[B]Case Name: [/B]Joshua Redmond v. Poseidon Personnel Services, S.A. and Societe D’Exploitation Du Lorelay, S.A.
[B]Date Decided: [/B]October 23, 2009
[B]Court: [/B]U.S.D.C. Eastern District of Louisiana
[B]Judge: [/B]Judge Fallon
[B]Citation: [/B]2009 WL 3486385 (E.D.La.) [B]Background:
[/B]Plaintiff, Joshua Redmond, (“Redmond”) was injured while employed aboard *the M/V LORELAY in the North Sea. Redmond alleged that the vessel was unable to maintain its position in rough seas and as a result, he subsequently suffered severe and permanent injury to his back and other parts of his body.
Redmond filed an action under the Jones Act and general maritime law for physical pain and mental anguish, along with a claim seeking maintenance and cure. Redmond filed this action in the Eastern District of Louisiana against Poseiden, a Swiss entity that does not maintain an office or presence in Louisiana.
Redmond sought to take a deposition of Poseiden’s corporate representatives in New Orleans, Louisiana. Poseiden objected to on the basis that all its corporate representatives and relevant documents are located in Europe and filed a Motion to Quash and a Motion for Protective Order requesting that Poseidon’s corporate representatives be deposed in the Netherlands rather than New Orleans.
The Magistrate Judge issued an Order directing the deposition to take place via videoconferencing with counsel to participate from their offices.
Poseidon filed this motion objecting to the Magistrate Judge’s Order in that it means that the deposition must be taken with counsel participating in their offices* and that requiring counsel to remain in their office during the deposition it denies their right.
[/B]Did this Court find that Poseidon has a right to counsel present during the videoconference deposition?
[/B]Poseidon supported their argument by noting that Redmond’s deposition was taken in the presence *of his attorneys. Accordingly, Poseidon argued that it also should be given the same opportunity to have its counsel present when its representatives are deposed.
Poseidon contended that directing the videoconference created a dangerous precedent by prohibiting their counsel from faithfully and diligently performing its duty as counsel during cross-examination by an opposing counsel and is contrary to Fifth Circuit precedent.
Moreover, Poseidon further argued that the deposition should be taken in the Netherlands because Redmond sought out and accepted employment with an international corporation and chose to sue Poseidon on his own volition.
Redmond countered noting that district courts are given broad discretion in determining the location of depositions on a case-by-case basis. Redmond claimed that the Magistrate Judge weighed all the relevant factors and properly concluded Poseidon could choose to bring its corporate representative to New Orleans or to have the deposition in the Netherlands requiring counsel to remain at their offices in the US.
Redmond further argued that Poseidon’s attempt to force Redmond to depose Poseidon’s employees in the Netherlands violated the Federal Employers’ Liability Act, which prohibits a Jones Act employer from engaging in any device that prevents a Jones Act seaman from obtaining information from any employee as to the facts incident to the seaman’s injuries.
This Court affirmed the choices given by the Magistrate because it failed to find a “clearly erroneous and contrary to law” decision made by the Magistrate. Moreover this Court found that ordering the deposition through a videoconference was not clearly erroneous.
Finally, this Court found that Poseidon has a right to have counsel present during the deposition and therefore found that the Magistrate’s decision to not allow counsel present during the deposition was clearly erroneous.
The defendant, Poseidon, argued that the plaintiff should be expected to travel to the Netherlands because (1) he chose to work for an international company and (2) on his own accord, sued the Netherlands based company. [/B]
[B]However, Redmond, the plaintiff, did not choose to be injured* as a result of Poseidon’s alleged negligence and unseaworthiness of the vessel. Accordingly, the Magistrate gave Poseidon two choices, 1. Conduct the deposition via videoconference or 2. Require Poseidon’s representative(s) to travel to New Orleans. [/B]
[B]Steve Gordon *[/B]