DNJS HOLDINGS, LLC, DEAN SEVERIDT, JUSTIN SEVERIDT & NIKOLAS SEVERIDT, Petitioners,
PET DOCTORS OPERATING LLC, PET DOCTORS HOLDINGS, LLLP, KLF INVESTMENTS, INC., FARZIN DARABI, PETVET CARE CENTERS, LLC, PETVET CARE CENTERS (FLORIDA), LLC, KAGC, INC., and VPP, INC., Respondents.
FINAL UNTIL TIME EXPIRES TO FILE MOTION FOR REHEARING AND
DISPOSITION THEREOF IF FILED
for Writ of Certiorari - Original Jurisdiction.
R. Gooden of Boyd & Jenerette, Jacksonville; and R.
Taylor Speer of Turner Padget Graham & Laney, P.A.,
Greenville, SC, for Petitioners.
Zachary R. Roth of Ansbacher Law, Jacksonville, for
Respondents Farzin Darabi and KLF Investments, Inc.; and J.
Rice Ferrelle, Jr. of Ferrelle Burns, P.A., Neptune Beach,
for Respondents Pet Doctors Operating, LLC and Pet Doctors
filed a petition for writ of certiorari requesting we quash
the trial court's order granting respondents' request
for a protective order and denying petitioners' request
for discovery related to the 2015 sale of the companies Pet
Doctors Operating LLC and Pet Doctors Holdings, LLLP.
Petitioners argue discovery pertaining to this sale is
essential to their cause of action filed under the Florida
Uniform Fraudulent Transfers Act (FUFTA), in which they
allege the 2015 sale was fraudulent. They argue the
court's order caused irreparable harm that cannot be
remedied on appeal because the order completely prohibits
their ability to bring the FUFTA claim.
have not argued that discovery pertaining to the 2015 sale
would be irrelevant to petitioners' cause of action under
FUFTA, nor did the trial court specifically address the FUFTA
claim in its ruling.
petitioners have demonstrated that information establishing
the existence and amount of the 2015 sale is critical to
their cause of action alleging that the sale was fraudulent.
The order effectively eviscerates petitioners' cause of
action under FUFTA, and there is no other way for petitioners
reasonably to obtain the information.
this court in PDR Grayson Dental Lab, LLC v. Progressive
Dental Reconstruction, Inc., 203 So.3d 213 (Fla. 1st DCA
2016), granted certiorari relief where a plaintiff was denied
discovery. The plaintiff purchased a laboratory business and
later brought a cause of action against the seller for
accounting and bookkeeping fraud. Id. at 214.
Although the plaintiff obtained financial information from
the seller before purchasing the business, he alleged the
information he obtained from the seller was fraudulent and
that it differed from the information the seller submitted to
his accounting firm for tax return preparation. Id.
This court found the plaintiff was irreparably harmed by not
obtaining the documents because they were essential to his
cause of action. Further, this court "could not remedy
the harm of non-production on plenary appeal, because we
could not 'determine after judgment how the requested
discovery would have affected the outcome of the
proceedings.'" Id. at 215 (quoting
Giacalone v. Helen Ellis Mem'l Hosp. Found.,
Inc., 8 So.3d 1232, 1234-35 (Fla. 2d DCA 2009)). See
also Simpson v. State, 117 So.3d 412 (Fla. 2013)
(finding defendant who sought discovery of physical evidence
related to his postconviction claims demonstrated irreparable
harm because without access to that physical evidence,
"[t]his would not only eviscerate his ability to
litigate and demonstrate his claims, but would deprive this
Court of being able to conduct a meaningful review on
appeal"); Anderson v. Vander Meiden ex rel.
Duggan, 56 So.3d 830, 831 (Fla. 2d DCA 2011) (finding
where defendant sought to raise the defense of setoff based
on the plaintiff's settlement with other nonparties,
trial court's denial of request for discovery related to
the settlement agreements created irreparable harm that could
not be remedied on plenary appeal).
this case similar to PDR Grayson and
Giacalone, in which the Second District found a
patient's request for documentation regarding a
hospital's internal cost structure and the discounts
granted to the various categories of patients that it served
was "critical" to establishing both his cause of
action against the hospital alleging charges for his
treatment were unreasonable and his affirmative defenses
against the hospital's attempt to obtain payment from
him. The discovery pertaining to petitioners' FUFTA claim
is essential to their cause of action, and the court's
order created irreparable harm that cannot be remedied on
appeal. Thus, we GRANT the petition for writ of certiorari
and QUASH the trial court's order.
remand, the trial court should evaluate respondents'
request for confidentiality pursuant to Alterra
Healthcare Corp. v. Estate ...