United States District Court, D. Minnesota
B. Briant, FAEGRE BAKER DANIELS LLP, James W. Poradek,
Katherine S. Razavi, Timothy M. Sullivan, and Patrick
Bottini, FAEGRE BAKER DANIELS LLP for plaintiff.
W. Hammell and JoLynn M. Markison, DORSEY &
WHITNEY LLP for defendant.
ORDER AFFIRMING ORDER OF MAGISTRATE JUDGE DATED
NOVEMBER 2, 2016
R. TUNHEIM Chief Judge United States District Court
September 22, 2016, Defendant St. Jude Medical, S.C., Inc.
(“St. Jude”) filed a motion for an order granting
leave to take the depositions of Dr. Christiano Caldeira and
Dr. Ernesto Jimenez. Counsel for Plaintiff Sorin Group USA,
Inc. (“Sorin”) objected to the new depositions at
this late stage, just weeks before trial. United States
Magistrate Judge Janie S. Mayeron orally denied St.
Jude's motion on October 17, 2016, indicating she would
file a written order explaining her reasoning. On October 26,
2016, before the Magistrate Judge filed her written order,
St. Jude filed objections to the denial of its motion. The
Magistrate Judge then filed a written order on November 2,
2016. The Court will affirm the Magistrate Judge's order
denying St. Jude's motion.
Jude and Sorin are competitors in the market for heart valves
and related products. (Mem. Op. & Order on Def.'s
Mot. for Summ. J. & Pl.'s Mot. to Exclude Expert
Test. (“Summ. J. Order”) at 2, Mar. 31, 2016,
Docket No. 167.) This case involves two former Sorin
employees, Danna Homan and John Mitch Tracy. (Id. at
1-2.) In its Complaint, Sorin alleges St. Jude recruited
Homan and Tracy, intending for both to breach their
contractual obligations to Sorin and, thereby, compete with
Sorin. (Second Am. Compl. ¶ 4, Oct. 5, 2015, Docket No.
Jude served its first set of interrogatories on Sorin in
February 2015. (Decl. of Joseph W. Hammell (“Hammell
Decl.”), Ex. F, Sept. 22, 2016, Docket No. 177.) In
March 2015, Sorin responded and identified Dr. Caldeira and
Dr. Jimenez as “accounts for which Homan was
responsible.” (Decl. of Jared B. Briant (“Briant
Decl.”), Ex. A at 2, Sept. 29, 2016, Docket No. 182;
id., Ex. C at 3-4.) After that date, various
deponents discussed the relevance of Dr. Caldeira and Dr.
Jimenez to the lawsuit. (Hammell Decl., Ex. H (Tracy
deposition on May 12, 2015, referencing Dr. Caldeira and Dr.
Jimenez more than 50 times); Briant Decl., Ex. D at 4-6 (Chad
Randall deposition on July 16, 2015, referencing Dr. Caldeira
and Dr. Jimenez); id., Ex. E at 4-6 (Julia Marquardt
deposition on July 15, 2015, referencing Dr. Caldeira
discovery closed on August 10, 2015. (Order Granting Joint
Stipulation to Modify Scheduling Order, July 23, 2015, Docket
No. 87.) The same day, Sorin moved to amend its complaint to
add a claim for punitive damages based largely on Sorin's
loss of Dr. Caldeira's business. (Pl.'s Mot. to Amend
to Add Punitive Damages, Aug. 10, 2015, Docket No. 88;
see also Briant Decl., Ex. A at 2.) On August 14,
2015, the parties exchanged expert reports and Sorin's
expert analyzed damages flowing from the loss of both Dr.
Caldeira's and Dr. Jimenez's business. (Hammell
Decl., Ex. A.)
August 20, 2015, St. Jude moved for summary judgment.
(Def.'s Mot. for Summ. J., Aug. 20, 2015, Docket No.
102.) To support its motion, St. Jude submitted declarations
from both Dr. Caldeira and Dr. Jimenez. (See Decl.
of Dr. Christiano C. Caldeira, Oct. 19, 2015, Docket No. 129;
Decl. of Dr. Ernesto Jimenez, Oct. 19, 2015, Docket No. 132.)
Sorin objected to the declarations, but the Court considered
the declarations as part of the motion for summary judgment.
(Summ. J. Order at 20 n.6.)
2016, Sorin and St. Jude almost agreed to stipulate that
Sorin would depose Dr. Caldeira and Dr. Jimenez, (Hammell
Decl., Ex. C), but Sorin ultimately decided it did not want
to take the depositions, (id., Ex. D). In June 2016,
the Court held a settlement conference, but the parties did
not reach a settlement. After unsuccessful settlement
negotiations, St. Jude spoke to Dr. Caldeira and Dr. Jimenez
about testifying at trial. (Id. ¶ 6.) Both
declined to travel to Minnesota for the November trial date
but indicated to St. Jude that they would sit for a
deposition in their states of residence. (Id.)
August 12, 2016, St. Jude informed Sorin it intended to take
the depositions of Dr. Caldeira and Dr. Jimenez; Sorin's
counsel objected. (Id., Ex. E.) On September 22,
2016, St. Jude filed a motion for an order granting leave to
take Dr. Caldeira's and Dr. Jimenez's depositions.
(Def.'s Mot. for Leave to Take the Trial Deps. of Dr.
Caldeira and Dr. Jimenez (“Mot. to Depose”),
Sept. 22, 2016, Docket No. 174.) The Magistrate Judge orally
denied St. Jude's motion, indicating a written order
would follow. (Decl. of JoLynn M. Markison (“Markison
Decl.”), Ex. A at 35-36, Oct. 26, 2016, Docket No.
192.) St. Jude filed objections to the Magistrate Judge's
order denying St. Jude's motion prior to the Magistrate
Judge issuing a written order. (Def.'s Objs., Oct. 26,
2016, Docket No. 191.)
Magistrate Judge filed a written order denying St. Jude's
motion on November 2, 2016. (Order (“Magistrate Judge
Order”), Nov. 2, 2016, Docket No. 241.) The Magistrate
Judge found, as relevant to this appeal: (1) the Fed.R.Civ.P.
16(b)(4) standard applies to the consideration of this
motion; (2) St. Jude failed to meet this standard because it
acted with a “palpable” lack of diligence in
attempting to take Dr. Caldeira's and Dr. Jimenez's
depositions; and (3) Sorin would be prejudiced if the Court
permitted St. Jude to take Dr. Caldeira's and Dr.
Jimenez's depositions this close to trial. (Id.
at 19-23, 29.) For the reasons set forth below, the Court
will affirm the Magistrate Judge's decision to deny St.