United States District Court, S.D. Indiana, Indianapolis Division
KNAUF INSULATION, LLC, KNAUF INSULATION GmbH, KNAUF INSULATION SPRL, Plaintiffs,
JOHNS MANVILLE CORPORATION, JOHNS MANVILLE, INC., Defendants.
ORDER ON PLAINTIFFS’ MOTION TO COMPEL RESPONSE
TO INTERROGATORY NO. 63
J. DINSMORE JUDGE
matter is before the Court on Plaintiffs’ Motion to
Compel Response to Interrogatory No. 63 [Dkt. 507].
For the reasons set forth below, the Court
GRANTS the motion.
Plaintiffs in this case (hereinafter referred to as
“Knauf”) allege that certain insulation products
manufactured and sold by the Defendants (hereinafter referred
to as “JM”) infringe upon certain patents held by
Knauf. Specifically, as relevant to the instant motion, Knauf
alleges in its Fifth Amended Complaint that JM’s
products infringe because of the bio-based binder they use.
issue in the instant motion is Knauf’s Interrogatory
No. 63, which reads:
Do the people at JM that developed JM-212 bio-based binder,
JM-2000 bio-based binder, or any other sugar-containing
binder have an understanding of what is meant by the
scientific term “Maillard reaction”? If so,
separately state the understanding of each such person that
has an understanding, and for each such person that does not
have an understanding, please identify them by name.
purposes of this motion, Knauf has narrowed the interrogatory
to ask about seven specific individuals (hereinafter referred
to as “the Chemists”), each of whom is a current
or former JM employee who is represented by JM’s
may seek an order to compel discovery when an opposing party
fails to respond to discovery requests or has provided
evasive or incomplete responses. Fed. R. Civ. P.
37(a)(2)-(4). The burden “rests upon the objecting
party to show why a particular discovery request is
improper.” Kodish v. Oakbrook Terrace Fire Prot.
Dist., 235 F.R.D. 447, 449-50 (N.D. Ill. 2006). The
objecting party must show with specificity that the request
is improper. Graham v. Casey’s Gen. Stores,
206 F.R.D. 251, 254 (S.D. Ind. 2002).
Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 26(b)(1), generally
“[p]arties may obtain discovery regarding any
nonprivileged matter that is relevant to any party’s
claim or defense and proportional to the needs of the
case.” Relevant information does not need to be
“admissible to be discoverable.” Fed. R. Civ. P.
term “Maillard reaction” is used in some of the
patents at issue in this case and was used by some JM
employees in documents relating to the alleged infringing
products. JM argues that the Chemists’ understanding of
the term is irrelevant to the issues in this case. Knauf
counters that JM has waived its objections to Interrogatory
63 as it applies to the Chemists and, in any event, the
Chemists’ understanding of the term “Maillard
reaction” is relevant to at least two issues in this
case: claim construction and willful infringement.
noted above, Interrogatory 63 originally was very broad,
seeking information regarding each of “the people at JM
that developed” the allegedly infringing biobinders.
Not surprisingly, JM objected to it on that basis. On May 8,
2019, Knauf proposed that JM limit its response to the
Chemists. In response, on May 14, 2019, JM’s counsel
stated in an email to Knauf’s counsel that “we
are in the process of working with our client to schedule