United States District Court, S.D. California
IN RE PACKAGED SEAFOOD PRODUCTS ANTITRUST LITIGATION
ORDER OVERRULING BUMBLE BEE FOODS, LLC'S
OBJECTION TO THE MAGISTRATE JUDGE'S ORDER (ECF NO.
Janis L. Sammartino, United States District Judge.
before the Court is Bumble Bee Foods, LLC's Objection to
Magistrate Judge Dembin's January 3, 2018 Order,
(“Obj., ” ECF No. 791). Plaintiffs have filed a
Response to the Objections, (“Resp., ” ECF No.
842). After a careful consideration of the Parties'
submissions, the record in this matter, and the applicable
law, the Court OVERRULES Bumble Bee's
relevant facts, as presented by Bumble Bee, are as follows.
Plaintiffs filed a suit against various defendants, including
Bumble Bee, in August 2015 “after the commencement of
the grand jury investigation into the packaged seafood
product industry by the United States Department of Justice
(“DOJ”) had become publicly known.” (Obj.
4.) The DOJ intervened in the case and the Parties stipulated
to stay discovery. (Id.) Under the stipulation
regarding the third stay, Plaintiffs may not obtain discovery
“that refers or relates to the criminal grand jury
investigation being conducted by the United States concerning
packaged seafood.” (Id. at 4-5 (citing ECF No.
August 2017, Bumble Bee pled guilty to a single-count
violation of the Sherman Act and the sentencing memoranda
“were filed in partially redacted form, upon motions by
both parties and findings of good cause” by Judge
Edward Chen. (Id. at 5.) Bumble Bee states
“pages 2 through 5 [and one sentence on page 19] of the
government's sentencing memorandum-which discuss the
factual basis for Bumble Bee's plea in greater detail
than the publicly available plea agreement-were redacted in
the public filing on DOJ's motion ‘to protect the
secrecy of [the grand jury] investigation.'”
(Id. (citing ECF No. 18 at 2).)
December 22, 2017, Plaintiffs and Bumble Bee filed a Joint
Motion for Determination of Discovery Dispute regarding
Interrogatory No. 1, (ECF No. 758). On January 3, 2018,
Magistrate Judge Mitchell Dembin issued an order that
requires Bumble Bee to fully respond to Interrogatory No. 1.
(“Discovery Order, ” ECF No. 772.) This
interrogatory asks Bumble Bee to:
Identify and describe the nature of all joint ventures,
alliances, agreements, initiatives, or business relationships
between or among You and any other Defendant or Defendants or
any other manufacturer of PSPs, identify persons with
knowledge with respect to each, and the time period during
which each existed.
Id. at 2.) Bumble Bee argued it could not “comply
[with this interrogatory] without violating two court orders:
a sealing order issued in a criminal case regarding Bumble
Bee tuna; and a stipulation limiting discovery entered in the
instant case.” (Id. at 2-3.) Judge Dembin
stated he “does not see how responding to Interrogatory
No. 1 conflicts with the Sealing Order in the criminal
case” and “does not see a conflict between the
Stipulation and responding to Interrogatory No. 1.”
(Id. at 3-4.) Bumble Bee then filed an objection to
Judge Dembin's Order.
may object to a non-dispositive pretrial order of a
magistrate judge within fourteen days after service of the
order. Fed.R.Civ.P. 72(a). The magistrate judge's order
will be upheld unless it is “clearly erroneous or is
contrary to law.” Id.; see 28 U.S.C.
§ 636(b)(1)(A). The “clearly erroneous”
standard of review applies to factual findings and
discretionary decisions made concerning nondispositive
pretrial discovery. See F.D.I.C. v. Fid. & Deposit
Co. of Md., 196 F.R.D. 375, 378 (S.D. Cal. 2000). The
“clearly erroneous” 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).
Bumble Bee's Objection Regarding the Sealed Sentencing
Order, Judge Dembin found the Sealing Order does not conflict
with Interrogatory No. 1. He reasoned,
That Order protects certain statements in specific documents.
If the interrogatory asked “What information was used
to create the second sentence of Paragraph 3 of page 19 of
the sentencing memoranda?” or “Describe your
communications with the United States in creating the joint
sentencing memoranda, ” there would be a conflict. The
Sealing Order does not preclude Bumble Bee from providing
information about its agreements with other ...