ED Michigan Refuses to Bifurcate Damages Discovery from Liability Discovery


On June 6, 2011 Judge Julian Abele Cook Jr. of the Eastern District of Michigan issued an opinion denying plaintiff's request to "bifurcate discovery related to liability from discovery related to damages." Delphi Auto. Sys., LLC v. Vehicle Occupant Sensing Sys., 2011 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 59950, *2 (E.D. Mich., June 6, 2011). Ultimately, the Court denied plaintiff's request for bifurcation referencing (1) the lack of need and (2) the failure to "establish a likelihood that [plaintiff would] prevail on the liability issue." Id. at *6.

Plaintiff provided two arguments in support of its request. First, "that they [would] be prejudiced [...] because damages would require their disclosure of confidential records[.]" Id. And, second, "that bifurcation would lead to a more expedient or efficient litigation[.]" Id. at *7.

In response to the first argument, the Court held that confidential records can be protected by "obtain[ing] protective orders." Id. And, responding to plaintiff's second argument, the Court stated that expedient litigation was not a clear benefit of bifurcation when considering the possibility of "extended motion practice which would require the Court to identify the category into which the requested discovery [fell]." Id.