Alvarez v. Cooper Tireis a relatively new opinion out of the Florida 4th DCA (Palm Beach and Broward counties, predominantly). Inessence, thecase abrogates the "substantial similarity doctrine" as the check against plaintiffsmaking overbroad discovery demands to product manufacturers for other incident / accident and other makes & modelsinformation.Thejudge who authored the opinion actually encourages "fishing expeditions" as a tool to be used by plaintiffs againstdefendants in such efforts.
The defendant in the case, Cooper Tire, hasfiled a Motion for Rehearing and a Motion for Suggestion of Cert. to the Florida Supreme Court.Those efforts have sat silently with the 4th DCA for 8 months.Although impossible to tell, we do not think the delay can be read as a "positive" considering the claimant-friendly disposition of the Florida 4th DCA.
For now, this isa non-final opinion.Clearly though, it tells us a lot about defendingproducts liability cases in Broward / Palm Beach counties.Most importantly,the standard operating procedure should beto avoid- if possible - litigating discovery disputesin that jurisdiction on a “lack of substantial similarity” objection.Pleasecontact an RKC product liability attorney if you haveany questions about this new opinion or would like to further discuss its implications.
For a more detailed summary about this opinionclick here.