United States District Court, E.D. Michigan, Southern Division
MSC. SOFTWARE CORPORATION, Plaintiff,
ALTAIR ENGINEERING, INC., Defendant.
AND ORDER OVERRULING MSC'S OBJECTIONS TO THE SPECIAL
MASTER'S SEPTEMBER 8, 2016 REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION
(DOC. 1149) AND ADOPTING REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION IN PART
(DOC. 1148) AND DENYING MSC'S MOTION TO COMPEL DISCOVERY
AND/OR FOR LEAVE TO OBTAIN DISCOVERY (DOC. 1127) AND ADOPTING
SPECIAL MASTER'S RECOMMENDATIONS REGARDING THE CHARTS AND
DENYING MSC'S MOTION FOR RECONSIDERATION (DOC.
COHN UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
a trade secret dispute tried to a jury. The Court set aside a
jury's $26, 100, 000.00 verdict in favor of MSC as
excessive and against the great weight of the evidence, and
ordered a new trial on the issue of damages for breach of
confidentiality/misappropriation of three MSC-owned technical
trade secrets (the three “TTS”). (Doc. 925). The
jury's liability finding - that the TTS were
misappropriated - was not disturbed. Subsequently, the Court
granted, on recommendation of the Special Master,
Altair's motion for partial summary judgment that the TTS
had been removed from MotionSolve. This motion was directed
to establishing temporal limitations on MSC's damages as
a result of the misappropriation. (Doc. 1133). While briefing
on the removal motion was ongoing, the Court directed the
parties to complete two charts (attached) in an attempt to
appreciate how MotionSolve performed with and without the
TTS. See Doc. 1120. In response to the Court's
directive, MSC filed a motion to compel and/or for leave to
obtain discovery of information it says it needed from Altair
in order to complete its version of the charts. (Doc. 1127).
MSC also filed a motion for reconsideration of the
Court's order on the removal issue. (Doc. 1142). The
Court referred the motions, as well as the papers relating to
the charts to the Special Master for a report and
recommendation. (Doc. 1140). The Special Master issued a
report and recommendation (R&R) (Doc. 1148),
1. That MSC's motion to compel be denied or that a
protocol for testing MotionSolve with and without the TTS be
agreed upon and conducted by the parties.
2. That MSC's Chart A be stricken and the Court take no
action regarding MSC's challenges to Altair's version
of the charts.
3. That MSC's motion for reconsideration regarding
removal of the TTS be denied.
the Court are MSC's objections to the R&R (Doc.
1149). For the reasons that follow, the R&R will be
adopted in part. MSC's motion to compel or for leave to
obtain discovery will be denied. The Special Master's
recommendations as to the charts will be adopted. MSC's
motion for reconsideration of the removal order will be
November 13, 2014, the Court entered a Decision and Order
Granting Defendants' Motion for Judgment as a Matter of
Law and New Trial or Remittitur on Damages. (Doc. 925
(sealed), Doc. 928 (redacted). The Court set aside the
jury's verdict in favor of MSC and granted Altair a new
trial on the issue of damages for misappropriation of the
January 12, 2015, the Court held a status conference to
discuss the future course of the case. During the conference,
MSC argued it was entitled to additional discovery as a
consequence of limitations imposed during the lead up to the
initial trial. Following the status conference, the Court
issued an order which states in relevant part: “The
Court intends to appoint a new special master to assist in
discovery issues relating to the three features[TTS]”
(Doc. 944). The order also set benchmarks for discovery
relating to the features (technical issues) and disclosure of
the parties' financial information. All of this was to
ensure that MSC had ample opportunity to obtain discovery of
the information it says it needed for the new trial on
damages, including information it says it did not have in the
January 22, 2015, the Court appointed a Special Master to
manage, supervise and resolve discovery disputes. (Doc. 947).
During the progress of the case, additional matters were
referred to the Special Master such as the motions which form
the basis of the R&R now before the Court.
the period the Special Master managed discovery, the time
limits for completing discovery were extended four times.
See Docs. 964, 966, 1015, 1058.
Court during the discovery period appointed a Technical
Advisor to assist in the defining the TTS. See Doc.
1001. After extensive briefing by the parties, the Court
adopted the definition of the TTS submitted by Altair and
recommended by the Technical Advisor. See Docs.
1081, 1082, 1103.
described above, Altair moved for partial summary judgment on
the grounds that the TTS had been removed from MotionSolve at
various times and were no longer part of the source code for
MotionSolve. (Doc. 998). The Court granted the motion finding
as a consequence of the removal there are temporal
limitations regarding MSC's damages as a result of the
misappropriation. (Doc. 1133).
consideration of the removal motion, the Court directed the
parties to complete charts it had prepared in an attempt to
know how MotionSolve performed with and without the TTS.
See Doc. 1120. Particularly, Chart A, required a
definition of the TTS and their placement in
MotionSolve's source code, including the date of
insertion and removal, and alternate locations, if any,
within the source code. The second chart, Chart B, required
the parties to identify how each TTS affected the performance
of the MotionSolve code before the misappropriation of the