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St. Louis Judge Declines to Limit Corporate Representative Deposition to Personal Jurisdiction Issues

Recent rulings by the Missouri Supreme Court and United States Supreme Court have brought personal jurisdiction issues to the forefront in many St. Louis City cases.  In the asbestos case of Rex Terrell v. 4520 Corp., et al. (1422-CC09988), Judge Dierker heard Plaintiff's motion to compel the deposition of Goodyear's corporate representative. Decedent worked over 35 years at a Goodyear facility in Texas, and did not testify to asbestos exposure from any Goodyear products. Plaintiff's counsel argued that a complete corporate representative deposition should be allowed in order to determine what products, if any, Goodyear shipped from Missouri to the Goodyear facility in Texas. Goodyear's defense counsel argued this deposition was unnecessary as Plaintiff lacks personal jurisdiction over Goodyear, and if the deposition is allowed it should only proceed on personal jurisdiction issues.

The parties also disputed whether the Defendant had to supplement its answers to the discovery Plaintiff requested. Defendant objected as it believed it should be dismissed for lack of personal jurisdiction and workers' compensation exclusivity, so additional discovery was unnecessary.

Judge Dierker declined to limit the corporate representative deposition to only personal jurisdiction issues and held it can go forward on any topic. Additionally, while he was hesitant to open the "discovery morass" at this stage with a trial date only two months away and the parties essentially at "square one" in regards to discovery, he ruled that Goodyear must answer the additional discovery that related to the products and facility at issue. This decision is notable as even though the judge believed Goodyear likely had a strong argument for lack of personal jurisdiction, he allowed Plaintiff's counsel the opportunity to inquire further and attempt to find any connection that Goodyear manufactured something in Missouri that injured the Decedent in Texas.

Following the judge's ruling from the bench, it appears by the written order that the parties agreed to limit this deposition to issues related to Decedent's employment at the facility.

If you have any question about Judge Dierker's ruling or any issues related to cases in the City of St Louis, please feel free to contact me.

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