Typically, a case does not reach the appellate court level until after a final judgment is entered in the court in which the lawsuit was filed. Sometimes, however, it is necessary for an appeals court to rule on particular issues earlier in the litigation.
In a recent case, the Court of Appeals for the Thirteenth District of Texas was called upon to decide whether the plaintiff in a certain lawsuit was entitled to take the deposition of a representative of an opposing party (her uninsured motorist insurance company).
Facts of the Case
In the case of In re Luna, a woman injured in a car accident brought suit against the driver of the other vehicle involved in the collision. The woman claimed that the driver was at fault in the wreck but that he had no liability insurance; the woman further asserted that she was covered under an uninsured motorist (UM) policy at the time of the accident. As the litigation progressed, the plaintiff’s original action was splintered into several separate cases.
The first lawsuit (the original cause of action between the plaintiff and the driver who caused the accident) resulted in a default judgment in the plaintiff’s favor. In the second lawsuit, which pertained to the plaintiff’s contractual claims under the UM policy, the woman requested that she be allowed to take the deposition of a corporate representative of the purported UM insurance company. The insurance company resisted the woman’s request for a deposition.
The trial court granted the insurance company’s motion to quash the deposition and refused to consider the woman’s motion for reconsideration until after the matter was tried.
Proceeding Before the Court of Appeals
The woman filed a petition for a writ of mandamus, seeking to compel the trial court to allow her to depose the insurance company’s representative. After carefully considering the respective arguments of the parties, the court conditionally granted the woman’s petition for a writ of mandamus. According to the court, the woman had shown herself entitled to the relief sought, but the trial court was to be allowed to consider and rule on any requests to limit the scope of the deposition.
In so holding, the court found that the purported burden on the insurance company in complying with the woman’s request for a deposition was outweighed by the woman’s interest in obtaining relevant discovery. Thus, it was an abuse of discretion for the trial court to quash the deposition.
Get Help with Your East Texas Car Wreck Lawsuit
It pays to have a skilled attorney by your side if you have been hurt in a car accident. This is true regardless of whether you are seeking compensation from a negligent driver’s insurance company or from your own UM carrier. A knowledgeable east Texas car accident attorney at the Law Offices of Earl Drott, P.C., can help injured Texas residents seek fair compensation after an accident. Call us at (903) 531-9300 to get started on your case.
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