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Texas Roadhouse, Inc. v. Texas Corral Restaurants, Inc.
United States District Court, N.D. Indiana, Hammond Division
June 5, 2017
TEXAS ROADHOUSE, INC., and TEXAS ROADHOUSE DELAWARE, LLC, Plaintiffs,
TEXAS CORRAL RESTAURANTS, INC., TEXCOR, INC., TEXAS CORRAL RESTAURANT II, INC., T.C. OF MICHIGAN CITY, INC., T.C. OF KALAMAZOO, INC., CHICAGO ROADHOUSE CONCEPTS, LLC, T.C. OF OAK LAWN, INC., T.C. OF HARWOOD HEIGHTS, INC., TEXAS CORRAL INCORPORATED., MARTINSVILLE CORRAL, INC., and PAUL SWITZER, Defendants.
OPINION AND ORDER
S. VAN BOKKELEN UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT.
Texas Roadhouse Plaintiffs claim the Texas Corral Defendants
copied them. Defendants move under Federal Rule of Civil
Procedure 42(b) to bifurcate liability from damages for
discovery and trial. (DE 121.)
42(b) allows, but does not require, trial courts to bifurcate
in certain circumstances:
For convenience, to avoid prejudice, or to expedite and
economize, the court may order a separate trial of one or
more separate issues, claims, crossclaims, counterclaims, or
third-party claims. When ordering a separate trial, the court
must preserve any federal right to a jury trial.
Fed. R. Civ. P. 42(b).
moving party has the burden to show bifurcation is proper.
See Toney v. Accor N. Am., 2010 WL 2162626, at *1
(N.D. Ind. May 27, 2010). Bifurcation is the exception, not
the rule. See Real v. Bunn-O-Matic Corp., 195 F.R.D.
618, 620 (N.D. Ill. 2000). A court should order separate
trials only in extenuating circumstances. See Id. at
Seventh Circuit articulated a three-step test for determining
when to bifurcate:
First, the trial judge must determine whether separate trials
would avoid prejudice to a party or promote judicial economy.
Only one of these criteria-avoidance of prejudice or judicial
economy-need be met before a court can order separation.
Next, the court must be satisfied that the decision to
bifurcate does not unfairly prejudice the non-moving party.
Finally, separate trials must not be granted if doing so
would violate the Seventh Amendment.
Houseman v. U.S. Aviation Underwriters, 171 F.3d
1117, 1121 (7th Cir. 1999) (internal citations omitted).
courts should “balance considerations of convenience,
economy, expedition, and prejudice, depending on the peculiar
facts and circumstances of each case.” Houskins v.
Sheahan, 549 F.3d 480, 495 (7th Cir. 2008). The decision
of whether to bifurcate rests with the discretion of the
trial court. Krocka v. City of Chi., 203 F.3d 507,
516 (7th Cir. 2000).
Step One: Would bifurcation avoid prejudice to the Texas
Corral Defendants, or promote judicial economy?
Prejudice to the ...