Turkey Antitrust Defendants File Reply Brief Asking Court to Curb “Fishing Expedition” Discovery Requests

Turkey wholesalers and a statistics aggregator defending price-fixing conspiracy claims have submitted their final brief in support of their motion for a protective order limiting the scope of discovery. The defendants’ reply brief, filed last week, reiterates their earlier position that the plaintiffs have levied burdensome discovery requests in an effort to “trawl” for information resurrecting dismissed or supporting new claims.

The brief explains that the plaintiffs assert “a single rule of reason claim,” that between 2010 and 2017, through industry data aggregator Agri Stats, the defendants exchanged production and sales date information that gave rise to a conspiracy to raise and fix prices. The case is proceeding through discovery after the plaintiffs’ federal antitrust claims and most of their state antitrust and consumer protection claims survived the motion to dismiss phase.

The defendants claimed that plaintiffs’ discovery requests are “untethered” to the issues the case presents because the requested information is from time periods far beyond the alleged conspiracy and excessive in scope. By way of example, the brief points to an alleged request for 13 years of telephone records, regardless of their subject matter.

The turkey defendants claimed that the plaintiffs’ requests are excessive and burdensome, in violation of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure. The filing contends “[i]t is clear that Plaintiffs seek to turn this case into an onerous discovery slog, delving deeply into the files of parties and nonparties alike for evidence to support a claim that Plaintiffs hope to bring, not the one that survived Rule 12.” In turn, they requested that the court enter a protective order barring discovery beyond the scope of the claim at issue in this case.

The defendants are represented by Mayer Brown LLP, Proskauer Rose LLP, Greene Espel PLLP, Eimer Stahl LLP, Carpenter, Lipps & Leland LLP, Dentons US LLP, Faegre Drinker Biddle & Reath LLP, Vedder Price P.C., Jordan Price Wall Gray Jones & Carlton, PLLC, Venable LLP, Falkenberg Ives LLP, Miller, Canfield, Paddock & Stone, PLC, Hogan Lovells US LLP, Lipe Lyons Murphy Nahrstadt & Pontikis Ltd., and Axinn, Veltrop & Harkrider LLP.

Sandee’s Catering is represented by Cuneo Gilbert & Laduca, LLP and Clifford Law Offices, and the direct purchaser plaintiffs by Lockridge Grindal Nauen P.L.L.P., Pearson Simon & Warshaw LLP, and Hagens Berman Sobol Shapiro LLP.