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In re Mercedes-Benz Emissions Litig.

United States District Court for the District of New Jersey

November 4, 2019, Decided; November 7, 2019, Filed

Case No.: 2:16-cv-881 (SDW)(JAD)

Opinion

ORDER & OPINION OF THE SPECIAL MASTER

This matter comes before the Special Master upon letter briefing submitted by Plaintiffs and Mercedes Defendants (Daimler AG and Mercedes-Benz USA, LLC) related to Defendants' request for a stay of the Special Master's October 4, 2019 Order & Opinion. After considering the submissions of the parties, it is the opinion of the Special Master that Defendants' request for a stay is DENIED.

DISCUSSION

By Order dated October 4, 2019, the Special Master ordered Defendants to provide Plaintiffs with additional information in order to evaluate and engage in a meaningful meet and confer with respect to Defendants' proposed custodians. That information included organization charts, [*4]  or equivalent information, covering the entire relevant period for both Mercedes and Daimler; (2) the identity, by name, title and dates of employment of each current or former employee with known relevant information; (3) the identity of each current and former employee, by name and position, who's job responsibilities included interacting with Bosch regarding the class of vehicles; (4) the identity of each current and former employee, by name and position, who's job responsibilities included interacting with federal and state regulators. With respect to Defendants' GDPR concerns, the Special Master held that Defendants could provide the information pursuant to the parties' Discovery Confidentiality Order.

Defendants now seek a stay of the Special Master's October 4, 2019 Order so that the Mercedes Defendants have an opportunity to appeal to the District Court pursuant to Local Civil Rule 72.1(c)(1)(A) and Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 72. Defendants assert that Daimler and its current and former employees will otherwise suffer irreparable harm. Defendants argue that the October 4 Order compels Daimler to breach its obligations under the GDPR by processing and transferring personal data, and once disclosed the data cannot be undisclosed. Defendants [*5]  thus argue that they will suffer irreparable harm and their right to appeal will be rendered meaningless if the ruling is not stayed pending resolution of the appeal. Defendants argue that there is no remedial measure within the purview of the Court that can remedy the situation, absent a stay. Defendants argue that by contrast, Plaintiffs will suffer no substantial harm as discovery will continue during the pendency of the appeal. Defendants assert that they are working to comply with aspects of the Order not implicated by the appeal and that they are willing to identify other alternatives to identify custodians in a way that is consistent with the GDPR during the pendency of the appeal.

Plaintiffs oppose Defendants' request for a stay and argue that a stay will serve as a continuing bar to the commencement of meaningful discovery. Plaintiffs explain that while Mercedes-Benz USA has produced documents, discovery related to Daimler's alleged emissions cheating has not even begun. Plaintiffs believe Daimler will continue to use the lack of resolution as an excuse to continue to produce nothing. Plaintiffs argue that Defendants fail to identify any actual irreparable harm that might flow [*6]  from the Order.

OPINION

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2019 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 193948 *; 2019 WL 5800270

IN RE MERCEDES-BENZ EMISSIONS LITIGAITON.

Subsequent History: Appeal denied by, As moot In re Mercedes-Benz Emissions Litig., 2020 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 15967 (D.N.J., Jan. 30, 2020)

Prior History: In re Mercedes-Benz Emissions Litig., 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 168535 (D.N.J., Dec. 5, 2016)

CORE TERMS

discovery, irreparable harm, former employee