Looking Back on 2015: The 6 Most Important eDiscovery Cases in Delaware - Part 3

This is the third in a series of posts summarizing the 6 most important eDiscovery cases in Delaware in 2015.

Pfizer, Inc. v. Amgen Fremont Inc., C.A. No. 10667-VCL, Hearing on Cross Motions to Compel and Rulings of the Court, July 6, 2015.

In this hearing arising from the patent litigation between Pfizer and Amgen, Vice Chancellor Laster addressed numerous discovery and privilege log issues.  First and foremost on the Court’s mind was its frustration—to put it mildly—with both sides’ general objections.  In particular, the Court noted that general objections that begin with the phrase “to the extent that” and don’t explain what a party is actually producing are “ridiculous” and “completely inscrutable.”  The Court informed that it would not be complicit in this type of discovery gamesmanship and cautioned the parties to not expect a single one of their general objections to hold up going forward.

The Court then addressed Defendants’ objection to Plaintiff’s requesting documents from Defendants about Plaintiff’s own decision not to submit a certain antigen sample along with its provisional patent application.  The Court explained that such document requests are not “nonsensical,” as the Defendants had argued, because a party does not necessarily have to have made a decision for it to possess documents about that decision.

Finally, the Court turned to the parties’ privilege log issues.  It began by warning the parties that the “privilege log abyss” is more of a mirror, rather than an opportunity to just throw things at the other side.  In this regard, the Court noted that broad privilege log rulings have a tendency to dramatically change the litigation landscape of a case, because they can result in both parties being forced to lay all of their cards on the table.  Given the seriousness of the situation, the Court gave the parties one last opportunity to agree to détente before proceeding toward “mutually assured destruction.”  Perhaps wisely, the parties heeded the Court’s warning and agreed to postpone their privilege log dispute for another day.