IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
Pursuant to the Court's January 25, 1999 Order, Fed. R. Civ. P. 26(f), and D. Del. LR 16.2, counsel for plaintiff United States of America and counsel for defendant Dentsply International, Inc. ("Dentsply") met on February 2, 1999 to discuss and develop a discovery plan and order.
The parties have been able to agree on the items identified in Section A of this Report and embodied in the attached Stipulated Discovery Plan and Order.
The parties also wish to advise the Court that discovery in this matter will involve confidential information of Dentsply and third parties. The parties are attempting to develop a stipulated Protective Order that they would request the Court to enter pursuant to Rule 26(c)(7). Additionally, pursuant to D. Del. LR 16.2, the parties certify that they have conferred to discuss settlement.
As set forth in Part B of this Report, the parties have reached agreement on a number of deadlines. The parties, however, have been unable to reach an agreement regarding deadlines for expert disclosures, case dispositive motions, and exchange of witness lists. Section B sets forth the parties' respective positions on these deadlines.
The parties stipulate and agree to the following:
The schedule below sets forth the parties' respective positions on deadlines for discovery and conduct of this case. Except as modified by their proposed schedules, the parties propose no changes to deadlines set forth in the Federal Rules of Procedure and Delaware District Court Local Rules. The parties have included the deadlines on which they agree in their proposed, Stipulated Discovery Plan and Order. Under the Stipulated Discovery Plan and Order, neither party waives any right to seek appropriate protective orders in response to discovery sought by the other party.
The proposed, Stipulated Discovery Plan and Order, if entered by the Court, would modify the Court's January 25, 1999 Order by changing the deadlines for completion of discovery and filing of case dispositive motions. In the January 25, 1999 Order, the Court specified that the September 7, 1999 discovery deadline of that Order could not "be changed by counsel unless first clearing the same with the Court." Additionally, the Court reminded counsel that "under the District Plan Pursuant to the Civil Justice Reform Act this case should be brought to trial within 12 months of the filing of the date of the complaint."
The parties respectfully submit that this case may warrant the longer discovery period set forth in the Stipulated Discovery Plan and Order, and a trial date beyond the twelve-month period contemplated by the District Plan. At the conference between counsel on February 2, 1999, the United States advised Dentsply that the United States estimated that it would identify approximately 180 individuals pursuant to the initial disclosures called for by Fed. R. Civ. P. 26(a)(1).(1) The United States contends that the interviews it conducted with these individuals during its pre-complaint investigation are work product and protected from disclosure. Dentsply anticipates that it will need to depose a significant portion of those individuals, all of whom are third parties, as well as other persons, and that it cannot complete by September 7, 1999 the discovery necessary to defend and rebut the extensive pre-complaint investigative record that the United States has built during the past three years. Although the United States was prepared to develop a discovery plan meeting the September 7, 1999 deadline, it does not oppose Dentsply's request for a longer period of time to complete fact and expert discovery and to file dispositive motions.
The Stipulated Discovery Plan and Order would allow Dentsply the additional time it requests and control other aspects of discovery. The Stipulated Discovery Plan and Order would establish November 15, 1999 as the deadline for completion of fact discovery. The parties have not, however, reached agreement as to the deadlines for exchange of witness lists, expert disclosures and case dispositive motions. The following schedule sets forth their areas of agreement and their respective positions on appropriate deadlines for expert witness disclosures, case dispositive motions, and the exchange of witness lists:
The parties are prepared to submit a proposed, supplemental order embodying the Court's decision on the deadlines on which they have not reached an agreement.
February 17, 1999
1. The United States now believes that it will identify 184 individuals.