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Shaposhnik v. HP Enterprise Services, LLC

United States District Court, E.D. Michigan

April 25, 2018

YONA SHAPOSHNIK AND PRISTINE MACHINE, LLC, Plaintiffs,
v.
HP ENTERPRISE SERVICES, LLC, Defendant.

          AMENDED [1] GRANTING IN PART, DENYING IN PART AND HOLDING PART IN ABEYANCE DEFENDANT'S MOTION TO COMPEL AND EXTEND FACT DISCOVERY [DOC. 57]

          VICTORIA A. ROBERTS UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.

         I. INTRODUCTION

         Defendant, HP Enterprise Services, LLC (“HPES”), filed the above-entitled motion. It is fully briefed. The Court:

1. GRANTS IN PART HPES's request that Sofer, Weiss and Newman be compelled to produce documents responsive to subpoena requests, although they must submit for depositions;
2. GRANTS HPES's request that Plaintiffs' use of Mr. Shaposhnik's hard drive be limited to only those files Plaintiffs have identified as relevant;
3. DENIES HPES's request that Plaintiffs be compelled to respond to its discovery request; and
4. HOLDS IN ABEYANCE HPES's request that the Court extend fact discovery.

         II. DISCUSSION

         A. HPES'S REQUEST THAT SOFER, WEISS AND NEWMAN BE COMPELLED TO PRODUCE DOCUMENTS RESPONSIVE TO SUBPOENA REQUESTS

         HPES asks the Court for an order compelling Schlomo Weiss, Josef Sofer and Hallel Newman to respond to subpoena requests. HPES says that at all relevant times, Sofer was the Chief Operating Officer for Plaintiff Pristine; Weiss was its Senior Vice President in charge of Business Development; and, Newman was Pristine Machine's Executive Vice President for Operations and Communications. All three are third parties who live outside of Michigan. Plaintiffs deny they were officers of Pristine Machine.

         Plaintiffs and Weiss, Sofer and Newman make a number of procedural objections, invoking the requirements of Fed. R, Civ. P. 45 (a)(4), (b)(1), (c)(2)(a), (d) and (e). They say HPES failed to adhere to certain requirements, namely that: (1) notice needed to go to all parties; (2) HPES is prohibited from deposing persons at sites more than 100 miles from where they live; (3) HPES seeks compliance with the subpoenas in the wrong court; and (4) the subpoenas did not allow a reasonable time to reply.

         Plaintiffs waived these procedural objections by failing to timely respond to HPES's subpoenas. Olivia Marie, Inc. v. Travelers Cas. Ins. Co. of Am., No. 11-12394, 2011 WL 6739400, at *2 (E.D. Mich. Dec. 22, 2011) (“A nonparty's failure to timely object to the subpoena generally waives any objections.”). However, because the third parties did respond substantively, and their responses were less than three weeks late, the Court will allow their substantive objections to stand and be resolved on the merits.

         Substantively, Sofer, Weiss and Newman claim the requests are overbroad and unduly burdensome; are duplicative and seek irrelevant materials; and are not crafted to minimize the burden on them, in violation of Fed.R.Civ.P. 45(d)(1)'s requirement to avoid imposing an undue burden on the person subject to the subpoena. Following are the five requests at issue (as amended), followed by the paraphrased responses set forth in the responses to the motion because HPES failed to isolate the formal responses in its motion:

Request 1. All documents and communications which refer or relate to any agreements or contracts between Yona Shaposhnik and his employer, including Electronic Data Systems Corporation and HP Enterprise Services, LLC.

         RESPONSE: HPES's request is vague and ambiguous, overly broad and unduly burdensome and duplicative of other requests to which Respondent produced documents. “His employer” is not defined and is otherwise vague as Mr. Shaposhnik's employer is not EDS or HPES and “his employer” is not relevant to any of the claims. It also begs the question as to why HPES would think Respondent has any documents related to this topic as they did not meet Mr. Shaposhnik until 2014 or later as he testified to at his depositions in New York.

         ORDER: Shaposhnik is required to produce employment related communications as requested, between him and any predecessor to HPES.

         Request 2. All documents and communications which refer or relate to any inventions by Yona Shaposhnik, including any inventions Yona Shaposhnik invented with others.

         RESPONSE: This request is vague and ambiguous, overly broad and unduly burdensome and duplicative of other requests to which Respondent produced documents. Since requests 5, 6, 7, 9, and 10 already ask for every document related to the patents, this request adds no further categories that are relevant, is not properly defined, or seeks information that is not relevant or specific in nature.

         ORDER: Plaintiffs' response to 5, 6, 7, 9 and 10 are sufficient to answer this request.

         Request 3. All documents and communications referring or relating to the loss of any potential, actual or former investors, employees, workers, customers, clients, partners, members, and/or third party contractors of Pristine Machine, LLC because of any alleged action taken by HP Enterprise Services, LLC.

         RESPONSE: This is vague and ambiguous, overly broad and unduly burdensome and duplicative of other requests. For example, Request 4 seeks “All documents and communications referring or relating to Pristine Machine, LLC's loss of any actual or potential investors.” To the extent the request seeks information related to the patents, ownership, technology or investments, the Respondent has already searched for and produced documents.

         ORDER: Plaintiffs' response to other requests is sufficient.

         Request 8. All documents and communications referring or relating to the assignments filed by HP Enterprise Services, LLC with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office.

         RESPONSE: This request is vague and ambiguous, overly broad and unduly burdensome and duplicative of other requests. Document requests 5, 6, and 7 ask for all documents related to the ‘926 patent, technology, ownership and assignments. Can there be anything else left related to the patents not covered by such a broad request? Assignment is a subcategory of ownership, making these requests duplicative. Likewise, requests 9 and 10 ask for all documents related to the ‘patent, technology, and ownership of the [‘937] patent. Request 8 seemed to parallel request 5. Since requests 5, 7, and 10 already cover assignments request 8 has no further meaning, is not properly defined, or seeks information that is not relevant.

         ORDER: Plaintiffs' responses to other requests are sufficient.

         Request 13. All documents and communications referring or relating to HP Enterprise Services, LLC and/or Electronic Data Systems Corporation.

         RESPONSE: This request is vague and ambiguous, overly broad and unduly burdensome and duplicative of other requests to which Respondent produced documents. This request is overly broad as seeking information not relevant to any of the parties' claims. Respondent asked HPES to narrow the request and HPES refused. To the extent it seeks information related to the patents, ownership, technology or its investments, the Respondent has already searched for and produced documents.

         ORD ...


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