WSHC+B partner and chair of the firm’s appellate practice group, Ed Guedes, made sure the tactic to obtain corporate-wide discovery from his client, Publix Super Markets, Inc., in a garden variety slip-and-fall case will not be allowed.
Last week, the Third District Court of Appeal quashed the Miami-Dade Circuit Court’s discovery order, which partially allowed a deposition of a corporate representative with respect to 150 areas of inquiry. The court reasoned that the deposition notice was impermissible, to the extent that it permitted corporate-wide discovery.
“We’re starting to see certain law firms using this tactic as a bludgeon rather than a way to refine certain questions that need to be answered by a corporate representative,” Ed told the Daily Business Review in an article about his representation. “It has become a free-for-all, ‘We want access to all your company information on all these topics and you just better make somebody do it.’ We pushed back because that is not what the statute contemplates.”
The court agreed with Ed, stating in its ruling that the tactic “amounts to impermissible carte blanche discovery that results in irreparable harm and departs from the essential requirements of the law.” The court also expressly held that plaintiffs suing for an accident caused by a transitory foreign substance are not permitted to proceed on a theory of negligent mode of operation.
“The decision provides stronger and clearer guidance to trial judges as to what is permissible in terms of discovery when you are dealing with these premises liability cases governed by the statute,” Ed said. “It has to be narrower; it cannot be the broad exploration that happened here.”
A Fellow of the prestigious American Academy of Appellate Lawyers and ranked by Chambers USA in appellate law, Ed Guedes is widely known for his representation of business and government clients in high-stakes appeals. He has litigated dozens of appeals before the Florida Supreme Court, Florida’s district courts of appeal and the U.S. Courts of Appeals in a wide variety of matters.
Daily Business Review (January 26, 2023) ‘Using This Tactic as a Bludgeon’: Appellate Court Rejects Corporate-Wide Discovery Order