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Optrics Inc v. Barracuda Networks Inc.

United States District Court, N.D. California

January 14, 2020

OPTRICS INC, Plaintiff,
v.
BARRACUDA NETWORKS INC, Defendant.

          DISCOVERY ORDER RE: DKT. NOS. 158, 159, 161, 163, 164, 165, 169, 174, 176, 177

          THOMAS S. HIXSON UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE

         The Court had a telephonic hearing this morning concerning a number of discovery letter briefs. This order follows.

         A. ECF No. 158: Barracuda's RFAs to Optrics

         RFA 13. Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 36(a)(4) states that “[a] denial must fairly respond to the substance of the matter; and when good faith requires that a party qualify an answer or deny only a part of a matter, the answer must specify the part admitted and qualify or deny the rest.” So, it's fine for Optrics to deny that it withdrew a “registration” for something it never had a registration for, but Optrics still has to admit the remainder of the RFA, which asks Optrics to admit that it withdrew class 9 from the trademark application.

         Likewise, for RFA 16, Optrics can deny that the transfer was “back” to Barracuda, but still must admit or deny as to whether there was a transfer.

         For RFA 17, Optrics doesn't have to admit something just because its CEO said it in an email. Maybe the CEO was being insincere. Indeed, the tenor of the email suggests that Barracuda itself was skeptical of the CEO's characterization of the reason for registering the domain.

         RFAs 22 and 40. The documents don't establish that these things are true such that Optrics would need to admit them. And for RFA 45, again, just because someone said something in an email doesn't mean it actually happened. A formal record of a vote might be a different situation, but one sentence in a long email could be a mistake or a misstatement of fact.

         For RFA 30, Optrics is free to deny the words “negotiations” and “transfer” and instead call it all extortion, but the thrust of the RFA is whether Optrics was represented by counsel during this time, and Optrics must admit or deny that. For RFA 34, just because Optrics is unsure if McDonald reviewed the entire agreement doesn't mean Optrics can do an outright denial. If McDonald reviewed part of the agreement, Optrics must admit that, and if it is reasonably clear which parts are among those he reviewed (such as clause 14.13 and section 3.8), it must admit that.

         Optrics' response to RFA 71 doesn't make sense. OI00908803 appears to have been produced by Optrics, and it provides sufficient information to admit or deny. The email contains the words “they have been truly professional, ” so unless the subject matter of the email is really about something else entirely, there is no justification for a flat-out denial. Grammatically, “they” seems to refer to Britt and Sophia, so if it is truthful that the comment was directed only to them, Optrics can admit that.

         The Court sustains Optrics' relevance objections to RFAs 52 and 53.

         The Court orders Optrics to serve amended responses to RFAs 13, 16, 30, 34 and 71 within seven days.

         B. ECF No. 159: Barracuda's RFPs, Interrogatories and Deposition Notices to Optrics

         RFP 74. Barracuda stated at the hearing that this RFP is no longer in dispute.

         RFP 89. The Court orders Optrics to file a status report on this ...


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