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Flis v. Kia - Ford Removal From Case

Michigan
Mar 29, 2005

CASE RESULTS DEPEND UPON A VARIETY OF FACTORS UNIQUE TO EACH CASE. CASE RESULTS DO NOT GUARANTEE OR PREDICT A SIMILAR RESULT IN ANY FUTURE CASE.

Michigan Judge agrees to quash plaintiff's request for Volvo documents in Indiana Kia case

DETROIT, MI - On March 29, 2005, the Honorable Judge Donald Scheer of U.S. District Court, Eastern District of Michigan agreed to quash Plaintiff’s request for confidential and proprietary Ford documents (actually produced by Ford's subsidiary, Volvo) for a Kia case currently pending in Indiana. Ford is not a party in the underlying action, and no Ford or Volvo vehicle is involved in the Flis claim.

This action arose when the attorneys for Plaintiffs Mr. and Mrs. Flis served a subpoena on Ford Motor Company for confidential documents, even though no Ford vehicle was involved in her accident. The Flis's had filed suit against Kia Motors Corporation and Kia Motors America arising out of an alleged rollover accident on February 8, 2002 in Indiana involving a 1998 Kia Sportage.

Plaintiffs argued that Ford's documents would be relevant to their claim against Kia. These documents were produced pursuant to a protective order in a case called Moore v Ford in federal court in Texas. While the protective order provided for the limited use and disclosure of these documents, Plaintiffs in the Flis case argued the documents could be used in all cases involving rollovers, regardless of whether a Ford vehicle was involved, in direct contravention of the protective order. The documents contain proprietary information of Ford (and of its subsidiary Volvo).

Judge Scheer held that the protective order in the Moore case precluded the release of the documents in the Flis case. He also agreed with Ford’s position that what Plaintiffs were attempting to do was use Ford's expert opinion in support of their case in violation of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure. The Federal Rules of Civil Procedure also do not permit Plaintiffs to compel Ford's expert engineers to testify in their case when they have no involvement in the vehicle that is the subject of their claim.

Case Name -- JANE A. FLIS and RICHARD J. FLIS, JR. v. KIA MOTORS CORPORATION and KIA MOTORS AMERICA, INC.

Attorneys for the Defense: Tom Branigan of Bowman and Brooke’s Detroit office.

Attorneys for the Plaintiff: Robert N.M. Palmer of Springfield, MO.

Judge: Donald Scheer

Case Number: 1:03-cv-1567

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