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In re Pork Antitrust Litigation

United States District Court, D. Minnesota

February 7, 2019

IN RE PORK ANTITRUST LITIGATION This Document Relates To All Actions

          ORDER

          HILDY BOWBEER, UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE

         This matter is before the Court on Defendants' Motion to Stay Discovery [Doc. No. 193]. The motion is granted in part and denied in part as set forth below and as further detailed on the record at the November 21, 2018, motion hearing and status conference and at the status conference on January 28, 2019, and in the Order Regarding Disclosure of Information filed contemporaneously herewith.

         I. Background

         On September 21, 2018, thirteen putative antitrust class actions were consolidated for pretrial purposes. (Order at 4-5 [Doc. No. 85].) Generally, the Plaintiffs in these matters allege that Defendants conspired or colluded to artificially raise, fix, or maintain prices in the pork market in violation of federal antitrust laws.

         On October 23, 2018, pursuant to a schedule established by the Court with the agreement of the parties, Defendants filed eleven motions to dismiss and a motion to stay discovery. The motions to dismiss were heard by the Honorable John R. Tunheim, Chief Judge, United States District Court, on January 28, 2019. The motion to stay was heard by the undersigned on November 21, 2018.

         A. The Parties' Positions on Conducting Discovery While the Motions to Dismiss Are Pending

          Significantly, neither side urged the Court to adopt an “all or nothing” approach to moving forward with discovery while the motions to dismiss are pending, although their respective positions about what precisely should occur during the interim are materially different. Plaintiffs initially proposed that the parties undertake the following tasks while the motions to dismiss are pending:

1. Make disclosures regarding ESI systems, employees with certain job duties, and other relevant information, as more specifically described in a Proposed Order Regarding Disclosure of Information (see Clark Decl. Ex. E [Doc. No. 205-2 at 25]);
2. Exchange Rule 26(a) initial disclosures;
3. Submit a Rule 26(f) report and conduct a Rule 16 pretrial conference to, inter alia, negotiate time periods and the number of interrogatories;
4. Produce all documents produced to the Department of Justice (DOJ) during a prior investigation of Agri Stats;
5. Negotiate the production of documents responsive to the Rule 34 requests Plaintiffs served on November 1, 2018;
6. Meet and confer on document sources, such as document custodians and ...

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