United States District Court, E.D. Michigan, Southern Division
ORDER OVERRULING PLAINTIFF'S OBJECTIONS AND
AFFIRMING MAGISTRATE JUDGE'S ORDER
H. CLELAND, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
court referred Plaintiff's Emergency Motion to Expedite
Discovery, (Dkt. #11), to Magistrate Judge Mona K. Majzoub,
who entered an order denying the motion, (Dkt. #23).
Plaintiff then filed an objection to the order, (Dkt. #25),
to which Defendants have filed a response (Dkt. #33).
Plaintiff has filed a reply as well. (Dkt. #34.) For the
following reasons, the court will overrule Plaintiff's
filed an Emergency Motion for Preliminary Injunction and
Leave to Conduct Expedited Discovery (Dkts. ##3, 11),
scheduled for hearing on May 3, 2017. Plaintiff seeks an
injunction forcing Defendants, prior to the annual
shareholder meeting sometime in May or June, to supplement
disclosures that Plaintiff alleges are misleading and
violative of the Securities and Exchange Act of 1934.
Magistrate Judge Majzoub denied Plaintiff's request for
an order that Defendants respond to five document requests
and undertake four depositions within 15 days of service of
the requests. (Dkt. #23.) She found that Plaintiff had failed
to show good cause for the broad requests in advance of the
normal Rule 26(f) conference or preliminary injunction
hearing. She also explained that the requests were not
limited to relevant documents and thus did not comport with
the proportionality requirement of Federal Rule of Civil
Procedure 26(b)(1). She also added that the proposed 15 day
deadline was “vexatious and harassing.” Plaintiff
objects that expedited discovery is routinely granted prior
to preliminary injunction hearings to allow the parties a
fair chance to argue the merits. It also contends that its
discovery requests were not overbroad and the abbreviated
time frame is justified by the urgency of the resolution of
the factual questions at issue. Defendants respond that the
order denying Plaintiff's motion was well supported and
that the recent voluntary dismissal of a Defendant only
weakens Plaintiff's case. In reply Plaintiffs insist that
discovery is sorely needed prior to the hearing, that the
dismissal of certain Defendants is irrelevant to the question
at hand, and that expedited discovery will not prejudice
to orders issued by magistrate judges are treated as appeals
subject to the “clearly erroneous” standard set
forth in 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1)(A). Brown v.
Rapelje, No. 09-639, 2012 WL 4490769, at *1 (W.D. Mich.
Sept. 28, 2012). As such, the “decision and order of a
non-dispositive motion by a magistrate judge will be upheld
unless it is clearly erroneous or contrary to law.”
Koetje v. Norton, No. 13-12739, 2014 WL 2005021, at
*1 (E.D. Mich. May 16, 2014).
is discoverable under revised Rule 26(b)(1) if it is relevant
to any party's claim or defense and is proportional to
the needs of the case.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 26(b)(1) Advisory
Committe's Note to 2015 Amendment. In assessing the
proportionality the court should look to:
the importance of the issues at stake in the action, the
amount in controversy, the parties' relative access to
relevant information, the parties' resources, the
importance of the discovery in resolving the issues, and
whether the burden or expense of the proposed discovery
outweighs its likely benefit.
Civ. P. 26(b)(1).
the burden and expense of the proposed discovery is immense
and doubtlessly outweighs its likely benefit, even assuming
that all other factors favor Plaintiff-and it is not obvious
that they do. Plaintiff attempts to minimize the scope of its
discovery requests by insisting that it “proposed just
five (5) document requests . . .” However, these five
requests are exceedingly broad:
1. All documents and communications between Defendants and
any other person relating to Rockwell, including telephone
records relating to any such communications.
2. All documents or communications relating to any
discussions, plans, agreements, or understandings between the
Defendants, on the one hand, and any other person that owned
or beneficially owned any Rockwell securities, on the other,
relating to Rockwell.
3. All documents or communications relating to the
discussion, preparation, approval, or filing of any filings
required under the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, or any
rules promulgated thereunder, by any Defendant.
4. All documents or communications relating to the drafting,
discussion, preparation, or approval of the March 1, 2017
Notice of Shareholder Nominations of Individuals for Election
as Directors at the ...