In your complex business litigation case, there may be several points in the process at which you could find yourself in a “courtroom battle” situation with the other side. Obviously, the trial is one. Before that, though, you may have to litigate disputes over things like the disclosure of certain information. In business, much information can be material that is kept hidden and whose disclosure could be harmful to that entity’s business interests. To that end, it may be important to take any steps available to avoid making that disclosure. On the other hand, obtaining certain disclosures may be the key to achieving success in your business litigation lawsuit. For these and other adversarial battles, it pays to have experienced Georgia business litigation counsel on your side.
A recent case from the federal courts provided an example of this and the processes that can be involved in certain complex business litigation actions. The plaintiffs in the case were a finance company and an individual. The pair were both minority shareholders in a Luxembourg-based entity that was in the life insurance settlements business. The minority shareholders planned to bring a legal action in Luxembourg against one of the company’s board of directors for his undisclosed ownership interest in another third-party life settlement management entity.
The minority shareholders brought their 28 USC 1782 action in the Southern District of Florida federal court because the undisclosed life settlement company, which they sought to compel to produce certain documents for the Luxembourg case, was based in Pompano Beach. The trial court sided with the minority shareholders and ordered the Pompano Beach-based company to give the minority shareholders the information they sought.
Along the way, the Florida-based company filed a motion to quash the subpoena issued by the trial court, which was unsuccessful. This fact was a key point in the Florida company’s appeal, since the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals (whose decisions affect Florida, Georgia, and Alabama) expressly dedicated a portion of its opinion to addressing the issue of appellate jurisdiction.
Once a trial court has issued a subpoena for certain information, your next recourse is to file a request asking the judge to quash that subpoena. An order quashing a subpoena essentially nullifies it and removes your obligation to comply. If, however, you lose your motion to quash, your options could become more complicated.
The law says that only final appealable orders may be taken up to the next higher court. In some situations, a denial of a motion to quash is not considered a final appealable order that you could take to the court of appeals. The 11th Circuit pointed out that an order denying a motion to quash, when that motion is filed in a Section 1782 case like this one, is a final appealable order, and the Florida company was entitled to make its argument before the 11th Circuit.
Unfortunately for the Florida company, it still lost, since the appeals court determined that the lower court was properly within its discretion in denying the motion to quash and upholding the motion to compel the discovery the minority shareholders sought.
Whether your corporate entity is based in Buckhead or Belgium, your shareholder litigation action can be a multifaceted litigation, and it pays to make sure that you have strong and experienced counsel handling your case. The skilled Atlanta business litigation attorneys at Poole Huffman, LLC have been working for many years to help their business clients achieve the results they need. Contact our attorneys online or by calling (404) 373-4008 to schedule your confidential consultation.
More blog posts:
Confirmation Letters – Avoiding Potential Conflict Regarding Agreement Terms, Atlanta Business Litigation Attorneys Blog, April 5, 2016
Caution Landlords: Accepting Money After Filing an Eviction Impacts Your Rights, Atlanta Business Litigation Attorneys Blog, Feb. 8, 2013