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Ex parte Aramark Mgmt. Servs. L.P.

Alabama Court of Civil Appeals

June 13, 2014

Ex parte Aramark Management Services Limited Partnership; (In re: Yvonne Mitchell
v.
Aramark Management Services Limited Partnership et al.)

Released for Publication January 20, 2015.

Appeal from Montgomery Circuit Court (CV-12-901702), Truman M. Hobbs, Trial Judge.

THOMPSON, Presiding Judge. Pittman, Thomas, Moore, and Donaldson, JJ., concur.

OPINION

Page 408

PETITION FOR WRIT OF MANDAMUS

THOMPSON, Presiding Judge.

Aramark Management Services Limited Partnership (" Aramark" ) petitions this court for a writ of mandamus directing the Montgomery Circuit Court (" the trial court" ) to set aside an order denying Aramark's motion for a protective order and

Page 409

to enter an order precluding Yvonne Mitchell from obtaining personnel records or eliciting testimony regarding the contents of personnel records from Aramark regarding its current and/or former employees. For the reasons set forth below, we grant the petition in part and issue the writ.

The materials the parties submitted in support of and in opposition to the petition indicate the following. Aramark employed Mitchell to work as a " sanitation worker" at Flowers Bakery (" the bakery" ) in Montgomery. On August 31, 2012, Mitchell was cleaning a machine in the bakery when her left hand was caught in the machine. Mitchell lost her left index finger in the accident.

As a result of her injury, Mitchell filed a civil action against Aramark alleging a claim seeking workers' compensation benefits. In the same action, Mitchell alleged a product-liability claim against Moline Machinery, Ltd., which manufactured the machine that caused Mitchell's injury. Also named in the action are a number of fictitiously named defendants, who are described as co-employees of Mitchell's who allegedly removed a safety device from the machine.

Litigation of this action is in the discovery phase. Mitchell has propounded interrogatories on Aramark. One of the interrogatories requested the identity of " any and all individual(s) or entity [sic] responsible for removing a safety device on the subject machine." Aramark objected to the interrogatory to the extent that it was overly broad, unduly burdensome, or sought information that is immaterial, irrelevant, and not reasonably calculated to lead to the discovery of admissible evidence. Aramark went on to say that, without waiving its objection, it did not know the identity of any such person.

A second interrogatory sought information as to whether any employee of Aramark had been disciplined for his or her role in Mitchell's injury and requested information regarding the identity of any such employee, any rule he or she might have violated, and any disciplinary action taken against that employee. Again, Aramark objected on the same grounds as it had to the previous interrogatory discussed.

During a deposition of Chris Harris, an Aramark employee who worked at the bakery, Harris identified five employees--including himself--whose employment with Aramark had been suspended or terminated because either they had removed safety devices from the machine ...


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