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Webb v. Ethicon Endo-Surgery, Inc.

United States District Court, D. Minnesota

July 7, 2015

SUSAN WEBB, Plaintiff,
v.
ETHICON ENDO-SURGERY, INC., Defendant.

William L. Tilton, George R. Dunn, Michael J. Gross, and Grace Davies, TILTON & DUNN, P.L.L.P., 101 Fifth Street East, Suite 2220, St. Paul, MN 55101, for plaintiff.

David R. Noteware, Timothy E. Hudson, and Janelle L. Davis, THOMPSON & KNIGHT LLP, One Arts Plaza, 1722 Routh Street, Suite 1500, Dallas, TX 75201, and Kim M. Schmid, and Sheryl A. Bjork, BOWMAN & BROOKE LLP, 150 South Fifth Street, Suite 3000, Minneapolis, MN 55402, for defendant.

MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER AFFIRMING ORDER OF MAGISTRATE JUDGE

JOHN R. TUNHEIM, Chief District Judge.

This is a products liability and negligent manufacturing action brought by Plaintiff Susan Webb ("Webb") against Defendant Ethicon Endo-Surgery, Inc. ("Ethicon"). On January 14, 2015, Webb moved to compel a videotaped inspection of Ethicon's Torres facility in Juarez, Mexico. On January 28, 2015, United States Magistrate Judge Jeffrey J. Keyes issued an oral order denying Webb's motion to compel. This matter is now before the Court on Webb's objection to the Magistrate Judge's order. Because the Court finds that the Magistrate Judge's order was neither clearly erroneous nor contrary to law, the Court will overrule Webb's objection.

BACKGROUND

I. FACTUAL HISTORY

The background for this action is described in detail in the Court's previous Order, see Webb v. Ethicon Endo-Surgery, Inc., No. 13-1947, 2014 WL 7213202, at *1-*4 (D. Minn. Dec. 17, 2014), and the Court will not repeat that history here. This action involves permanent health effects Webb allegedly suffered because of a defective Ethicon stapler. Webb had surgery in 2009 to remove an esophageal tumor, and the TX60B disposable surgical stapler used to close her internal tissue incision failed to fire properly, forcing the surgeon to close the incision with a hand-stitched suture line. (Notice of Removal, Ex. A ("Compl.") ¶¶ 6, 8-12, July 19, 2013, Docket No. 1; Aff. of Michael Gross ("Gross Aff."), Ex. 5 (Aff. of William M. Rupp. ("Rupp Aff.")) ¶¶ 3, 18, 22-25, 28-29, May 19, 2014, Docket No. 42.) After the surgery, Webb developed a postoperative leak at the surgical site, allegedly leading to persistent and permanent health effects. (Compl. ¶¶ 33-36; Rupp Aff. ¶¶ 29, 31.)

II. PLAINTIFF'S THIRD MOTION TO COMPEL

On January 14, 2015, Webb filed a motion to compel a videotaped inspection of Ethicon's "Torres" manufacturing facility in Juarez, Mexico. (Pl.'s Third Mot. to Compel, Jan. 14, 2015, Docket No. 252.) Following a hearing on January 28, 2015, the Magistrate Judge denied the motion in an oral order. (Oral Order, Jan. 28, 2015, Docket No. 266.) In his order, the Magistrate Judge cited five reasons for denying Webb's motion:

1) plaintiff's own expert has already been deposed and did not express any need to inspect the facility to prepare his report; 2) [the inspection] would be a poor allocation of time and money; 3) an inspection at this time is not timely with respect to the original product manufacture[d] 6 years prior; 4) there has been no clear expression by plaintiff of the educational value or evidentiary purpose to be derived from a manufacturing facilities inspection; and [5]) plaintiff already has pertinent information regarding [Ethicon's] manufacturing processes.

( Id. ) Webb timely objected to the oral order. (Pl.'s Objection Under L.R. 72.2 to the Order Dated January 28, 2015, Feb. 11, 2015, Docket No. 267.) This matter is now before the Court on Webb's objection.

DISCUSSION

I. STANDARD OF REVIEW

A magistrate judge has broad discretion over matters of discovery. Shukh v. Seagate Tech., LLC, 295 F.R.D. 228, 238 (D. Minn. 2013). A district court's review of a magistrate judge's order on a nondispositive matter is "extremely deferential." Roble v. Celestica Corp., 627 F.Supp.2d 1008, 1014 (D. Minn. 2007); see also United States v. Raddatz, 447 U.S. 667, 673 (1980). The Court will reverse such an order only if it is clearly erroneous or contrary to law. See 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1)(A); Fed.R.Civ.P. 72(a); D. Minn. LR 72.2(a)(3). For an order to be clearly erroneous, the district court must have a "definite and firm ...


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