In the decision of NuVasive, Inc. v. Lanx, Inc., C.A. No. 7266-VCG (Oct. 12, 2012), the Court of Chancery reviewed a motion to compel filed by Plaintiff NuVasive, Inc.
As way of background, Defendant Lanx, Inc. (“Lanx”) is a competitor of NuVasive. NuVasive alleges that Lanx has lured away a number of NuVasive employees to work for Lanx, in breach of various duties owed to NuVasive by these employees. NuVasive seeks damages from and injunctive relief against Lanx.
In the Motion to Compel, NuVasive seeks the identities of NuVasive employees, past and current, with whom Lanx has communicated in the past year about possible employment with Lanx, together with documents exchanged with those employees in furtherance of that purpose. Lanx resists discovery on two grounds. First, Lanx asserts that discovery of only relevant material may be compelled. Lanx also argues that NuVasive’s real purpose in requesting the names of solicited employees is to identify employees who have spoken to Lanx and to coerce them into staying with NuVasive.
The Court held that the request is reasonably calculated to lead to the discovery of admissible evidence. Further, the Court indicated that it has the authority, under Chancery Court Rule 26(c), to tailor discovery to prevent undue prejudice or oppression. The Court rejected Lanx’s offer to produce the documents sought with the names and identifying characteristics of the employees redacted, and then to provide a 30(b)(6) witness to testify about Lanx’s interaction with respect to these anonymous employees. The Court found that a protective order of the kind suggested is unnecessary, and the proposed substitute discovery insufficient.
Accordingly, the Court ordered that the Motion to Compel be granted.