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Frisvold v. Pentair Filtration Solutions LLC

United States District Court, W.D. Washington, Seattle

October 11, 2017

LARRY FRISVOLD, et al., Plaintiffs,
v.
PENTAIR FILTRATION SOLUTIONS LLC, et al., Defendants.

          ORDER ON PLAINTIFFS' MOTION TO COMPEL

          MARSHA J. PECHMAN, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.

         The above-entitled Court, having received and reviewed:

1. Plaintiffs' Motion to Compel Discovery (Dkt. No. 33);
2. Pentair Defendants' Response to Plaintiffs' Motion to Compel Discovery (Dkt. No. 37);
3. Plaintiffs' Reply in Support of Motion to Compel Discovery (Dkt. No. 41); all attached declarations and exhibits; and relevant parts of the record, and rules as follows:

         IT IS ORDERED that the motion is GRANTED; Pentair is ordered to provide, within 10 business days of the date of this order, complete responses to Plaintiffs' discovery requests in their First Set of Interrogatories and Requests for Production seeking information related to all subsequent series of the product in issue and substantially similar products.

         IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that Defendant (if it has not already done so) provide all information relating to claims made to Pentair relating to SFM2 filters manufactured by Sta-Rite Industries, LLC using the OMNI design.

         Background

         Plaintiffs allege approximately $150, 000 in damages to their home due to the failure of an Omnifilter Undersink Water Filter manufactured by a company which had been acquired by Pentair.[1] Among Plaintiffs' first set of interrogatories was a request for information related to the design, engineering and testing of the filter they had used (the model they had purchased was identified as a Model SFM2, Series A; hereinafter “the Product”), as well as “substantially similar products” (which Plaintiffs defined as the later series of the same model[2]).

         Defendant explains that the Product was designed and manufactured by OMNI Corporation, which was later acquired by Sta-Rite Industries, LLC, which was then purchased by Pentair in 2004. The Product at issue was manufactured after the Pentair acquisition and discontinued in November 2005. Defendant asserts that it has provided Plaintiffs with all the drawings of the Product it received when it bought Sta-Rite.

         Prior to acquiring Sta-Rite, Pentair was already manufacturing a competing filter. Following the discontinuation of the Product, Sta-Rite began manufacturing the Pentair filter and selling it under the same name as the Product (i.e., “Omnifilter SFM2 Filter”). Defendant declares that neither the design of the original SFM2 (“the Product”) or the Pentair filters (Series B and C) now sold as a Model SFM2 have been altered by either Pentair or Sta-Rite since 2002.

         Pentair asserts that “the later filter is a fundamentally different product as it derived from an entirely separate design and manufacturing background.” (Dkt. No. 40, Decl. of Vreeke at ¶ 8.) Defendant further declares that “Pentair cannot readily identify differences between the Omni Corporation SFM2 and the SFM2 filters manufactured using the pre-existing Pentair design… as it did not undertake to identify those differences as a business matter.” (Id. at ¶ 10.)

         Discussion/Analysis

         Plaintiffs are essentially asking for two things: that Pentair be compelled to (1) disclose all non-privileged information regarding the design, testing and manufacture of the later series of the SFM2, and (2) produce all ...


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