United States District Court, D. Massachusetts
BARRY K. WINTERS, et al.
OCEAN SPRAY CRANBERRIES, INC.
ZOBEL SENIOR UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
its beginning, this case has been mired in motion practice,
four dispositive motions by defendant and three by several
groups of plaintiffs, and now that a trial date has been set,
a plethora of discovery disputes submitted in the form of
counsels' letters and by motions. The court anticipates
that the parties will hereafter cooperate in all aspects of
discovery, that motions pertaining thereto be a last resort,
and that correspondence to the court cease.
parties' latest correspondence and discovery motions are
contained in Docket ## 345, 346, 347, 348, 349, 350. As a
general matter, each party is limited to 12
depositions during this pre-trial fact discovery phase.
See Local Rule 26.1(c); Ayala-Gerena v. Bristol
Myers-Squibb Co., 95 F.3d 86, 91 (1st Cir. 1996) (trial
court has broad discretion in managing conduct of discovery).
If counsel restrain themselves to simple, direct questions
and refrain from unnecessary objections, no deposition should
last more than a half day.
Plaintiffs' Motion for Discovery (Docket # 347)
plaintiffs ask the court to grant leave to re-depose Michael
Stamatakos or order Ocean Spray to make him available for
trial. See Fed.R.Civ.P. 30(a)(2)(A)(ii).
Because Ocean Spray's numerous and unnecessary objections
muddled the first deposition transcript and rendered it
virtually unusable at trial, plaintiffs' request is
allowed. See Exhibit N to Docket # 347-2.
plaintiffs seek to depose Bobby Chacko, CEO of Ocean Spray,
regarding the discontinuation of Ocean Spray's B Pool and
online concentrate auction. Although Ocean Spray has
identified an alternative witness to testify on this topic, I
am not persuaded by Ocean Spray's invocation of the
“apex doctrine” and, therefore, decline to issue
the requested protective order.
plaintiffs move to compel the deposition of Dr. Bradley
Miller as a fact witness. Although Dr. Miller is Ocean
Spray's designated expert, he is the so-called
“architect” of the challenged auction and thus
may possess relevant information concerning those facts.
Docket # 349 at 11. Accordingly, plaintiffs may depose him as
a fact witness.
Ocean Spray's Motion for a Protective Order and to Quash
Subpoenas (Docket # 348)
Spray seeks a protective order under Fed.R.Civ.P. 26(c) to
prevent the depositions of Paul Stajduhar, Richard Poznysz,
William Frantz, Dr. Richard Sexton, Kelly Rudd, Andrea
Weiland, John Decas, and John Pierson, in addition to those
of Bobby Chacko and Dr. Miller discussed above.
Spray argues that plaintiffs should have deposed these
witnesses earlier in the case. But any delay resulted, at
least in part, from the class certification briefing, the
several rounds of summary judgment motions, and the stay of
discovery during Ocean Spray's interlocutory appeal. The
parties anticipated additional discovery prior to the May
2020 trial, see Proposed Pre-Trial Schedule at
Docket # 332-1, and given the deposition limits now imposed,
the court expects that such discovery will remain reasonable
in scope and execution.
Plaintiffs' Motion to Compel Compliance with the
Protective Order (Docket # 347)
plaintiffs assert that Ocean Spray has frustrated their
ability to litigate by labeling over 99% of its discovery
“highly confidential.” Material marked as such
cannot be shared or used in depositions of third parties
without the producing party's permission. See
Stipulated Protective Order, Docket # 166.
cognizant of the reason for initially applying
confidentiality designations on a
“family-by-family” basis, Ocean Spray's
serious over-designation of documents as “highly
confidential” is troubling. See Exhibits A-I
to Docket # 347-1, 347-2. However, Ocean Spray's recent
acknowledgment of the issue and willingness to re-designate
certain categories of documents, see Exhibit M to