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Case No. 21-1652

In the Matter of the Subpoena Issued to Dethmers Manufacturing Company
Tharun Mittapalli

Tharun Mittapalli, the plaintiff in a personal injury and product liability action in Louisiana state court, obtained nonparty subpoenas against Dethmers Manufacturing Company (“Dethmers”), an Iowa corporation, pursuant to Iowa Rule of Civil Procedure 1.1702. In the subpoenas, Mr. Mittapalli sought documents and deposition testimony regarding 22 categories of information involving Dethmers’ EZ Latch coupler. Louisiana law requires a plaintiff in a product-liability case to prove the defendant knew of but did not use an alternative and better product than the one that failed. Mittapalli asserts the EZ Latch Coupler is superior to the one that allegedly failed in the underlying incident, and which U-Haul International, Inc., a defendant in the Louisiana litigation, later started using on its trailers. Dethmers moved to quash the subpoenas, but the district court denied the motions. Dethmers filed notices of appeal. The supreme court consolidated the appeals, and ordered the issue of its jurisdiction to be submitted with other preserved issues. Dethmers argues: (1) the supreme court has jurisdiction because the district court’s entry of orders denying its motions to quash were final and appealable orders; and (2) the district court used the wrong legal standards and abused its discretion in requiring Dethmers to produce an employee to testify essentially as an expert witness in the Louisiana litigation; the subpoenas were overly broad and therefore imposed an undue burden; Dethmers would be required to disclose trade secrets; and Mittapalli had not shown necessity for many types of information in its subpoenas.



In the Matter of the Subpoena Issued to Dethmers Manufacturing Company


Tharun Mittapalli

Attorney for the Appellant

Daniel E. Dekoter

Attorneys for the Appellee

Frederick W. James
Nicholas A. Blanda

Supreme Court

Oral Argument Schedule


Dec 14, 2022 1:30 PM


Supreme Court Opinion

Opinion Number:
Date Published:
Feb 10, 2023

Other Information

Date Retained:
Jul 26, 2022
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