Justia Alabama Supreme Court Opinion SummariesArticles Posted in Intellectual Property
Landrum v. Delta International Machinery Corp.
Petitioner Delta International Machinery Corporation (Delta) sought a writ of mandamus to direct the circuit court to vacate an order that granted Respondent Brandon Landrum access to "certain technology" in its control. Respondent was operating a portable bench saw manufactured by Delta. His hand came into contact with the sawblade and ended with injuries to his hand and amputation of his index finger. In 2007, Respondent sued Delta alleging the saw was defective and unreasonably dangerous. Though the parties agreed to a protective order which forbade certain confidential materials from being released to Respondent's expert witness who happened to be employed by one of Delta's competitors, the trial court allowed Respondent's expert to review certain technology in Delta's possession pertaining to design of safety features of the saw. The technology Respondent sought to discover had pre-dated technology that had been developed by a joint venture of all saw manufacturers, of which Delta was a part. Delta claimed that its "flesh-sensing" technology was not discoverable because it did not exist at the time Respondent's saw was manufactured, and pre-dated the joint venture. Delta objected to Respondent's discovery request as "irrelevant" and "confidential." The trial court granted Respondent's motion to inspect. Delta subsequently filed its petition to the Supreme Court. Upon review, the Supreme Court found that the flesh-sensing technology was both a trade secret and was not relevant to Respondent's claims. As such, the Court concluded that the trial court exceeded its discretion in allowing discovery of that technology and in allowing access to the technology by Delta's competitor. The Court granted Delta's request for the writ, and directed the trial court directed the trial court to vacate its order granting Respondent's motion to inspect. View "Landrum v. Delta International Machinery Corp." on Justia Law