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Bombardier Recreational Products Inc. v. Arctic Cat Inc.

United States District Court, D. Minnesota

February 21, 2017

BOMBARDIER RECREATIONAL PRODUCTS INC. and BRP U.S. INC., Plaintiffs/Counter Defendants,
v.
ARCTIC CAT INC. and ARCTIC CAT SALES INC., Defendants/Counter Claimants.

          Harry C. Marcus and Robert K. Goethals, LOCKE LORD LLP, and Kevin D. Conneely, STINSON LEONARD STREET LLP, Minneapolis, MN 55402, for plaintiffs.

          Annamarie A. Daley, JONES DAY, and Niall A. MacLeod, KUTAK ROCK LLP, for defendants.

          MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER ON OBJECTIONS TO ORDER OF THE MAGISTRATE JUDGE

          JOHN R. TUNHEIM, CHIEF JUDGE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT

         Plaintiffs Bombardier Recreational Products Inc. and BRP U.S. Inc. (collectively, “Bombardier”) and Defendants Arctic Cat Inc. and Arctic Cat Sales Inc. (collectively, “Arctic Cat”) both object to portions of the order issued by U.S. Magistrate Judge Leo I. Brisbois. In that order, the Magistrate Judge granted in part and denied in part Arctic Cat's motion to compel, Arctic Cat's motion to strike portions of Bombardier's expert reports, and Bombardier's motion to strike portions of Arctic Cat's expert reports. The Magistrate Judge also denied Bombardier's motion to transfer venue and motion to compel additional discovery.

         Bombardier objects to the Magistrate Judge's denial of its motion to transfer venue and several aspects of the Magistrate Judge's decision on its motion to strike. Arctic Cat objects to the Magistrate Judge's decision on several aspects of its motion to strike and its motion to compel. Because the Court finds no good cause to allow Arctic Cat to provide expert testimony essentially amending its claim chart, the Court will sustain Bombardier's objection and reverse the Magistrate Judge's order with regard to David Karpik's upper column opinion. In all other respects, the Court will overrule the parties' objections and affirm the order of the Magistrate Judge.

         ANALYSIS

         I. STANDARD OF REVIEW

         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 conviction that a mistake has been committed.” Lisdahl v. Mayo Found., 633 F.3d 712, 717 (8th Cir. 2011) (quoting Anderson v. City of Bessemer City, 470 U.S. 564, 573 (1985)).

         II. BOMBARDIER'S OBJECTIONS

         A. Motion to Transfer Venue

         Bombardier objects to the Magistrate Judge's denial of its motion to transfer venue pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1404(b). Section 1404(b) provides for transfer from one division to another within the same district, and Bombardier moved to transfer from the Sixth Division to the Fourth Division so that trial could be held in the Minneapolis courthouse rather than in Fergus Falls. The Magistrate Judge weighed the typical factors for a motion to transfer venue: the convenience of the parties, the convenience of the witnesses, and the interests of justice; but, also recognized that the burden is not as heavy for an intra-district transfer. (Order at 27-28, Apr. 19, 2016, Docket No. 704.)

         Bombardier objects to the Magistrate Judge's finding that the convenience of the witnesses weighed against transfer, arguing that the Magistrate Judge's finding rested on the erroneous conclusion that transfer would result in the loss of subpoena power over a non-party, non-expert witness. (Bombardier's Objs. at 3; see also Order at 30-31.) Bombardier correctly asserts that the Court would in fact maintain subpoena power over this witness because he resides in the same state, so long as he “would not incur substantial expense.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 45(c)(1)(B)(ii). Furthermore, even if the witness would incur substantial expense, “the party that served the subpoena may pay that expense and the court can condition enforcement of the subpoena on such payment.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 45 advisory committee's note to 2013 amendment. Bombardier also objects to the Magistrate Judge's reliance on Bombardier's “delay” in bringing the motion to transfer, arguing that it brought the motion when it became necessary, once it became clear that trial was likely. (Bombardier's Objs. at 5.)

         But, even without relying on the reasoning Bombardier objects to, the Magistrate Judge's overall conclusion - that the convenience of parties, witnesses, and interests of justice does not weigh in favor of transfer - was not clearly erroneous or contrary to law. Each location would be inconvenient for a party and some of its witnesses. Bombardier now also argues that the courtroom facilities and the accommodations available in the Minneapolis area compared to those available in Fergus Falls support finding the interests of justice require transfer. However, it appears that Bombardier did not make this argument before the Magistrate ...


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