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Neb. company fights subpoena in dispute over Fla. measure that would list governor candidates in a new way on ballots

By Gabriel Neves | Mar 18, 2019

LINCOLN, Neb. (Legal Newsline) – A software company is fighting a subpoena in a lawsuit over the constitutionality of a Florida statue that challenges the order of the names listed on the ballot for the gubernatorial election, saying the subpoena seeks the disclosure of confidential information.

Omaha-based Election Systems & Software LLC (ES&S) filed a motion to quash the subpoena at the U.S. District Court for the District of Nebraska on Feb. 28 in the lawsuit filed by Democrat organizations.

The company was involved as the plaintiffs requested the judge to force ES&S to comply with a subpoena to produce documents, which ES&S alleges include trade secrets and other confidential material as part of a suit that challenges a controversial Florida statute regarding the ballot for the gubernatorial election.

The lawsuit was filed in May and challenges the Florida Ballot Order Statute, which states: 

"The names of the candidates of the party that received the highest number of votes for governor in the last election in which a governor was elected shall be placed first for each office on the general election ballot, together with an appropriate abbreviation of the party name; the names of the candidates of the party that received the second highest vote for governor shall be placed second for each office, together with an appropriate abbreviation of the party name."

Among the reasons to quash the subpoena, ES&S claimed the subpoena is "impermissibly" broad and would require disclosures of trade secrets.

"Given the sensitivity of the requested documentation and information, the risks to ES&S of disclosure in the lawsuit outweigh any tangential or hypothetical alleged need plaintiffs have for such documentation and information. ('Moreover, the potential injury that disclosure might cause [the third party] outweighs the need of [plaintiff] to obtain the information.'). For all of the foregoing reasons, the subpoena should be quashed," the motion said.

ES&S is represented by attorneys Michael C. Cox, and John V. Matson of Koley Jessen PC of Omaha.

U.S. District Court for the District of Nebraska case number 8:19-cv-00091-JMG-SMB

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