United States District Court, D. Delaware
HONORABLE LEONARD P. STARK UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
Wilmington this 5th day of
reviewed the parties' joint status report filed on
October 3 (D.I. 500), as well as other materials submitted
throughout this case, and having discussed these issues with
the parties on multiple occasions, including during the
pretrial conference (“PTC”) held on October 2,
IT IS HEREBY ORDERED that:
Rather than respond to the four spoliation-related questions
posed by Plaintiff GN Netcom, Inc. (“GN” or
“Plaintiff”) and Defendant Plantronics, Inc.
(“Plantronics” or “Defendant”), the
Court has determined the preliminary and final jury
instructions it will give with respect to spoliation, as well
as the “Stipulated Facts” it will read to the
jury at or near the start of the forthcoming trial.
deadline for the parties to file proposed preliminary jury
instructions, consistent with this Order and any other Orders
the Court may issue subsequently, is Monday, October 9 at
3:00 p.m. At the same time the instructions are filed they
must also be submitted to chambers by electronic mail in PDF
and either Corel WordPerfect or Microsoft Word format.
deadline for the parties to file proposed final jury
instructions and verdict forms, consistent with this Order
and any other Orders the Court may issue subsequently, is
Saturday, October 14 at 3:00 p.m. At the same time the
instructions are filed they must also be submitted to
chambers by electronic mail in PDF and either WordPerfect or
Microsoft Word format.
respect to the parties' dispute as to whether statements,
arguments, and evidence from Plantronics relating to its
purportedly positive relationship with the government,
historically and currently, will “open the door”
to GN presenting evidence of the recent GSA debarment
investigation, the Court holds that this will not open the
door. With respect to the debarment investigation, any
minimal probative value is substantially outweighed by the
risks of unfair prejudice, juror confusion, and waste of
time. The door would, however, be opened were Plantronics to
argue or present evidence, inaccurately, that it has never
been the subject of a government investigation. Should GN
believe at any point that the door to use of the GSA evidence
has been opened, it must provide notice and obtain leave of
the Court before using such evidence. No additional briefing
should be submitted on this issue at this time.
Plantronics now requests a ruling prior to trial as to the
admissibility of evidence relating to minimum advertised
price (“MAP”) policy and horizontal restraints,
the Court holds that, based on the argument to date, such
evidence is relevant and the concerns identified by
Plantronics do not substantially outweigh the probative value
of such evidence. Plantronics may, however, renew its
objections to specific evidence of MAP policy and horizontal
restraints if it believes the Rule 403 balance favors
Given the parties' stipulation in the pretrial order
(“PTO”) (see D.I. 490 at 12), as well as
their statements in the status report, the Court does not
perceive a ripe dispute with respect to
“foundation” for exhibits to be admitted into
evidence. Any such disputes will be resolved at trial through
the procedures already provided for in the PTO and the
Court's typical practices.
Court continues to believe that twelve (12) hours per side is
an adequate amount of time for each party to fully and fairly
present its case, consistent with the Court's practices
for how it counts time. Nevertheless, given Plantronics'
insistence to the contrary, and GN's non-opposition
(see D.I. 500 at 7), the Court will increase the
parties' time allocation to fourteen (14) hours per side.
In order to maintain this trial within the dates previously
given (October 11-18), the Court will not dismiss the jury
until 5:00 p.m.
Plantronics' request that the jury be asked to make
certain factual findings with respect to equitable defenses
is DENIED. Given the complexity of the issues the jury must
necessarily decide, and given Plantronics'
repeatedly-expressed concerns about the amount of time
allocated to this trial, the Court will not ask the jury to
return an advisory verdict.
Under the circumstances, the Court has determined that it
will NOT charge all time for arguing objections outside the
presence of the jury (e.g., when the Court meets with counsel
at 8:30 a.m. each morning) to the objecting party. Instead,
the Court will charge each party for the time that party is
speaking regarding such objections. The Court will split
evenly whatever time it takes the Court to articulate its
decision on such objections.
Provided that the parties make the revisions noted below,
submit a revised version consistent with this Order and
confer with the Court's jury administrator no later than
12:00 p.m. tomorrow (October 6) and comply with all
instructions they receive from the jury administrator, and
provided that the parties understand the Court will not delay
jury selection to allow any additional time for the parties
to review the responses, the Court will direct the jury
administrator to instruct members of the jury pool to
complete the “Confidential Juror Questionnaire”
(revised version submitted October 3, see D.I.
498-1), in an effort to reduce ...