final until disposition of timely filed motion for rehearing.
of Certiorari to the Circuit Court for Miami-Dade County,
Thomas J. Rebull, Judge.Lower Tribunal No. 16-7784
of Original Jurisdiction -- Mandamus.
Robinson, P.A., and Frank A. Shepherd; K&L Gates LLP,
Carol C. Lumpkin, Jonathan B. Morton, and Hayden P.
O'Byrne, for petitioner.
Mucci & Weiss, P.L. and Matthew D. Cohen (Coral Springs);
Griesing Law, LLC, and Julie Negovan (Philadelphia, PA), for
SALTER, FERNANDEZ, and MILLER, JJ.
Ludeca, Inc., the defending party and counterclaimant in the
proceedings below, has filed an original petition for writ of
mandamus seeking to compel the lower tribunal to halt the
imminently scheduled trial in a declaratory relief action
involving proprietary rights to customer data. In furtherance
of its entitlement to relief, petitioner asserts that the
trial court failed to strictly adhere to the requirements of
Florida Rule of Civil Procedure 1.440. Petitioner further
seeks a writ of certiorari to quash an order severing its
compulsory trade secret misappropriation counterclaim from
the primary action. Petitioner contends the bifurcation of
the interwoven claims inflicts harm irremediable on direct
appeal and constitutes a departure from the essential
requirements of law. For the reasons elucidated below, we
complaint in this case alleges, in substance, that for well
over twenty years, petitioner served as the sole authorized
distributor in the United States of certain industrial
alignment and monitoring products produced by a German
manufacturer, Pruftechnik. Respondents, Alignment and
Condition Monitoring, Inc., Lazertech, LLC, L & V
Diagnostics, Inc., Shoreline Alignment & Vibration, LLC,
and Solute, LLC, were independent sales representatives
engaged in selling Pruftechnik's products to various
consumers. Each completed consumer transaction generated a
compendium of valuable customer data.
Between 2006 and 2016, a series of occurrences, including the
initiation of litigation in a German tribunal, eventually
divested petitioner of its exclusive distributor status and
paved the way for Pruftechnik to directly and indirectly
peddle its own products within the United States.
2016, respondents filed the instant suit seeking a judicial
imprimatur of their right to use the compilation of customer
data acquired pursuant to the sales transactions. By late
2017, petitioner had answered the complaint and the pleadings
April 25, 2019, following a case management conference, the
lower court issued an order scheduling trial for
approximately two months later. Thereafter, petitioner sought
leave to file a counterclaim and, simultaneously, requested a
continuance of the trial. The court convened a hearing and
granted leave to amend, but denied the motion for
continuance. The following day, petitioner filed an emergency
motion to remove the case from the trial docket contending
the reopening of the pleadings rendered the case no longer at
issue. Respondents then moved to bifurcate the declaratory
relief action from the misappropriation of trade secrets