Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
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.

Wright v. Old Gringo, Inc.

United States District Court, S.D. California

November 25, 2019

MARSHA WRIGHT, Plaintiff,
v.
OLD GRINGO, INC., et al., Defendants.

          ORDER RE: JOINT MOTION FOR DETERMINATION OF DISCOVERY DISPUTE NO. 6 (RE: LETTER OF REQUEST) [ECF NO. 200]

          Honorable Michael S. Berg, United States Magistrate Judge.

         Pending before the Court is the parties' amended “Joint Motion for Determination of Discovery Dispute No. 6 (Re: Letter of Request)” (“Joint Motion”), filed on November 19, 2019. (ECF No. 200.) In the Joint Motion, the parties ask this Court to resolve their disagreements regarding the content of a letter of request seeking assistance with discovery pertaining to Old Gringo, S.A. de C.V. (“OGS”), a Mexican corporate defendant in this case. (Id.) Plaintiff asks the Court to issue her proposed Letter of Request to the Mexican judicial authority, seeking its assistance obtaining documents from and taking the depositions of OGS and three of its key employees and/or owners. (Id. at 6-29.) Defendants do not object to the issuance of a Letter of Request. (Id. at 4.) Instead, they raise specific objections to the following aspects of Plaintiff's proposed Letter of Request: (1) the factual summary, (2) the provisions regarding confidential designations under the protective order, (3) the scope of document production sought from OGS, and (4) deposition topics requested for all witnesses. (Id. at 4-5; ECF No. 200-1 at 9-14). The Court addresses each of these disputes in turn, below.

         I. RELEVANT FACTUAL BACKGROUND

         Plaintiff, a former designer for Defendants Old Gringo, Inc. (“OGI”) and OGS, a Western wear manufacturer and distributor and its Mexican sister company, alleges that the principles and officers of the Old Gringo Companies, Defendants Ernest Tarut (“Tarut”) and Yan Ferry (“Ferry”), told her in January 2013 that they were giving her a 5% ownership interest in the Old Gringo Companies, but in fact, no such interest was conveyed. (See ECF No. 1.) This basic allegation underlies all of the causes of action remaining in this case. Plaintiff maintains causes of action against OGI, OGS, Tarut, and Ferry for (1) fraud and fraudulent misrepresentation, (2) specific performance (to the extent this claim is not based upon contract), (3) promissory fraud, (4) concealment, (5) negligent misrepresentation, (6) promissory estoppel, and (7) unjust enrichment. (Id.; see also ECF No. 62 at 32 (granting in part Defendants' Motion for Summary Judgment by dismissing contract claim and specific performance claim solely to the extent it was premised on breach of contract, and denying all other grounds for summary judgment), ECF No. 163 at 16 (denying Defendants' subsequent Motion for Summary Judgment).) Among her damages, Plaintiff claims that she is entitled to the value of the 5% interest in OGI and OGS and punitive damages.

         II. RELEVANT PROCEDURAL BACKGROUND

         On December 6, 2018, the parties filed “Joint Motion for Determination of Discovery Dispute No. 3.” (ECF No. 58.) On January 14, 2019, the parties filed “Amended Joint Motion for Determination of Discovery Dispute No. 2.” (ECF No. 73.) In relevant part, both discovery motions included Plaintiff's requests that the Court compel further responses to her requests for production of documents (“RFPs”) from OGI regarding the ownership, finances, and valuation of OGI's commonly owned sister company and Co-Defendant: OGS. (See ECF No. 58 at 44-101; ECF No. 73 at 3-7; 13-15; 66-92.) After reviewing the parties' detailed pleadings and holding two discovery hearings, (see ECF Nos. 77, 83), the Court ruled on the motions on February 6, 2018. (ECF No. 85.) As relevant to the instant motion, the Court issued the following rulings[1]on Plaintiff's motions to compel further responses to her RFPs: granted as to RFP Nos. 4, 13, 21, 39, 45, 86, 87, and 95 and granted in part (only for the test year of 2014) as to RFP Nos. 88, 90, 91, 92, 97, 98, and 100. (Id. at 4-5.) Summarized briefly, this order permitted the discovery of summary level financial documents and those which would tend to show ownership for the period between 2012 to 2017, but limited the production of detailed underlying financial records to a test year of 2014 to permit Plaintiff to evaluate the reliability of the summary documents. The Court ordered that OGI produce its supplemental responses to these OGS-related RFPs within one week after Judge Bashant's denial of OGS' jurisdictional motion [ECF No. 61]. (ECF No. 85 at 4-5.)

         OGI produced initial responsive documents on June 18, 2019, exactly one week after Judge Bashant's order denying OGS' jurisdictional motion was denied, and additional documents on June 25, 2019. (ECF No. 180-3 at 2-3; see also ECF No. 115 (denying jurisdictional motion on June 11, 2019).) The Court held telephonic Case Management Conferences on September 11 and September 17, 2019, wherein the parties discussed Plaintiff's request to take further discovery from OGS. (ECF Nos. 174, 177.) Ultimately, the Court issued a Second Amended Scheduling Order, setting a deadline of January 13, 2019, for the completion of Plaintiff's discovery from OGS. (ECF No. 179 at 4-5.) With the Court's permission, Plaintiff filed a “Motion to Enforce Compliance with the Court's Orders Concerning and/or to Compel Further Answers to Requests for Various Information Relating to [OGS], ” on September 20, 2019, in which she argued in part that records produced by OGI pursuant to the Court's Orders regarding discovery dispute nos. 2 and 3 were insufficient, and asked the Court to order OGI to produce OGS' electronic accounting records for the relevant time period. (See ECF No. 180.) The Court granted the request to compel further responses to certain RFPs, but denied Plaintiff's request to increase the scope of discovery over what it had previously ordered. (ECF No. 194 at 10-15.)

         Plaintiff now moves the Court to send a Letter of Request to the Mexican judicial authority, to facilitate the collection of documents from and depositions of OGS and three of its agents.

         III. DISCUSSION

         Because Defendants do not object to Plaintiff's request that the Court issue a Letter of Request to facilitate Plaintiff's discovery from OGS, the Court will focus on the disputes between the parties regarding the content of the proposed letter.

         A. Factual Representations in the Letter

         Defendants' counsel objects to the “Nature of Proceedings, and Subject Matter of this Request” section, arguing that currently the section “strongly implies that Plaintiff's cause of action for breach of contract remains viable in this case.” (ECF No. 200-1 at 9.) Defendants assert this distinction is important to the case's scope because the Mexican judicial authority will “evaluate the propriety of any discovery requests based on the requesting Court's representation of the issues in the case.” (Id. at 9-10.) Defendants suggest that this alleged flaw could be cured by adding two sentences: “The Court granted Defendants' Motion for Summary Judgment of Plaintiff's cause of action for breach of contract. The Court found that there was no consideration to support any alleged contract.” (Id. at 10.) Plaintiff does not directly address Defendants' position on this issue in her briefing.

         The disputed section itself does not allege that Plaintiff maintains a cause of action for breach of contract. Instead, it describes “an action alleging breach of promises, unjust enrichment, promissory estoppel, and fraud. Plaintiff's claims include, but are not limited to, allegations that the Defendants have breached their promises to Plaintiff and committed fraudulent activity against Plaintiff.” (ECF No. 200 at 11.) The section also summarizes the facts alleged in the Complaint, including in relevant part that “Defendants made promises to Plaintiff in January of 2015 to compensate her for her contributions by making Plaintiff owner of a 5% equity and/or ownership interest in both Old Gringo Inc. and Old Gringo, S.A. de C.V.” and that Defendants “knowingly made false representations of the ownership interest's existence to persuade Plaintiff to continue her contributions to the companies.” (Id.)

         Defendants do not explain how these statements are likely to mislead the Mexican judicial authorities to believe that Plaintiff maintains an action for breach of contract. Nor do they explain why that distinction would be relevant to determining the scope of the discovery being sought through this letter of request. While it does not contain a full procedural history, the contested section of the letter is accurate as currently written. It does not appear to the Court how the addition of the requested sentence would alter the scope of relevant discovery in a way that is consistent with the rulings in this case, particularly because Judge Bashant specifically ruled that Plaintiff may still be entitled to her claimed ownership interest. (See ECF No. 62 at 26-28.) Though Defendants did not include such statement in the instant briefing, during meet and confer communications Defendants' counsel seemed to recognize that simply adding Defendants' requested sentences might give the Mexican judicial authority the wrong impression about scope of discovery and require further clarification. (See ECF No. 200-3 at 5 (Defendants' counsel saying to Plaintiff's counsel in an email that “If you want to then [after including Defendants' requested sentences] include ...


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.