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Nucap Industries Inc. v. Robert Bosch LLC

United States District Court, N.D. Illinois, Eastern Division

October 19, 2016

NUCAP INDUSTRIES, INC., and NUCAP US, INC., Plaintiffs,
v.
ROBERT BOSCH LLC and BOSCH BRAKE COMPONENTS LLC, Defendants.

          MEMORANDUM ORDER

          Joan B. Gottschall United States District Judge

         This case has been referred to the Honorable Young B. Kim to manage discovery proceedings and rule on related nondispositive matters in accordance with 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1)(A). (See ECF No. 66.) Before the court are Plaintiffs' objections to Judge Kim's decision not to allow discovery on Defendants' alleged change in its position during this litigation (ECF No. 282). Because subsequent events in this case have rendered portions of the objections moot and other portions unripe, the court overrules the objections without prejudice.

         I. Background

         Plaintiffs Nucap Industries Inc. and Nucap U.S. Inc. (collectively, “Nucap”) bring claims against Robert Bosch LLC and Bosch Brake Components LLC collectively “Bosch”) for, among other things, misappropriation of trade secrets.[1] Nucap, which is based in Ontario, Canada, designs and manufactures aftermarket brake components. Bosch's business includes making and selling aftermarket brake pads. Bosch began purchasing brake components from Nucap in late 2008 or early 2009. The court has heard evidence that the companies' relationship soured in late 2014. Nucap's misappropriation claims concern Bosch's alleged subsequent use of a database of drawings of brake components NuCap claims to have spent hundreds of millions of dollars creating. (Preliminary Injunction Hearing Transcript (“Hr'g Tr.”) at 78:5-78:23, 79:16-80:3, 218:24-219:17 (testimony of Nucap's Chief Executive Officer)).

         On August 21, 2015, Judge Kim ordered the parties to seek leave of court before propounding additional written discovery. (ECF No. 86.) Nucap filed a motion for preliminary injunction on January 29, 2016. (ECF No. 219.)

         On March 6, 2016, Nucap sought leave to send requests for production of documents concerning Bosch's alleged change in position during this litigation on how it utilized the drawings. (ECF No. 265.) Nucap described its proposed requests as seeking production of documents related to the following subjects:

• Bosch's repeated misrepresentations that is has not used Nucap's drawings to validate or approve replacement supplier drawings or components (RFP Nos. 82-84), and that it is not aware of any disclosure of Nucap's drawings (RFP No. 85);
• Bosch's substantial delay in producing inculpatory documents from Vijay Chavda (Senior Product Development Manager) and withholding of emails from the members of the [redacted] (RFP No. 86); and
• Bosch's claim that emails from [redacted] and that Bosch has [redacted] (RFP Nos. 87, 88).

(ECF No. 265 at 1-2; see ECF No. 281 (unredacted paraphrase of discovery claims).)

         Judge Kim orally denied Bosch's motion at a hearing held March 11, 2016. (See Tr. of Hr'g held Mar. 11, 2016 at 4:24 -7:18, ECF No. 353.) Judge Kim stated that “discovery that's being proposed by the plaintiffs will be an exercise in futility, especially because there is a difference of an opinion as to whether defendants reversed their course in this particular case.”[2] (Id. at 6:9-13.)

         On March 23, 2016, Bosch filed a motion for partial summary judgment. (ECF No. 340.) In that motion, Bosch asks the court to dismiss five of the seven counts pleaded in Nucap's amended complaint and to enter partial summary judgment on Bosch's counterclaim. (ECF No. 340.) Nucap filed a cross-motion for summary judgment on May 2, 2016. (ECF No. 473.) Nucap seeks summary judgment on Bosch's affirmative defenses based on the terms and conditions set forth in Bosch's purchase-order contracts and Bosch's counterclaim for breach of those terms. (See Id. at 15; Bosch LLCs' Ans. to 1st Am. Compl., ECF No. 328.)

         The court held a preliminary injunction hearing over five, nonconsecutive days in May 2016. On August 29, 2016, this court granted Nucap's motion for preliminary injunction in part and denied it in part. (ECF No. 609.)

         II. ...


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