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United States District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan, Southern Division
February 27, 2012, Decided; February 27, 2012, Filed
Case number 11-14019
This is a patent action in which the Plaintiff, Robert Bosch, LLC ("Bosch"), seeks an injunction, an award of compensatory damages, and treble damages for the willful infringement of nine patents owned by the Plaintiff. Bosch alleges that the Defendants violated federal patent law, 35 U.S.C. § 271, inter alia, by making, importing, offering for sale, using, and selling wiper blades embodying its patented inventions. This [*2] action, although originally filed in the District of Nevada, was transferred to the Eastern District of Michigan on September 13, 2011.
Currently before the Court is the Defendants' request to bifurcate the trial into two phases; namely, (1) liability and (2) damages, willfulness, and other non-liability issues. The Defendants also ask the Court stay any discovery relating to damages and willfulness pending the trial on liability. (ECF 9).
In general, Fed. R. Civ. P. 42(b) permits the bifurcation of the liability and damages phases of a trial in the interest of judicial economy. This Rule also authorizes a court to bifurcate a trial: "[f]or convenience, to avoid prejudice, or to expedite and economize . . .[on] one or more separate issues, claims, cross claims, counterclaims, or third-party claims. When ordering a separate trial, the court must preserve any federal right to a jury trial." The decision as to whether to bifurcate a trial under Rule 42(b) is "within the sound discretion of the court." Yung v. Raymark Indus. Inc., 789 F.2d 397, 400 (6th Cir.1986). Furthermore, the party, who seeks the bifurcation of a trial, has the burden of demonstrating that judicial economy would be [*3] promoted and that no party would be prejudiced by separate trials. K.W. Muth Co., Inc. v. Bing-Lear Mfg. Group, L.L.C., 2002 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 14926, 2002 WL 1879943, at *3 (E.D. Mich. Jul.16, 2002).
In support of their request, the Defendants assert that bifurcating the trial in this action would promote judicial economy and efficiency. In advancing this position, the Defendants submit that a ruling on liability in their favor would (1) obviate the need for a trial on damages, and (2) facilitate a more efficient use of case and trial management. Further, they point out that, inasmuch as this case involves multiple claims on several patents, there is a potential risk of juror confusion if the liability and damages phases are not bifurcated. Finally, the Defendants submit that the requested bifurcation would allow them to maintain the requisite attorney-client privilege regarding patent opinion letters until and unless the production of such evidence becomes necessary in order to defend against Bosch's willfulness claim.
Full case includes Shepard's, Headnotes, Legal Analytics from Lex Machina, and more.
2012 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 24467 *
ROBERT BOSCH, LLC, Plaintiff/Counter-Defendant, v. COREA AUTOPARTS PRODUCING CORPORATION, et al., Defendants/Counter-Plaintiffs.
Subsequent History: Motion granted by, Claim dismissed by Robert Bosch, LLC v. Corea Autoparts Producing Corp., 2012 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 75432 ( E.D. Mich., May 31, 2012)
bifurcation, patents, willfulness, damages, wilfulness, prejudiced, adverse inference, judicial economy, attorney-client, infringement, alleged infringement, judicial efficiency, issue of liability, advice of counsel, order to avoid, separate trial, damages phase, pending trial, non-liability, discovery, obviate, submits, blades, phases, juror, wiper