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Florida Fifth DCA find that trial court’s refusal to permit plaintiff to publish deposition of defendant’s designated corporate representative constituted reversible error

On October 29, 2021, in Demoura v. The Travelers Home and Marine Insurance Company, No. 5D21-109, the Florida Fifth DCA reversed a directed verdict for the defendant insurance company in a motor vehicle negligence case and remanded for a new trial, finding that the trial court erred when it prevented the plaintiff from publishing to the jury, pursuant to Florida Rule of Civil Procedure 1.330(a)(2), the deposition testimony of the defendant’s corporate representative. The plaintiff’s vehicle had been struck in a rear-end collision by a vehicle driven by the defendant’s insured. The defendant had been paying the plaintiff’s chiropractic bills but stopped after a compulsory medical examination was performed which allegedly revealed that the treatment was not reasonable, medically necessary, or related to the subject accident. The defendant’s corporate representative testified in deposition that he had received a letter from the plaintiff’s attorney demanding resumption of the payments and that the only reason that the payments stopped was the opinion of the doctor who performed the compulsory medical examination. At trial, the plaintiff attempted to introduce the deposition transcript without the live testimony of the corporate representative, arguing that it was admissible under Fla. R. Civ. P. 1.330(a)(2), which provides, in part, that the deposition of a person designated under Fla. R. Civ. P. 1.100(b)(6) to testify on behalf of a corporate party may be used by an adverse party for any purpose. Given the plain language of Rule 1.330(a)(2), the Fifth DCA ruled that the trial court’s denial of plaintiff’s request was reversible error.