Mandamus Review of Order Compelling Discovery


Ex parte Harbor Freight Tools USA, Inc., [Ms. 1190969, Jan. 22, 2021], ___ So. 3d ___ (Ala. 2021). The Court (Mendheim, J.; Parker, C.J., and Shaw, Wise, Bryan, Stewart, and Mitchell, JJ., concur; Bolin and Sellers, JJ., concur in the result) denies as premature Harbor Freight’s petition for a writ of mandamus seeking discovery of other similar incidents in a product liability action. Citing decisions such as Ex parte Horton Homes, Inc., 774 So. 2d 536, 540 (Ala. 2000), the Court reiterates that “a party must file with the trial court what amounts, in substance, to a motion for a protective order that notifies the trial court of the errors that the party believes the trial court committed in granting the motion to compel.” Ms. *17. The Court explains

To the extent that Harbor Freight seeks mandamus relief on the grounds that the trial court’s July16, 2020, order granting the Websters’ motion to compel failed to limit discovery (1) to a specific period; (2) to incidents occurring in a specific geographic area; (3) to documents concerning only item number 60644; and (4) to accidents involving item number 60644 being used to transport people, the petition is premature because Harbor Freight failed to seek a protective order raising the need for those limitations on discovery after the trial court entered the order granting the Websters’ motion to compel. To the extent that Harbor Freight seeks mandamus relief based on the trial court’s implicit denial of its motion to adopt its proposed protective order [limiting use of the information to the Websters’ case], Harbor Freight has failed to demonstrate that any information that might be disclosed by providing the requested documents warrants the protections outlined in the proposed protective order. Accordingly, the petition is due to be denied.

Ms. **23-24.

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