Court Orders In-Person, Court-Supervised Meet and Confer Sessions for Future Discovery Disputes
The plaintiffs in Wilson et. al. v. Conair Corp., Case No. 14-00894 (E.D. Cal., Aug. 17, 2015) filed suit against Defendant alleging injury from defective hairstyling appliances. Plaintiffs are currently conducting pre-class certification discovery, much of which has ended up in disputes before the court after the parties failed to meaningfully meet and confer.
Plaintiffs have filed numerous motions to compel, including one seeking to have Defendant produce to Plaintiffs all actual appliances returned to Defendant for sparking and flashing (among other defects) so that Plaintiffs’ expert could test them (which the court denied on grounds that the discovery went to the merits and not class certification issues) and another seeking to have the court establish dates by which Defendant must produce e-mails and additional consumer complaints. The court denied the motion regarding the ESI production, and instead ordered the parties to meet and confer about the production in an attempt to establish the appropriate scope of discovery and an acceptable timeline for Defendant to produce the responsive material.
In denying the motion (wherein the Plaintiffs had alleged that Defendant delayed in producing ESI while Defendant contended that Plaintiffs had caused delays by “continually changing” the ESI criteria and preventing Defendant from establishing an ESI protocol), the court expressed frustration with the parties’ seeming inability to cooperate regarding discovery disputes, with each party blaming the other party for the numerous delays and disputes brought to the court’s attention. Accordingly, the court ordered that before any future scheduled hearing, all parties will be required to personally appear before the court and be prepared to engage in an extended, court-supervised meet and confer session that could last for an entire day.