Richards Layton & Finger
 

Chief Judge Stark Denies Request to Compel Defendant to Produce Documents from Third Parties

June 14, 2018

In Wi-LAN Inc. v. Sharp Electronics Corp., No. 15-379-LPS (D. Del. May 14, 2018), Chief Judge Stark denied the requests of the plaintiff, Wi-LAN Inc., to compel defendant Sharp Electronics Corp. to produce documents from a subsidiary and a parent corporation. First, Sharp Electronics argued that it had already produced documents from the subsidiary, a manufacturing plant located in Mexico, twice in the case, notwithstanding that Sharp Electronics had sold the subsidiary several years earlier. The Court accepted this representation in denying the requested relief. Second, Sharp Electronics argued that it had no ability to require its Japanese parent corporation, Sharp Corp., to produce the documents requested by Wi-LAN. In denying Wi-LAN’s request, the Court agreed that it was not clear whether Sharp Electronics could do so, noting that Wi-LAN appeared now to be in direct communication with Sharp Corp. and that Wi-LAN had not availed itself of other means to obtain the discovery, such as the Hague Convention.

Sharp Electronics, in turn, sought to compel the depositions of six Wi-LAN executives, a request that the Court denied with leave to renew following the parties’ further meet-and-confer regarding the applicability of the “apex doctrine.”

Key Point: The Court will ordinarily accept the representations of parties as to what has been produced when ruling on discovery disputes.