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Arista Networks, Inc. v. Cisco Systems Inc.

United States District Court, N.D. California

November 21, 2017

ARISTA NETWORKS, INC., Plaintiff,
v.
CISCO SYSTEMS INC., Defendant.

          ORDER REGARDING NOVEMBER 16, 2017 JOINT STATEMENT REGARDING DISCOVERY DISPUTES RE: DKT. NO. 174

          SUSAN VAN KEULEN United States Magistrate Judge

         Before the Court is the parties' Joint Statement Regarding Discovery Disputes submitted November 16, 2017. ECF 174. Having considered the dispute, the Court orders as follows.

         I. RELEVANT BACKGROUND

         Arista Networks, Inc. (“Arista”) filed this antitrust action against Cisco Systems Inc. (“Cisco”) on February 26, 2016. ECF 1. On August 23, 2016, the District Court stayed the case to allow for resolution of the then-ongoing copyright action between the parties. ECF 95. On December 28, 2016, the Court extended the stay to March 2, 2017. ECF 100. On March 17, 2017, following a case management conference, the Court entered a scheduling order setting deadlines in this case, including a fact discovery cutoff of November 9, 2017. ECF 109. Arista served a Rule 30(b)(6) Notice on October 10, 2017, requesting testimony for 73 topics. ECF 174-2 at 18. On November 9, 2017, the parties represented to the Court that “the parties have reached agreement on dates for certain witnesses during the week following the close of fact discovery and expect to reach agreement on the dates at which the remaining witnesses can be made available by the last week in November.” ECF 166. The District Court set a deadline of December 1, 2017, to conduct the remaining depositions, and continued the deadlines to submit expert reports and rebuttal expert reports to December 18, 2017 and February 2, 2017, respectively. ECF 167.

         II. CURRENT DISPUTE

         On November 16, 2017, the parties submitted a discovery letter raising disputes as to 35 of Arista's 73 Rule 30(b)(6) deposition topics, one Cisco Rule 30(b)(6) deposition topic, two requests for production and three interrogatories. ECF 174. While the disputes are technically timely raised, the topics are voluminous. At a minimum, the parties should have made the District Judge aware of the scope and volume of the outstanding disputes when they requested leave to conduct depositions beyond the close of fact discovery. In the timeframe remaining, with expert reports looming, there is very limited time for relief. To the extent relief is granted, depositions must be completed and discovery responses served by the current December 1, 2017 deadline. It is with this limitation in mind that the Court considers the relevance and proportionality of the outstanding requests, drawing a sharp line between discovery the parties would like to have and discovery the parties both need and have pursued diligently. Against this backdrop, the Court orders as follows:

         A. Arista's Motion to Compel

         The Court first addresses Arista's requests arising out of its Rule 30(b)(6) notice served on October 10, 2017.

         Topic No. 6: Denied. This topic is better suited for expert testimony.

         Topic No. 16: Denied. The topic is of limited relevance and not proportional to the needs of the case, particularly in light of the time limitations.

         Topic Nos. 17, 20: Denied. The topic is of limited relevance and not proportional to the needs of the case, particularly in light of the time limitations.

         Topic Nos. 23-40: Granted in part. Transactional data, if relevant, presumably has been produced, and the requests as presently framed are too broad in scope and detail for the time remaining to complete discovery. However, in some respects the relevance of the requests tips the balance in favor of fashioning relief that can be accomplished in a timely manner, particularly in light of Arista's willingness to limit the request to a specific number of customers. As to a specific customer, Cisco is likely to have a person most knowledgeable, such as an account manager, as to the general history of sales negotiations, pricing (including discount terms), revenues, and margins. Accordingly, Arista is ordered to identify five target customers. Cisco is ordered to produce persons most knowledgeable as to the five customers identified by Arista for the following topic:

Sales negotiations between Cisco and the customer from 2013-present relating to Ethernet Switches and/or Maintenance and Services for Ethernet Switches, including pricing and discount terms and Cisco's revenue and margins on sales to the customer.

         The Court strikes the subject matter relating to Cisco's contention for why each sale was not anticompetitive as calling either for an ...


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