Civil No. 04-4858 (JNE/JJG)
United States District Court, D. Minnesota
Filed November 09, 2005
Daniel T. DeFeo and Gary Stoneking, Esqs., for Plaintiffs Micheal Robeck and Sheila Robeck.
Theodore Dorenkamp and George Soule, Esqs., for Defendant Ford Motor Company
*1 The above-entitled matter came on for hearing before the undersigned Magistrate Judge of the District Court on November 3, 2004, on three motions brought by Plaintiffs: (1) Plaintiffs’ Motion for Order to Modify the Court’s Order of September 9, 2005 (Doc. No. 64), (2) Plaintiffs’ Second Motion for Order Compelling Further Responses to Ford’s Responses to Plaintiffs’ Request for Production, and the Court’s Order of September 9, 2005 (Doc. No. 67), and (3) Plaintiffs’ Second Motion for Extension of Discovery Schedule (Doc. No. 57). The matter has been referred to the undersigned pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 636 and D. Minn. L.R. 72.1.
Plaintiffs Michael and Sheila Robeck, husband and wife, filed suit against Defendant Ford Motor Company (“Ford”) in November 2004. This products liability suit arises from a rollover crash of Plaintiffs’ 2001 Ford F-150 Supercab pickup truck (“Supercab”) in which the driver, Sheila Robeck, suffered severe injuries. Plaintiffs claim Ford is liable for various design and structure defects of the vehicle. Ford denies Plaintiffs’ claims.
The Pretrial Scheduling Order, as amended on September 9, 2005, mandates, in pertinent part, that the period in which the parties may seek non-expert discovery be completed by December 15, 2005; that Plaintiffs disclose their experts by January 30, 2006, and expert reports byMarch15, 2006; and that Defendant disclose its experts by March 16, 2006, and expert reports by April 15, 2006. Expert depositions are to be completed by June 1, 2006. Non-dispositive discovery motions are to be filed prior to June 15, 2005, and dispositive motions must be noticed, filed and served by July 1, 2006. A Protective Order was entered by the Court on April 15, 2005.
1. Plaintiffs’ Motion for Order to Modify the Court’s Order of September 9, 2005
Based upon the file, legalmemoranda, exhibits and arguments of counsel, and for the reasons stated by the Court at the close of the November 3, 2005 hearing, the Court determined that Plaintiff’s Motion for Order to Modify the Court’s Order of September 9, 2005, was without merit and issued an oral ruling at that time that Plaintiffs’ motion would be DENIED. The Court reiterates here that the proper scope of discovery in this matter has been previously determined by the Court and the parties are strongly encouraged to accept the scope as established in the Court’s prior Orders and to acknowledge and proceed under this scope in all future matters relating to this litigation. The Court found no basis upon which to modify the September 9 Order as requested by Plaintiffs and reiterates its ruling here in the interest providing a single docket entry for the all of the motions brought before the Court for consideration on November 3, 2005.
2. Plaintiffs’ Second Motion to Compel
Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 1 mandates that the Rules be construed to “secure the just, speedy and inexpensive determination of every action.” The Rules contemplate liberal discovery, allowing for the discovery of non-privileged information reasonably calculated to lead to the discovery of admissible evidence related to the claim or defense of any party. Fed.R.Civ.P. 26(b)(1). A party is allowed to fully explore the relevant facts so that it can present reasoned and informed evidence and theories at trial. However, relevant discovery may be limited if the court determines that “the burden or expense of the proposed discovery outweighs its likely benefit.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 26(b)(2); see also Tenkku v. Normandy Bank, 348 F.3d 737, 743 (8th Cir.2003). Discovery may be further limited to the scope of the claims and defenses asserted in the pleadings, and parties are not entitled to use the discovery process to develop new claims or defenses not reasonably identified in the pleadings. Fed.R.Civ.P. 26 Advisory Committee Notes (2000); see also Crawford-El v. Britton, 523 U.S. 574, 599 (1988) (court had broad discretion to tailor discovery narrowly). Particularly in the event of “sweeping or contentious discovery,” such as that sought in the instant matter, the Court may regulate the breadth of discovery. Fed.R.Civ.P. 26 Advisory Committee Notes (2000). Chief United States Magistrate Judge Lebedoff established a clear and specifically delineated scope of discovery in his September 9, 2005 Order following a hearing on Plaintiffs’ first Motion to Compel. The scope of model and design discovery in this action is materials relevant to the 1997 through 2003 Ford F-150 trucks (the model known as PN-96), for all issues except the door latch, for which the scope is limited to materials relevant to the 1999 through 2003 Ford F-150 trucks. See Order, September 9, 2005, p.5-6). In addition, the scope of discovery concerning alternative design includes responsive information concerning the 2004 model year Ford F-150 that was known or available to Ford prior to December 22, 2001. Id. Given the clarity of discovery boundaries set forth by the Court in this matter, the Court strongly urges both parties to accept this scope and to engage in the exchange of discovery in a cooperative manner and in compliance with the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure.
*2 Ford continues to assert that it has produced responsive documents for each category at issue or represents that it is engaging in efforts to search for, locate, and produce further responsive documents. As a general matter, this Court will no longer by satisfied with Ford’s general statements of ongoing searches and declarations of its intention to produce the results of these searches when confronted with its failure to adequately and completely participate in the discovery process. Ford has had ample time and opportunity to comply with the Court’s Orders and the discovery rules as they apply to the production of responsive documents within the scope of discovery in this matter.
Furthermore, the Court does not intend to entertain any further attempts by Plaintiffs to secure an expansion of the scope of discovery in this matter. Because this Court concludes that a vast majority of Plaintiffs’ contentions and complaints in the instant motion are based upon a scope of discovery that far exceeds the proper scope defined in this matter, Plaintiffs’ Second Motion to Compel is denied unless explicitly granted herein, and any such partial grant by the Court within this Order is intended only to the extent that Ford is ordered to produce responsive materials that are within the scope of discovery as defined in this and prior Court Orders.
With that said, Plaintiffs’ Second Motion to Compel identifies discovery disputes centered around several different categories of information sought by Plaintiffs: (1) responsive documents ordered under the Court’s September 9, 2005 Order, (2) responses related to Plaintiffs’ document requests numbered 1-6, 25, 33, 54, 57-60, 62-66, 70-75, and 77-79 discussed at the parties’ Local Rule 37.1 meeting held on September 30, 2005, and (3) several miscellaneous discovery issues not directly relating to any particular discovery request. The Court will address these areas in turn, within the context of the proper scope of discovery in this action.
A. Discovery Issues Related to The Court’s September 9, 2005 Order
1. Alternative Design Discovery
Plaintiffs ask the Court to compel production of certain alternative design materials as required under the September 9 Order (“the Order”). In the Order, Ford was required to produce responsive information concerning the 2004 model year Ford F-150 that was known or available to it prior to December 21, 2001, and to do so on or before September 30, 2005. At the November 3rd hearing, counsel for Ford stated that it had produced additional information responsive to Plaintiffs’ alternative design request on October 26, 2005. Counsel for Ford also indicated that there may be additional discoverable documents required under the Order, and that Ford was looking into this possibility. To the extent that Ford has failed to produce any responsive materials concerning alternative design, it is ordered to produce these materials no later than the close of business on December 15, 2005.
To the extent that information responsive to these requests are contained in a form that is only accessible through electronic means, the parties are ordered to discuss the possibility of a “joint-viewing” procedure that will allow Plaintiffs to gain electronic access of the appropriate Ford systems to view electronic alternative design information that is responsive within the scope of discovery in this case.
If the parties are unable to reach an agreement, or are in need of further Court intervention following their efforts to resolve this issue on their own, the Court invites the parties to file a joint request for such intervention at such a time it becomes necessary stating each party’s position and clearly identifying the areas of disagreement. The Court further orders that the parties reach an agreement or request intervention by the Court no later than the close of business on December 15, 2005.
2. Suspension Orders and Privilege Logs
*3 Plaintiffs contend that Ford has failed to meet its obligation under both the Order and Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 26(b)(5) to produce an adequate privilege log for all documents Ford has withheld from production on the basis of an asserted privilege or protection. Ford asserts that it has met its obligations regarding privilege logs to the best of its ability in light of the overly broad and vague language of the document requests issued by Plaintiffs.
The Court has reviewed the privilege log regarding the suspension orders submitted by Ford and finds that it complies with the provisions set forth in Rule 26(b)(5). However, the Court finds that Ford has failed to meet its full obligations under Rule 26(b)(5) regarding privilege logs. Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 26(b)(5) states that
When a party withholds information otherwise discoverable under these rules by claiming that it is privileged or subject to protection as trial preparation material, the party shall make the claim expressly and shall describe the nature of the documents, communications, or things not produced or disclosed in a manner that, without revealing information itself privileged or protected, will enable other parties to assess the applicability of the privilege or protection.
Paragraph 5 was added to Rule 26(b) in 1993. The Advisory Committee Notes introducing the new provision state
A party must notify other parties if it is withholding materials otherwise subject to disclosure under the rule or pursuant to a discovery request because it is asserting a claim or privilege or work product protection. To withhold materials without such notification is contrary to the rule, subjects the party to sanctions under Rule 37(b)(2), and may be viewed as a waiver of the privilege or protection.
The obligation to provide pertinent information concerning withheld privileged materials applies only to items “otherwise discoverable.” If a broad discovery request is made –for example, for all documents of a particular type during a twenty year period–and the responding party believes in good faith that production of documents for more than the past three years would be unduly burdensome, it should make its objection to the breadth of the request and, with respect to the documents generated in that three year period, produce the unprivileged documents and describe those withheld under the claim of privilege. If the Court later rules that documents for a seven year period are properly discoverable, the documents for the additional four years should then be either produced (if not privileged) or described (if claimed to be privileged).
Fed. R. Civ. P. 26(b)(5) Advisory Committee Notes (1993).
By its own admission, Ford has produced thousands of responsive documents in response to Plaintiffs’ discovery requests. Ford has not, however, provided Plaintiffs with a full and adequate privilege log identifying those documents that have been withheld in whole or in part by Ford due to the assertion of a privilege or protection. Therefore, to the extent that Ford seeks to rely on a privilege or protection to withhold any responsive document from production, it is ordered to produce a full and adequate privilege log in order to stand on their objections to production based on privilege. In the context of any document that would produced by Ford within the established scope of discovery, but is instead withheld on the basis of an asserted privilege or protection, Ford is ordered to provide a complete privilege log no later than the close of business on December 15, 2005. Ford is also reminded of its on-going obligation to supplement the record under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 26(e).
*4 Plaintiffs also seek discovery of the underlying data referenced in the privileged and protected “suspension orders.” The suspension orders have been described as containing lists of categories of documents that Ford’s attorney have advised Ford employees to retain notwithstanding Ford’s retention policy. Ford is required to produce any underlying documents referenced in the suspension orders that are independently responsive to any of Plaintiffs’ requests, unless Ford can assert an independent privilege for the underlying document itself. See Audiotext Communications Network, Inc. v. U.S. Telecom, Inc., 164 F.R.D. 250, 252 (D. Kan. 1996) (“The selecting and grouping of information does not transform discoverable documents into work product.”).
Counsel for Ford represented to the Court that Ford was adequately producing the underlying information within its responses to other requests for production as they were relevant and responsive. To the extent that Ford has not produced any of the underlying documents that are responsive to any of Plaintiffs’ requests and within the defined scope of discovery, Ford is order to produce these materials unless an independent privilege or protection for the document can be asserted. Ford is also reminded of its obligations under Rule 26(b)(5) concerning privilege logs should any of the underlying documents be withheld on the basis of privilege.
3. Request No. 124 - Document Collection Indexes
The parties agree that Ford has complied with the parties’ agreement regarding production of document collection indexes by producing such indexes for those collections with “AER” and “EXP” prefixes. However, Ford has not yet produced a collection index for the “DAA” document collection. Ford has already supplied Plaintiffs with a list of its document collections and their prefixes, which includes a collection with the prefix “DAA.” Plaintiffs have demonstrated the existence of at least one document already produced by Ford in this matter containing a document stamp with a “DAA” prefix that contains information concerning PN-96 vehicles. The Court agrees with Plaintiffs’ that Ford must also produce the “DAA” collection index under Request 124, and must do so no later than the close of business on December 15, 2005. Ford is ordered to respond to any subsequent request by Plaintiffs for the production of specific documents identified within these indexes within ten days of receiving the request by producing the requested document or asserting an appropriate reason for withholding its production.
Ford has represented that it has fully produced relevant “Program Description Manuals” and/or “Program Description Letters” discoverable in this matter, and that a Program Description Manual does not exits for the 1997-2003 PN-96. Plaintiffs suggest, but have not provided any specific evidence that such a document exists.
Absent evidence to the contrary, the Court will accept Ford’s representation that it is complying with its discovery obligations, and that it has produced all responsive information within its possession. See Prokosh v. Catalina Lighting, Inc., 193 F.R.D. 633, 637 (D. Minn. 2000); Onwuka v. Fed. Express Corp., 178 F.R.D. 508, 514 n.2 (D. Minn. 1997) (citations omitted).
4. Request No. 25 - “Black Box” Data
*5 The Court is perplexed at the parties inability to cooperate with one another to effectuate the discovery of the data contained on the so-called “black box” installed on the Robeck’s 2001 F-150 Supercab. Ford states that it has produced the “data fields” contained within the “black box” and that downloading the actual data is a matter of coordination with Plaintiffs regarding a time to undertake the download. The parties are ordered to work together to identify a mutually convenient time and procedure for retrieving all of the data fields and all of the data from the Robeck vehicle’s “black box” in such a manner that full production is completed no later than the close of business on December 15, 2005.
5. Organized Production Issues
Plaintiffs contend that Defendant has not produced documents in an organized manner as required under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 34. Specifically, Plaintiffs complain that Defendant has not identified which documents have been produced in response to which document request. Defendant stated at the November 3rd hearing that the document production has evolved from specifically numbered document requests to a more general categorical approach, and back to a specifically numbered approach.
Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 34(b) requires that “a party who produces documents for inspection shall produce them as they are kept in the usual course of business or shall organize and label them to correspond with the categories in the request.” Ford has made no representation that it has produced documents to Plaintiffs as they are kept in the usual course of business. Accordingly, and pursuant to Rule 34(b), Ford is ordered to provide Plaintiffs’ with a list of which documents produced by Ford are responsive to what requests submitted by Plaintiffs. For the period during which Ford produced documents according to categories of requests, Ford is permitted to identify the category or categories to which the produced documents are responsive. For all other production, Ford is ordered to state the document request number to which all responsive documents are offered. Ford is ordered to provide the identifications described above no later than the close of business on December 15, 2005.
B. Discovery Issues Related to the September 30, 2005 Local Rule 37.1 Meet and Confer
1. Requests for Similar Accidents - Request Nos. 1-5
Ford represents that it has produced responsive information regarding other similar accidents within the defined scope of discovery in this case. Ford represents its production includes “a list of claims and lawsuits involving an injury rollover accident of 1997-2003 F-150 or lawsuits involving any accident (not just rollovers) in which there was an allegation of door latch failure (any door latch, not just front door latch) in a 2001-2003 F-150.” (Def.’s Mem. Opp’n Mot. Compel at. 22). The Court orders Ford to respond fully to this request within the established scope of discovery by producing a list of all claims and lawsuits involving an injury rollover accident of a 1997-2003 F-150 or lawsuits involving accidents (not just rollovers) in which there was an allegation of a failure of any of the components at issue in this matter on a 1997-2003 F-150, with the exception of allegations of door latch failure for which the scope is limited to a 1999-2003 F-150. Ford is order to produce this information no later than the close of business on December 15, 2005.
2. Organizational Directories - Request No. 6
Ford represents that on October 27, 2005, it completed its production of all of the organizational directories at issue in Plaintiffs’ Request Number 6. Absent evidence to the contrary, the Court will accept Ford’s representation that it is complying with its discovery obligations, and that it has produced all responsive information within its possession. See Prokosh, 193 F.R.D. 633; Onwuka, 178 F.R.D. 508.
3. Design Verification Plan and Report - Request No. 33
*6 Ford states that it is currently searching for additional documents responsive to this request as agreed upon by the parties during their September 30th meeting. Ford contends it has not had sufficient time to conduct its search for these documents since the September 30th meeting. The Court notes that Ford has previously argued to this Court that it could complete all of its responses to Plaintiffs’ requests by October 15, 2005, and subsequently indicated to Plaintiffs that it could comply with its agreements made at the September 30th meeting within one month. The Court further notes that both of these time frames have expired with Ford now asserting it needs more time to fully comply with its discovery obligations. The Court orders Ford to produce all documents responsive to this requests no later than the close of business on December 15, 2005.
4. Failure Mode Effects Analysis - Request No. 54
Ford represents that subsequent to the parties’ September 30th meeting, it conducted searches for additional documents responsive to this request, but located none. Absent evidence to the contrary, the Court will accept Ford’s representation that it is complying with its discovery obligations, and that it has produced all responsive information within its possession. See Prokosh, 193 F.R.D. 633; Onwuka, 178 F.R.D. 508.
5. Safety Advantages and Disadvantages - Request Nos. 57,58,59, 60 and 77
Ford has agreed to search for and produce studies related to the restraint system as applied in the 1997-2003 PN-96, the defined scope of discovery in this case. Counsel for Ford stated it would complete production regarding this request with the delivery of documents to Plaintiffs at the conclusion of the November 3rd hearing. Given the last-minute production by Ford regarding this request coupled with Plaintiffs’ lack of time to evaluate the completeness of Ford’s production under the established scope of discovery, the Court will order Ford to complete its production of these studies no later than the close of business on December 15, 2005.
Representations by Ford’s counsel at the hearing that Ford has produced all of the information it has regarding “dynamic testing” of the vehicles within the scope of discovery must be accepted by this Court. Absent evidence to the contrary, the Court will accept Ford’s representation that it is complying with its discovery obligations, and that it has produced all responsive information within its possession. See Prokosh, 193 F.R.D. 633; Onwuka, 178 F.R.D. 508. However, representations by Ford’s counsel that additional searches are underway regarding dynamic testing performed outside the context of litigation leads the Court to again reminds Ford of its ongoing obligation to supplement the record under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 26(e).
6. Cost Benefit Analysis - Request No. 62
Ford acknowledges its agreement on September 30th to produce documents responsive to this request relating to the 1997-2003 PN-96 and the components at issue in this lawsuit, as well as “cost benefit analysis” documents applicable to the 2004 P-221 F-150 created prior to December 22, 2001. The Court finds Ford’s description of the responsive documents it will produce in response to this request to be consistent with the established scope of discovery and orders Ford to produce these responsive documents no later than the close of business on December 15, 2005.
7. Risk of Rollover, Stability, Handling and Rollover Resistance Systems - Request Nos. 63, 64, 65 and 66
Ford represents that the Advance Trac System (also known as “electronic stability control”) was not incorporated into the subject PN-96. However, per the parties’ agreement, Ford states it has produced all electronic stability control documents in Ford’s possession, custody or control for the current model up through December 22, 2001. It is unclear to the Court whether Ford has responded fully to this request within the established scope of discovery. Therefore, to the extent that the stability control system documents already produced by Ford do not include documents concerning the stability and handling, rollover resistance, and/or the safety of occupants during a rollover for the PN-96 and the 2004 P-221 F-150 created prior to December 22, 2001, Ford is ordered to produce such responsive documents no later than the close of business on December 15, 2005.
8. Testing Ford Vehicles - Request Nos. 70, 71, 73-75, & 78
*7 As part of the parties’ September 30th agreement, Ford agreed to produce responsive documents relating to roof crush, glazing, and restraint system testing applicable to the 1997-2003 PN-96. Ford states it has produced all documents relating to roof-crush testing and is conducting further searches regarding glazing and restraint testing. To the extent Ford has not produced documents relating to Ford’s testing of any of the components at issue in this case on the 1997-2003 PN-96, with the exception of the limited scope regarding door latches, Ford is ordered to produce these responsive documents no later than the close of business on December 15, 2005.
9. SM-1 Testing Procedures - Request No. 79
Ford represents that it has fully met its discovery obligations regarding Request No. 79. Absent evidence to the contrary, the Court will accept Ford’s representation that it is complying with its discovery obligations, and that it has produced all responsive information within its possession. See Prokosh, 193 F.R.D. 633; Onwuka, 178 F.R.D. 508.
C. Miscellaneous Discovery Issues Not Directed To A Specific Request
Plaintiffs complain that Ford is withholding the production of responsive documents that Plaintiffs contend exist within Ford’s electronic databases. Plaintiffs seek an order from this Court compelling the production of Ford’s electronic databases that contain documents within the categories of requested information brought before the Court in their motion in their entirety. Plaintiffs seek this production to aid Plaintiffs’ determination of whether or not Ford is fully meeting its discovery obligations and not improperly withholding responsive documents. Plaintiffs further seek access to Ford’s document retention policy and the production by Ford of the specifics of its electronic searches and results as verification and proof that responsive documents do or do not in fact exist in Ford’s databases, as well as to demonstrate the adequacy of the document searches Ford professes to be conducting.
The Court denies these requests by Plaintiffs and finds that the majority of Plaintiffs’ complaints regarding the lack of discovery from Ford stem from their insistence upon an exceedingly broad definition of the scope of discovery in this matter. Notwithstanding the possibility that Ford still has a substantial amount of production to accomplish within the defined scope of discovery, a potentiality this Court attempts to manage through the instant Order, Ford has adequately demonstrated to this Court its attempts to commence production of responsive materials at least within a scope of discovery Ford felt was adequate and proper.
Attempts by Plaintiffs to implicate Ford’s discovery efforts to date with arguments based on excessive delay and inadequacy of production in this case, or based on references to the procedures and processes in unrelated litigation occurring in other jurisdiction across the country are unpersuasive. The Court finds Plaintiffs’ arguments regarding inadequate production by Ford and the relentless pursuit of an expanded scope of discovery in this case unavailing. The Court is of the firm opinion that much of the delay in discovery production experienced by Plaintiffs can largely be attributed to Plaintiffs’ misguided view of an excessively broad discovery scope. The Court finds no legal or practical basis for compelling discovery of entire electronic databases, nor does it find any rational for reopening the issue of document retention policies given that this issue was fully considered and decided in the September 9 Order of the Court.
3. Plaintiffs’ Second Motion For Extension of Discovery Schedule
*8 A request to modify a pretrial scheduling order requires a showing of good cause by the moving party. D. Minn. L.R. 16.3; Bradford v. Dana Corp., 249 F.3d 807, 809 (8th Cir. 2001). While prejudice to the nonmoving party provides a reason to deny alteration of the pretrial schedule, it is not dispositive. The inquiry turns on a showing of good cause by the moving party. Bradford, 249 F.3d at 809 (citations omitted). The Eight Circuit has emphasized that “[a]s a vehicle designed to streamline the flow of litigation through our crowded dockets, we do not take case management orders lightly, and will enforce them.” Id. Even if a party makes the necessary showing, the decision to allow amendment is left to the Court’s sound discretion. Fed. R. Civ. P. 16(b).
Plaintiffs seek to extend the entire pretrial schedule by six months. Defendant rejects the need to extend fact discovery at all, but does not object to a forty-five day extension only to allow for the completion of numerous outstanding fact depositions. The Court finds that Plaintiffs have shown adequate cause for a FOUR month extension. Hence, in its discretion, the Court amends the pretrial schedule by extending all remaining dates by four months, as detailed below. However, these amended dates do not alter the specific production deadlines set forth in the body of this opinion regarding the parties’ obligations to produce certain responsive documents.
Based upon all the files, records and proceedings herein, IT IS HEREBY ORDERED:
(1) Plaintiffs’ Second Motion for Order Compelling Further Responses to Ford’s Responses to Plaintiffs’ Request for Production, and the Court’s Order of September 9, 2005 (Doc. No. 67) is GRANTED IN PART and DENIED IN PART as explained fully in the body of this Order. All outstanding discovery discussed here in is due to Plaintiffs as expressly stated herein.
(2) Plaintiffs’ Second Motion for Extension of Discovery Schedule (Doc. No. 57) is GRANTED IN PART and DENIED IN PART. All remaining dates in the Pretrial Schedule shall be extended by four months as follows:
a. The period during which the parties may seek non-expert discovery shall be completed by April 15, 2006;
b. Plaintiffs shall disclose all expert witnesses by May 30, 2006, and reports by July 15, 2006; Defendant shall disclose all expert witnesses by July 16, 2006 and reports by August 15, 2006; Expert witness depositions shall be completed by October 1, 2006;
c. All non-dispositive motions, specifically those which relate to discovery and the discovery period, must be filed prior to October 15, 2006;
d. Until further notice, all dispositive motions must be noticed, filed and served, in accordance with the Local Rules, prior to November 1, 2006; and
e. This case will be considered “ready for trial” as of December 1, 2006.
(3) To reiterate the Court’s Oral Order at the close of the November 3, 2005 hearing, Plaintiffs’ Motion for Order to Modify the Court’s Order of September 9, 2005 (Doc. No. 64) is DENIED.
The parties discussed “IDEA” or “IDEAS” files/CDs with the Court at the November 3rd hearing. Ford indicated that these files can only be viewed through a third-party software license, which Ford has purchased for its ordinary business use, but Plaintiffs have not. Plaintiffs contend that this license is insurmountably expensive, and suggests that Court-ordered access to Ford’s systems for the purpose of examining this electronic information would be the most practical and efficient method of production.
Plaintiffs suggest Exhibit 22 to their Second Motion to Compel “plainly shows one location” of a Program Description Manual for the PN-96. However, close review of this documents shows that while it references PN-96 on several occasions and is therefore discoverable, the document contains no specific reference to a “Program Description Manual” as suggested by Plaintiffs.
The Court finds that while Ford has not shown any deliberate speed in complying with its discovery obligation in this matter, its self-determined scope within which to begin production of responsive documents was not to far afield from the discovery scope ultimately established by this Court.
End of Document.