Corporate Representative for Power Company Defendant Can’t Escape Deposition Notice Based On Long Period of Inquiry

FLORIDA – The plaintiff, Larry Cook, sued his employer Florida Power & Light Company (FPL) under negligence and premises liability theories for injuries allegedly sustained while working with or around asbestos in FPL power plants. Cook issued several notices for the deposition of a corporate representative of FPL to discover information regarding their use of asbestos, and requested documents and other materials from the company dating back to 1925.  FPL moved for protective orders arguing that compliance would be burdensome and costly. The court denied FPL’s motions and FPL filed a writ of certiorari to review the orders.

To grant certiorari relief there must be:

  1. A material injury in the proceedings that cannot be corrected on appeal (sometimes referred to as irreparable harm)
  2. A departure from the essential requirements of the law.

The court noted that FPL was only required to designate a corporate representative who could testify about matters known or reasonably available to the organization. Because they were unable to identify what matters were known or reasonably available to FPL at this stage in the litigation, the court saw no evidence of irreparable harm and found no certiorari jurisdiction.

Read the case decision here.