BEAUMONT – An appellate court has conditionally granted a writ of mandamus for a trial court judge to vacate his order regarding a company to produce a witness for deposition in a wrongful death case.
Ninth District Court of Appeals Justice Steve McKeithen issued a 13-page opinion on Nov. 1 in the lawsuit filed by Jacqulyn McDonald against INVISTA in the Jefferson County 136th District Court. McKeithen conditionally granted INVISTA's writ of mandamus petition.
"We conclude that the trial judge's order constitutes an abuse of discretion because McDonald did not provide evidence supporting her petition, and INVISTA has no adequate remedy at law," McKeithen wrote in the ruling.
INVISTA filed the writ of mandamus seeking to vacate the lower's court order that asked the company to produce a witness for a court deposition in the case. A writ of mandamus is an order from a court to a lower government official to correct an abuse of discretion, according to Cornell Law School.
McDonald alleged her father, David, "died of cancer due to overexposure to a toxic substance while working during a turnaround at INVISTA’s facility in Orange," the ruling states.
The ruling states McDonald filed a petition for discovery in which she asked for “all emails, electronic information, documents, and other tangible evidence in respondent's possession or to which it has access that references or relates to these issues," as well as depositions from company representatives.
McDonald claimed that the discovery "would reveal information and documents 'related to potential wrongful death and survival claims, as well as potential defendants,'” the ruling states.
In response, INVISTA stated that the lower court lacked jurisdiction in the case. It also claimed that McDonald "had failed to exhaust her administrative remedies," and that her petition "failed to demonstrate that the benefit of the requested discovery outweighed its burden and expense and that the requested discovery would prevent a failure or delay of justice," the ruling states.
The company also disputed McDonald's Rule 202 request for discovery, stating that her petition asked for something beyond the scope of Rule 202.
The district court allowed McDonald's discovery and ordered INVISTA to present a witness for oral deposition "who could testify regarding McDonald’s alleged exposure to butadiene or other toxic substances," the ruling states.
9th District Court of Appeals case number 09-18-00351-CV