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NY Machinery Inc. v. The Korean Cleaners Monthly

United States District Court, D. New Jersey

January 6, 2020

NY MACHINERY INC., et al., Plaintiffs,
v.
THE KOREAN CLEANERS MONTHLY, et al., Defendants.

          OPINION & ORDER

          Edward S. Kiel United States Magistrate Judge

         This matter comes before the Court on the parties' joint-letter regarding a discovery disputes. (ECF Nos. 79.) The dispute concerns the obligation to translate documents into English. The documents were produced by defendants, The Korean Cleaners Monthly and John Chung (together, “Defendants”), in response to the request by plaintiffs, NY Machinery Inc. and Kleaners LLC (together, “Plaintiffs”), for production of documents. For the reasons that follow, Defendants are neither obligated to translate the documents nor responsible for bearing the translation costs.

         I. BACKGROUND

         Plaintiffs filed their complaint on November 30, 2017. (ECF No. 1.) They allege unfair competition, false advertising, defamation, false light, trade libel, and tortious interference with prospective economic relations as a result of Defendants' publication and dissemination of allegedly false and defamatory statements regarding Plaintiffs and their products. (Id.) Defendants moved to dismiss the complaint on January 24, 2018. (ECF No. 10.) District Judge Susan D. Wigenton granted the motion in part and denied the motion in part. (ECF Nos. 15 & 16.) Plaintiffs thereafter filed an amended complaint on June 29, 2018. (ECF No. 17.)

         Fact discovery is ongoing. The Court twice extended the fact discovery deadline, originally scheduled for March 1, 2019. The fact discovery deadline is now February 28, 2020. (ECF Nos. 27, 71, 82.) The parties served and responded to interrogatories. Those responses are not at issue. The matter before the Court concerns Defendants' responses to Plaintiffs' request for production.

         On April 16, 2019, Plaintiffs wrote to Defendants asserting various deficiencies in Defendants' discovery responses. (ECF No. 81-1.) In the letter, Plaintiffs' wrote:

Defendants' document production contains numerous documents, including emails, that appear to be written in Korean or Japanese. Plaintiffs have incurred the expense of obtaining certified English translations of documents contained in their production. We expect Defendants to promptly produce certified translations of these documents.

(Id.)

         According to Plaintiffs, on July 9, 2019, Magistrate Judge Leda Wettre directed Defendants' counsel to respond to Plaintiffs' August 16, 2019 deficiency letter and produce outstanding responsive documents by early August 2019. (ECF No. 73.) On September 4, 2019, Plaintiffs wrote again to Defendants regarding remaining discovery deficiencies. (ECF No. 81-2.) Regarding translations of documents, Plaintiffs wrote:

Defendants' first and supplemental document productions contain numerous documents, including emails, that appear to be written in Korean and Japanese. Defendants' cover letter dated August 6, 2019 states that certified translations would be provided, but Defendants have yet to provide same. Please advise when Defendants will produce certified translations of these documents.

(Id.)

         The parties exchanged further correspondence relating to discovery disputes, which included Plaintiffs' demand that Defendants provide certified translations of documents. Additionally, according to Plaintiffs, Judge Wettre, during a telephone-status conference on September 6, 2019, ordered Defendants to provide certified translations of Defendants' document production by September 22, 2019. (ECF No. 81-3 at 3.)[1] During oral argument on the present application, Defendants disputed that Judge Wettre ordered them to provide certified translations of documents.

         The parties submitted a joint-letter regarding all pending discovery disputes on November 22, 2019. (ECF No. 79.) The Court heard argument on December 6, 2019 (the “Hearing”). The Court permitted the parties to file supplemental submissions regarding the issue. (ECF No. 82 ¶ 5.). Neither party filed further submissions.

         II. ...


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