga. 1996) (reviewing magistrate judge's order addressing attorney-client issues in discovery for clear error). Review under this standard is “significantly deferential, requiring a definite and firm conviction that a mistake has been committed.” Concrete Pipe & Prods. of Cal., Inc. v. Constr. Laborers Pension Tr. of S. Cal., 508 U.S. 602, 623 (1993) (internal quotation marks omitted).

         On the other hand, the “contrary to law” standard permits independent review of purely legal determinations by a magistrate judge. See, e.g., Haines v. Liggett Grp., Inc., 975 F.2d 81, 91 (3d Cir. 1992) (“[T]he phrase ‘contrary to law' indicates plenary review as to matters of law.”); Gandee v. Glaser, 785 F.Supp. 684, 686 (S.D. Ohio 1992), aff'd, 19 F.3d 1432 (6th Cir. 1994); 12 Charles A. Wright,, Federal Practice and Procedure § 3069 (2d ed., 2010 update). “Thus, [the district court] must exercise its independent judgment with respect to a magistrate judge's legal conclusions.” Gandee, 785 F.Supp. at 686. “A decision is contrary to law if it fails to apply or misapplies relevant statutes, case law, or rules of procedure.” United States v. Cathcart, No. C 07-4762 PJH, 2009 WL 1764642, at *2 (N.D. Cal. June 18, 2009).

         II. ANALYSIS

         ORI argues that its objection is timely because: (1) “it does not seek any additional documents, ” but rather “merely seeks to correct the format of that which has already been disclosed”[1]; and (2) the “magistrate judge's imposition of [the] 30-day limit is contrary to law.”[2] Throughout its objection, ORI repeatedly invokes Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 1's policy that the rules “should be construed, administered, and employed by the court and the parties to secure the just, speedy, and inexpensive determination of every action and proceeding.”

         A. The Magistrate Judge's 30-Day Rule Is Not Contrary to Law.

         Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 83(b) permits judges to “regulate practice in any manner consistent with federal law, rules . . . and the district's local rules.” In this district, “[a]ll motion to compel discovery are referred to the magistrate judge assigned to the case[, ]” and “[t]he magistrate judge maintains discretion to waive all or part of the requirements of Civil Local Rule 7.1.f in deciding discovery motions.” Civ. L.R. 26.1(e). With this referral by operation of Civil Local Rule 26.1(e), most magistrate judges maintain clearly defined deadlines to file discovery motions in the event a dispute arises. See, e.g., Hon. Nita L. Stormes' Civil Case Procedures § VI(C) (45-day deadline from the date of the event giving rise to the dispute); Hon. William V. Gallo's Chambers Rules § IV(B) (30-day deadline); Hon. David H. Bartick's Civil Chambers Rules § IV(C) (45-day deadline); Hon. Ruben B. Brooks' Chambers Rules (30-day deadline to file discovery motions). The magistrate judge assigned to this case requires “[a]ny motion related to discovery disputes . . . be filed no later than thirty (30) days after the date upon which the event giving rise to the dispute occurred.” Hon. Mitchell D. Dembin's Civil Pretrial Procedures § IV(C)(2).

         “[A] case that is stalled or unreasonably delayed by a party's failure to comply with deadlines and discovery obligations cannot move forward to resolution on the merits.” In re Phenylpropanolamine (PPA) Prods. Liab. Litig., 460 F.3d 1217, 1228 (9th Cir. 2006). The Ninth Circuit has also warned:

In these days of heavy caseloads, trial courts in both the federal and state systems routinely set schedules and establish deadlines to foster the efficient treatment and resolution of cases. Those efforts will be successful only if the deadlines are taken seriously by the parties, and the best way to encourage that is to enforce the deadlines. Parties must understand that they will pay a price for failure to comply strictly with scheduling ...

Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.