United States District Court, N.D. Illinois, Eastern Division
ETERNITY MART, INC. d/b/a/ GREAT DEALS OF TEXAS, Plaintiff,
NATURE'S SOURCES, LLC, Defendant.
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER
R. HARJANI MAGISTRATE JUDGE
Sources, LLC, has filed a motion to compel  certain
responses to its discovery requests. Specifically,
Nature's Sources requests that the Court enter an order
compelling Eternity Mart to, within 14 days, respond fully
with respect to Request for Production Nos. 1, 2, 12, 13, 16,
17, 28, and Interrogatory Nos. 10, 11, and 13. Doc.  at
13. Nature's Sources further requests that the Court
order that Eternity Mart provide an affidavit confirming that
no additional records or information are being withheld based
on objections to various discovery requests. Id.
Finally, Nature's Sources requests that it be awarded its
reasonable attorneys' fees and costs associated with the
motion to compel. Id. In connection with the motion
to compel, Nature's Sources moved for leave to file two
exhibits to its motion, F and G, under seal. Doc. .
question raised in this motion is whether a party may
conceive of theories for its defenses, with no discernable
basis in fact, and then seek discovery on that matter through
document requests and interrogatories that are significantly
reasons stated below, Nature's Sources, LLC's Motion
to Compel  is granted in part and denied in part.
Nature's Sources, LLC's Motion for Leave to File
Exhibits to Motion to Compel under Seal  is denied.
Mart is a reseller of natural, organic, and specialty
products that does business through a variety of online sites
and channels, including Amazon. Doc.  at 3. Eternity Mart,
doing business as Great Deals of Texas via Amazon, marketed
certain products of Nature's Sources. Id. That
marketing was facilitated through Eternity Mart's
distribution relationship with KeHE, Distributors, LLC, an
authorized distributor of Nature's Sources. Id.
On February 6, 2019, Amazon emailed Eternity Mart to report
that Amazon had received a complaint that Eternity Mart was
infringing on Nature's Sources' trademark rights.
Id. at 4. On February 27, 2019, Amazon notified
Eternity Mart that its account was temporarily deactivated
because of Nature's Sources' reports that Eternity
Mart was counterfeiting Nature's Sources' goods.
Id. at 5. Despite Eternity Mart's efforts to
prove that its Nature's Sources goods were authentic,
Eternity Mart was not reinstated as a seller on Amazon until
March 21, 2019. Id.at 7.
April 10, 2019, Eternity Mart initiated the instant action
against Nature's Sources, alleging counts of intentional
interference with business relationships and defamation
per se. Doc. .
Nature's Sources' Motion to Compel Eternity
Sources contends that several of Eternity Mart's
discovery responses are deficient and moves this Court to
compel Eternity Mart to respond completely and fully to
Requests for Production 1, 2, 12, 13, 16, 17, and 28, as well
as Interrogatories 10, 11, and 13. Doc.  at 13. These
discovery requests generally seek information on two topics.
First, there are several discovery requests that seek
information about complaints that Amazon received from other
companies regarding Eternity Mart and other Amazon notices,
warnings, suspensions, and reinstatements. Second, various
discovery requests concern Eternity Mart's tax returns,
bank records, and other financial information. Nature's
Sources also moves to compel Eternity Mart to respond fully
and completely to Request for Production No. 1, arguing that
Eternity Mart has failed to produce complete emails and that
Eternity Mart has produced email attachments in such a way
that Nature's Sources cannot discern which email an
attachment belongs to. Id. at 12.
ruling on a motion to compel, the discovery standard set
forth in Rule 26(b) applies. Rule 26(b)(1) allows
“discovery regarding any nonprivileged matter that is
relevant to any party's claim or defense and proportional
to the needs of the case.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 26(b)(1). The
party requesting discovery bears the initial burden of
establishing its relevancy. See, e.g., Rennie v.
Dalton, 3 F.3d 1100, 1110 (7th Cir. 1993) (finding court
did not abuse its discretion in denying motion to compel
discovery for lack of a persuasive showing on relevance);
Bell v. Pension Comm. of ATH Holding Co., LLC, 330
F.R.D. 517, 525 (S.D. Ind. June 14, 2018); West v.
Miller, No. 05-cv-4977, 2006 WL 2349988 at *2 (N.D. Ill.
Aug. 11, 2008). “If the discovery appears relevant, the
party objecting to the discovery request bears the burden of
showing why that request is improper.” Trading
Technologies Intern., Inc. v. eSpeed, Inc., No. 04 C
5312, 2005 WL 1300778, at *1 (N.D.Ill. Apr.28, 2005) (citing
Rubin v. Islamic Republic of Iran, 349 F.Supp.2d
1108, 1111 (N.D. Ill. 2004)).
judges have “extremely broad discretion in controlling
discovery” when matters are referred to them for
discovery supervision. Jones v. City of Elkhart, 737
F.3d 1107, 1115 (7th Cir. 2013).
Discovery Requests about Third Party Complaints to Amazon and
Other Notices, Warnings, Suspensions and Reinstatements by
for Production 12, 13, 16, 17 and Interrogatories 10 and 11
concern complaints that Amazon received about Eternity Mart
from companies other than Nature's Sources and other
Amazon notices, warnings, suspensions, and reinstatements.
For instance, Request for Production No. 12 asks Eternity
Mart to “[p]roduce all documents related to any
intellectual property and/or IP complaint against Plaintiff
submitted to Amazon by any entity other than
Defendant.” Doc.  at 5. Another representative
example of this group of discovery requests is Interrogatory
No. 11, which requests Eternity Mart to “[s]tate the
facts related to, identify all documents related to, and
identify all persons with knowledge of all suspensions and/or
deactivations of Plaintiff's Amazon product listings
and/or account . . . .” Id. at 8. The requests
for production seek records from January 1, 2014 to the
present, which Nature's Sources states is “roughly
five calendar years prior to the events giving rise to
Eternity Mart's Complaint.” Id. at 7. The
timeframe for Interrogatories 10 and 11 is January 1, 2017 to
present. Id.at 8.
Sources argues that these discovery requests are relevant to
causation and damages. According to Nature's Sources,
Eternity Mart's responses to Nature's Sources'
discovery requests about other companies' IP complaints
“could very well show that Plaintiff's business was
suspended because of [the] other 200-plus IP violations it
committed while selling products on Amazon.” Doc. 
at 6. As for the discovery requests surrounding other
notices, warnings, suspensions, and reinstatements by Amazon,
Nature's Sources similarly surmises, “Perhaps
during one of Plaintiff's prior suspensions . . . Amazon
warned that any further misconduct would result in a
mandatory 25 day storefront ...