Louisiana Record

Saturday, April 4, 2020

Court denies Lowe's attempt to quash man's notice of deposition following injury on property


By Charmaine Little | Nov 27, 2019

General court 4

On Oct. 21, Lowe’s Home Centers LLC was denied its motion to quash a plaintiff’s notice of a deposition after a PTD Transport LLC worker was injured on the job.

Broderick Waters sued in the Civil District Court for the Parish of New Orleans after suffering injuries when a cart tilted and fell on him while he was loading and lifting flower and plant carts in Lowe’s storage area. Waters fell and was pinned between the cart and concrete, breaking his leg and hurting his back. Lowe’s responded to the suit with a motion to quash Waters’ deposition of Lowe’s corporate representative, stating it wasn’t needed and that Waters had already deposed the local Lowe’s Loss Prevention and Safety Manager, Nicholas Martinson.

But the court disagreed with Lowe’s, saying that although Martinson testified in June 2019, he was a fact witness, not a corporate representative to make statements on Lowe’s behalf.  

“As such, the court will not deprive plaintiffs’ opportunity to depose Lowe’s duly designated representative,” the court ruled.

The notice wants Lowe’s to select a knowledgeable representative who can speak on its behalf, especially as far as Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) regulations are concerned, and how OSHA relates to the area where the incident occurred, the court ruled.

Lowe’s argued that the litigation is founded on a supposedly dangerous condition via uneven surfaces on Lowe’s property. Martinson said in his deposition that there weren’t any witnesses, video or other factors that could prove what happened. He said he didn’t know of any policies that impacted how flower carts should be stored.

However, even though Waters isn’t an employee of Lowe’s, that alone doesn’t determine whether OSHA is relevant, the court determined.

Chief U.S. Magistrate Judge Karen Wells Roby ruled on the case.

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Civil District Court for the Parish of Orleans