United States District Court, E.D. Michigan, Northern Division
ORDER DENYING MOTION TO RE-OPEN DISCOVERY
L. LUDINGTON UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
7, 2018, Plaintiff B&P Littleford, LLC
(“B&P”) filed a complaint against Defendants
Prescott Machinery, LLC (“Prescott”) and Ray
Miller. Plaintiff alleges that Defendants misappropriated
“confidential, proprietary, and other trade secret
information” from Plaintiff. ECF No. 1 at PageID.1. On
June 13, 2019, Plaintiff filed a motion to reopen discovery.
The motion will be denied.
to its initial complaint, Plaintiff designs and manufactures
“a wide variety of highly engineered mixers, dryers,
extruders, compounders, kneaders, reaction vessels,
Podbielniak Centrifuges, and centrifugal separation equipment
for manufacturing applications.” ECF No. 1 at PageID.3.
Defendant Miller was previously employed at B&P in
various capacities, including as a board member and
B&P's President and Chief Executive Officer.
Id. at PageID.4. Miller's employment gave him
access to B&P's confidential and trade secret
information, including information related to the Mixer.
Id. at PageID.5.
2008, Miller terminated his employment with B&P.
Id. As part of his termination, he entered into a
confidential settlement and release agreement with Plaintiff
in which he represented
Since July 31, 2008, [Miller] has not had and does not have
physical possession of or access to any customer lists,
software, records, manuals, equipment, drawings, blue prints,
or confidential proprietary information of or about B&P,
whether hard copy or electronic. Nor has Miller given any
such materials or information to any other person for any
purpose other than to advance the business interests of
Id. at PageID.6. Soon after terminating his
employment with Plaintiff, Miller started the company
Prescott Machinery, LLC. Id. He is its president.
the products produced by Plaintiff is a 16 PVM Planetary
Vertical Mixer (“Mixer”) that had been installed
in the 1960s at the United States Navy's Surface Weapons
Center at China Lake, California. Plaintiff developed the
Mixer in order to “provide a high speed mixer with
close tolerances to improve over other mixers in the
marketplace.” Id. at PageID.7. In 2017, the
Navy issued a Request for Proposal to “retrofit and
overhaul the Mixer.” Id. Plaintiff submitted a
response to the request, but the Navy awarded the contract
(“China Lake contract”) to Prescott. A B&P
vendor subsequently received copies of Prescott's
drawings because the vendor was asked to supply parts for the
China Lake contract. The vendor provided these drawings to
Plaintiff. Plaintiff alleges that “[a] review of
Prescott's drawings and schematics received from the
vendor shows that B&P's confidential and trade secret
technical drawings were used in Prescott's attempt to
source parts for the Navy's contract.” Id.
7, 2018, Plaintiff filed its complaint against Miller and
Prescott. It contended that Defendants violated the Federal
Defend Trade Secrets Act and the Michigan Uniform Trade
Secrets Act and was liable for civil conspiracy and
conversion. Plaintiff further alleged that Miller was liable
for breach of contract, breach of the duty of loyalty and
fiduciary duty, promissory estoppel, and unjust enrichment.
Plaintiff also contended that Prescott was liable for
tortious interference with contractual relations.
October 16, 2019, Plaintiff filed a motion to compel. ECF No.
21. The motion was referred to Magistrate Judge Morris who
held a hearing on November 20, 2018. ECF No. 31. She granted
the motion in part and denied it in part. During the hearing,
she explained that discovery was limited to the scope of
Plaintiff's complaint, specifically those drawings and
trade secret information related to the project at issue in
Plaintiff's complaint, the Mixer and the China Lake
contract. During the hearing, Judge Morris held:
It's the single project and it's five drawings. I
think that the scope of discovery should allow the plaintiff
to seek information about both those things in the sense that
plaintiff should not be limited to the five drawings, but
rather any drawings or other information that was
misappropriated by Miller to Prescott and how that happened,
or how Prescott got it, whether it was through Miller or
someone else, relating only to this project.
ECF No. 32 at PageID.650-651. Accordingly, the scope of
discovery was limited to discovery related to the Mixer and