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Florida Fifth DCA rules that trial court erred in ordering non-party resident of Colorado to appear for deposition in Florida as a designated corporate representative of corporate plaintiff

On May 10, 2019, in U.S. Bank National Association v. Williamson, Np. 5D18-3992,  the Florida Fifth DCA granted the petition of the plaintiff bank in a foreclosure action to quash a trial court order requiring a bank employee who lived in Colorado to appear in Florida and be deposed by the defendant as a designated corporate representative of the plaintiff bank. Florida Rule of Civil Procedure 1.310(b)(6) allows a party to depose a private corporation or association and to set forth with reasonable particularity in its notice of taking deposition the matters on which the corporate examination is requested. If the corporation is a plaintiff in the case, the defendant may require that the deposition take place within the county in which the plaintiff filed the lawsuit,  See Ormond Beach First Nat’l Bank v. J.M. Montgomery Roofing Co., 189 So. 2d 239, 243 (Fla. 1st DCA 1966) (holding that a plaintiff who has selected the forum in which to institute the action must be prepared to appear in the forum to give a deposition if properly served with notice to do so by the defendant).  However, in the instant case, the defendant, not the plaintiff, chose the corporate representative to be deposed.  The Fifth DCA observed that the plain and unambiguous language of rule 1.310(b)(6) requires that the corporation, and not the party seeking the deposition, has the authority to designate its corporate representative to testify at deposition on its behalf. The Fifth DCA concluded that the trial court departed from the essential requirements of law in allowing the defendant to designate the plaintiff’s representative and to compel his attendance in Orange County for deposition in this representative capacity.

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