A Florida state appeals court recently denied a motion by the defendant in an asbestos cancer lawsuit to bar testimony from one of its company executives who plaintiffs say would have inside knowledge about the defendant’s history and interactions with asbestos-containing products, as well as its adherence to occupational health and safety laws. The mesothelioma cancer lawsuit names utility company Florida Power & Light Co. as the defendant and accused the business of knowingly exposing the plaintiff to dangerous carcinogens which caused his cancer diagnosis and other health problems.
According to the mesothelioma cancer lawsuit, originally filed in 2017 in Miami-Dade County Circuit Court, the plaintiff developed mesothelioma from decades of asbestos exposure over the course of his employment at Florida Power & Light Co. The plaintiff asserts that the company’s negligence is responsible for his deadly cancer diagnosis by allowing him to work with and around asbestos at power plants operated by Florida Power & Light without any warning about the dangers posed by the carcinogenic material.
In its defense of the lawsuit, Florida Power & Light Co. sought a court’s injunction to block the plaintiff from deposing corporate representatives who would testify about the victim’s work conditions at the time of his employment. According to court documents, “FPL moved for protective orders from each notice and in support, submitted an affidavit prepared by its senior attorney, stating that compliance and production would require FPL to expend significant time, be voluminous and would cost millions of dollars.”
Fortunately, the judges of Florida’s Third District Court of Appeal denied the defendant’s motion to avoid compliance with key portions of the case’s discovery process, the phase of the case where the law requires both parties turn over evidence and give testimony to their knowledge about key facts of the lawsuit. The judges of the court’s appellate panel denied Florida Power & Lighting’s petition after determining the court did not have jurisdiction in the matter as the company would not suffer irreparable harm by complying with the orders.
“As the trial court expressly instructed, FPL is required only to designate a corporate representative who is able to testify about matters known or reasonably available to the organization,” the opinion said. “Although FPL may have meritorious arguments in favor of a protective order at some later time in the litigation when the record is more developed, the record before us does not reflect that the orders under review amount to irreparable harm.”
The case is another example of the lengths to which negligent asbestos companies will go in order to try and skirt liability. Fortunately, our civil justice system gives mesothelioma cancer victims the right to hold wrongdoers accountable and seek compensation for the harm caused by asbestos companies.
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If you or a loved one was diagnosed with mesothelioma, contact our office to speak to one of our experienced mesothelioma attorneys about your situation. Our office can help investigate your case and determine if compensation can be sought from negligent parties to help pay for your medical treatment to help you and your family live a more comfortable life.