United States District Court, M.D. Florida, Jacksonville Division
Patricia D. Barksdale United States Magistrate Judge
the Court are three motions to compel discovery and award
expenses: one by Pittsburgh Logistics Systems, Inc.
(“PLS”), Doc. 36, and two by GlobalTranz
Enterprises, Inc. (“GlobalTranz”), Docs. 21, 27.
The motions are opposed, though some issues have been
resolved. Docs. 23, 30, 38. The Court heard arguments on
January 25 and May 8. Docs. 24, 39. The discovery deadline is
June 18. Doc. 41.
complaint, PLS alleges these facts.
provides transportation logistics services. Doc. 1 ¶ 7.
PLS spends significant resources training account executives;
gives them access to proprietary and confidential
information; and requires them to sign non-compete agreements
that restrict them for two years from using or disclosing
confidential information, providing competitive logistics
services in North America, soliciting PLS customers, and
soliciting PLS employees to leave PLS. Doc. 1 ¶¶
competes directly with PLS. Doc. 1 ¶ 13. As part of its
business model, GlobalTranz foregoes training and pirates
experienced account executives from competitors. Doc. 1
¶ 13. GlobalTranz solicited PLS employees to leave PLS
and take PLS customers and confidential information with them
despite that PLS warned GlobalTranz they were bound by the
non-compete agreements. Doc. 1 ¶¶ 16, 17.
October 2016, PLS and GlobalTranz entered a confidential
written agreement. Doc. 1 ¶ 18. In the agreement,
GlobalTranz promised to not disclose confidential information
acquired from PLS, to not disclose the nature or purpose of
the agreement, and to not solicit PLS employees for two
years. Doc. 1 ¶ 19. To further its continuing and
unlawful recruitment of PLS employees, GlobalTranz used and
disclosed the confidential information. Doc. 1 ¶ 21.
on those allegations, PLS claims GlobalTranz tortiously
interfered with relationships with PLS customers and PLS
account executives and breached the agreement. Doc. 1
¶¶ 30-39. PLS seeks declaratory relief, injunctive
relief, damages, costs, and attorney's fees. Doc. 1 at
5-8. According to PLS's expert, PLS has suffered damages
exceeding $20 million, including approximately $4 million in
lost profits and approximately $7 to $21 million in costs to
recruit and train new employees.
prior motion, PLS moved to compel discovery from GlobalTranz.
Doc. 12. The Court denied the motion without prejudice to
renewing any argument after the parties conferred to resolve
the matter. Doc. 17.
Rule of Civil Procedure 1 provides that the rules
“should be construed, administered, and employed by the
court and the parties to secure the just, speedy, and
inexpensive determination of every action and
proceeding.” The rule places shared
“responsibility to employ the rules in the same
way.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 1, Advisory Comm. Notes (2015
Amend.). “Effective advocacy is consistent with-and
indeed depends upon-cooperative and proportional use of
26(b)(1) provides that a party “may obtain discovery
regarding any nonprivileged matter that is relevant to any
party's claim or defense and proportional to the needs of
the case, considering the importance of the issues at stake
in the action, the amount in controversy, the parties'
relative access to relevant information, the parties'
resources, the importance of the discovery in resolving the
issues, and whether the burden or expense of the proposed
discovery outweighs its likely benefit.”
action is based on diversity jurisdiction, the forum
state's law controls attorney-client privilege. Bradt
v. Smith, 634 F.2d 796, 800 (5th Cir. Unit A 1981).
Under Florida law, “A client has a privilege to refuse
to disclose, and to prevent any other person from disclosing,
the contents of confidential communications when such other
person learned of the communications because they were made
in the rendition of legal services to the client.” Fla.
Stat. § 90.502(2). The privilege protects only
disclosures necessary to obtain informed legal advice.
Genovese v. Provident Life and Accident Ins. Co., 74
So.3d 1064, 1067 (Fla. 2011). The burden of establishing the
privilege is on the person claiming it. Southern Bell
Tel. & Tel. Co., 632 So.2d 1377, 1383 (Fla. 1994).
33(b)(4), governing interrogatories, provides that grounds
for objecting to an interrogatory must be specific, and any
ground not timely stated is waived unless the court excuses
untimeliness for good cause. Rule 34(b)(2)(B), governing
requests for production, provides, “For each item or
category, the response must either state that inspection and
related activities will be permitted as requested or state
with specificity the grounds for objecting to the request,
including the reasons.” The rule further provides,
“An objection must state whether any responsive
materials are being withheld on the basis of that objection.
An objection to part of a request must specify the part and
permit inspection of the rest.” Fed.R.Civ.P.
34(b)(2)(C). A party must respond in writing to an
interrogatory or request for production within 30 days of
service. Fed.R.Civ.P. 33(b)(2); 34(b)(2)(A). “Nowhere
in the ...