Skip to Content

Protecting Trade Secrets from Discovery Disclosure in Florida

Recently, the Second District Court of Appeal of Florida reviewed the steps a trial court should take to protect trade secrets from disclosure in discovery. In Bright House Networks,  LLC v. Cassidy, 129 So.3d 501, 2014 WL 84237 (Fla.2d DCA 2014), the appellate court reversed a trial court decision compelling discovery of a company's customers who had contracts at discounted prices and the terms of those discounts. Bright House contended this information was trade secret and not subject to discovery.

The Second DCA held that, when faced with an objection arguing trade secret, a trial court must first determine whether the requested information is in fact a trade secret. Usually this requires an in camera inspection. If the information is deemed trade secret, then the court must determine whether the requesting party has shown a reasonable necessity for the information. If the court orders disclosure it must make findings to support its determination, and may need to order appropriate safeguards against dissemination of the information.

The appellate court recognized that customer lists and customer information may indeed qualify as trade secrets under the definition in Florida Statutes Section 688.002. In quashing the discovery order compelling disclosure of the information, the Second DCA stated that the trial court may need to conduct an additional  hearing to make these determinations.

©2024 Carlton Fields, P.A. Carlton Fields practices law in California through Carlton Fields, LLP. Carlton Fields publications should not be construed as legal advice on any specific facts or circumstances. The contents are intended for general information and educational purposes only, and should not be relied on as if it were advice about a particular fact situation. The distribution of this publication is not intended to create, and receipt of it does not constitute, an attorney-client relationship with Carlton Fields. This publication may not be quoted or referred to in any other publication or proceeding without the prior written consent of the firm, to be given or withheld at our discretion. To request reprint permission for any of our publications, please use our Contact Us form via the link below. The views set forth herein are the personal views of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of the firm. This site may contain hypertext links to information created and maintained by other entities. Carlton Fields does not control or guarantee the accuracy or completeness of this outside information, nor is the inclusion of a link to be intended as an endorsement of those outside sites.


The information on this website is presented as a service for our clients and Internet users and is not intended to be legal advice, nor should you consider it as such. Although we welcome your inquiries, please keep in mind that merely contacting us will not establish an attorney-client relationship between us. Consequently, you should not convey any confidential information to us until a formal attorney-client relationship has been established. Please remember that electronic correspondence on the internet is not secure and that you should not include sensitive or confidential information in messages. With that in mind, we look forward to hearing from you.