Trial Court’s Trade Secrets Discovery Order Reversed by Alabama Supreme Court
Mar 20, 2015
Working with Lightfoot attorneys Adam Peck and Sandy Hooper, Robert Bosch, LLC successfully petitioned the Alabama Supreme Court for a writ of mandamus directing a state trial court to strengthen a protective order governing production of Bosch’s commercial trade secrets. In the underlying wrongful death suit, Plaintiff claimed that the non-deployment of airbags and seatbelt pretensioners in a severe automobile crash was caused by an alleged defect in the crash sensing control unit manufactured by Bosch. The control unit uses a highly sensitive and proprietary algorithm developed by Bosch and which Plaintiff sought in discovery. Bosch objected to producing the algorithm on grounds of relevance, but noted that if production was ordered, the algorithm should be protected to the maximum extent possible. The Alabama Supreme Court agreed with Bosch that the trial court’s protective order “provided insufficient protection for the algorithm, which, as noted, is undisputedly a trade secret” and ordered that the trial court vacate its protective order and “enter a more comprehensive and restrictive protective order with regard to the algorithm.” The Supreme Court’s opinion may be found by clicking here.