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Steuben Foods, Inc. v. Gea Process Engineering, Inc.

United States District Court, W.D. New York

March 17, 2017

STEUBEN FOODS, INC, Plaintiff,
v.
GEA PROCESS ENGINEERING, INC, d/b/a GEA Procomac, and GEA PROCOMAC S.P.A., Defendants.

          DECISION AND ORDER

          Elizabeth A. Wolford United States District Judge

         INTRODUCTION

         Plaintiff Steuben Foods, Inc. ("Plaintiff) has sued Defendants GEA Process Engineering and GEA Procomac S.p.A. (collectively "Defendants") for patent infringement under 35 U.S.C. §§ 100 et seq. (Dkt. 1). Plaintiffs complaint, filed on September 24, 2012, alleges, among other things, that Defendants have infringed United States Patent No. 6, 209, 591 (the '"591 Patent"). (Id. at ¶¶ 65-71). The '591 Patent issued on April 3, 2001, and is entitled "Apparatus and Method for Providing Container Filling in an Aseptic Processing Apparatus." (Id. at ¶ 23).

         This case was initially assigned to the Honorable William M. Skretny, United States District Judge. On December 20, 2013, Judge Skretny entered an order referring this matter to the Honorable Jeremiah J. McCarthy, United States Magistrate Judge, for hearing and disposition of all non-dispositive motions or applications, supervision of discovery, and to hear and report upon dispositive motions pursuant to 28 U.S.C. §§ 636(1)(B) and (C). (Dkt. 89).

         Defendants filed a motion for summary judgment of non-infringement of the '591 Patent on November 18, 2015. (Dkt. 227). On April 4, 2016, Magistrate Judge McCarthy recommended that this Court grant in part and deny in part Defendant's motion. (Dkt. 292). With the Magistrate Judge's leave (Dkt. 295), Defendants filed an amended motion for summary judgment on April 15, 2016. (Dkt. 300). Magistrate Judge McCarthy filed a second Report and Recommendation on August 26, 2016, this time recommending that the Court grant Defendants' amended motion for summary judgment of non-infringement of the '591 Patent. (Dkt. 356). Presently before the Court are Plaintiffs objections to the second Report and Recommendation. (Dkt. 366).

         The Court has reviewed the second Report and Recommendation (Dkt. 356); the objections, response, and reply (Dkts. 366, 380, 388); the amended summary judgment motion and briefing papers (Dkts. 300, 308, 315, 321-22, 339-41); the transcript of the oral argument on the amended summary judgment motion, and the parties' accompanying argument outlines (Dkts. 327, 328, 331); the first Report and Recommendation (Dkt. 292); and the original summary judgment motion and briefing papers (Dkts. 227-28; 246-48; 254; 266-70). For the reasons stated below, the Court denies Plaintiffs objections, adopts the second Report and Recommendation in whole, and grants Defendants' amended motion for summary judgment (Dkt. 300). Defendants' initial motion for summary judgment (Dkt. 227) is denied as moot.

         BACKGROUND

         The factual and procedural background of this case is set forth in detail in the two Reports and Recommendations. (See Dkt. 292 at 1-6; Dkt. 356 at 1-2). Familiarity with the Reports and Recommendations is assumed for purposes of this Decision and Order.

         DISCUSSION

         I. Standard of Review

         A district court reviews any specific objections to a report and recommendation under a de novo standard. Fed.R.Civ.P. 72(b)(3); see also 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1)(C) ("A judge of the court shall make a de novo determination of those portions of the report or specified proposed findings or recommendations to which objection is made."). To trigger the de novo review standard, objections must "specifically identify the portions of the proposed findings and recommendations to which objection is made and the basis for each objection." L.R. Civ. P. 72(b); see, e.g., Molefe v. KLM Royal Dutch Airlines, 602 F.Supp.2d 485, 487 (S.D.N.Y.2009). Following review of the report and recommendation, the district judge "may accept, reject, or modify, in whole or in part, the findings or recommendations made by the magistrate judge." 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1).

         II. Plaintiffs Objections Lack Merit

         Plaintiff has made the following objections to the second Report and Recommendation (the "R&R"): (1) the R&R improperly narrows the meaning of the word "into"; (2) the R&R fails to resolve the parties' dispute regarding the definition of the first and second sterile regions; (3) the R&R improperly construes the claim by reference to the accused device; (4) the R&R improperly rejects Plaintiffs infringement theory under its own construction of the word "into"; (5) the R&R improperly relies on Plaintiffs infringement contentions and annotated demonstratives; and (6) the R&R improperly failed to consider and approve Plaintiffs request for additional discovery. The Court has considered each of these objections and, for the reasons set forth below, finds them to be without merit.

         A. The R&R Properly Construes the Word ...


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