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Goins v. Royal Caribbean Cruises, Ltd.

United States District Court, S.D. Florida

February 21, 2017

RON GOINS, Plaintiff,
v.
ROYAL CARIBBEAN CRUISES, LTD., Defendant.

          ORDER FOLLOWING FEBRUARY 15, 2017, DISCOVERY HEARING

          ANDREA M. SIMONTON UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE

         This matter was before the Court for a discovery hearing on February 15, 2017, pursuant to the Plaintiff's Third Amended Notice of Hearing, ECF No. [93]. The Honorable Kathleen M. Williams, District Judge, has referred all discovery matters to the undersigned Magistrate Judge, ECF No. [16].

         I. BACKGROUND

         The Plaintiff filed his Third Amended Complaint on July 12, 2016. The Third Amended Complaint has a single claim for negligence. The Plaintiff alleges that on March 25, 2016, while onboard the Defendant's vessel, the Liberty of the Seas, he was attending the “Quest Game” in the ship's ice skating arena when he was called down to the stage to participate. The Plaintiff claims that he was seated in temporary aluminum seating which the ship had installed and the seats were unreasonably close together and the lighting was unreasonably improper. He further alleges that the ship's crew encouraged the participants to rush dangerously, with the result that the Plaintiff caught his foot on one of the stations as he was attempting to exit his row. The Plaintiff claims that he fell forward down the stairs and suffered a shoulder injury which required surgery.

         The Plaintiff alleges that the Defendant was negligent by failing to eliminate the hazard(s), failing to properly maintain and arrange the seating, failing to inspect the seating, failing to warn the Plaintiff of the hazard(s) and failing to properly train and supervise its crew such that an incident could have been avoided.

         The Defendant alleges inter alia that the Plaintiff failed to reasonably exercise care and diligence to avoid the incident and failed to avoid loss and minimize damage. The Defendant further alleges that the damages allegedly suffered by the Plaintiff were the result of other trauma suffered by the Plaintiff, the vessel was reasonably safe, and the Defendant did not have prior notice regarding the conditions alleged by the Plaintiff.

         The case is set for trial during the two-week calendar beginning May 30, 2017. The extended deadline for completing discovery is March 1, 2017.

         II. DISCOVERY ISSUES

         A. Date of Deposing Defendant's Expert

         In the Third Amended Notice of Hearing, the Plaintiff stated that the date provided by the Defendant for deposing the Defendant's expert, Dr. Fernandez, was 5:00 p.m. on March 1, 2017 (the date of the discovery cut-off). The Plaintiff sought an earlier deposition date.

         At the hearing the Plaintiff requested that the deposition take place at any time prior to the evening of the last day of discovery. The Plaintiff asserted that having the deposition on the last day of discovery would make it impossible for the Plaintiff to assess the impact of the deposition or take any further actions related to discovery.

         The Defendant asserted that the Plaintiff first requested dates on January 26, 2017, and Dr. Fernandez (a practicing orthopedic surgeon) is only available on March 1, 2017, or other dates that are beyond the discovery deadline. The Defendant further asserted that the Plaintiff has been given a list of all documents upon which Dr. Fernandez relied, and all the medical records are those that were provided by the Plaintiff.

         Because Dr. Fernandez is an expert witness and not a fact witness, there is little to no chance that Dr. Fernandez will provide information at his deposition that the Plaintiff was not previously aware of. Additionally, even if the deposition was one day or even hours earlier, as suggested by the Plaintiff, there would not be adequate time for the Plaintiff to seek any additional discovery given the discovery deadline. The Plaintiff has not described what actions the Plaintiff would take that are foreclosed by having the deposition occur on March 1, 2017. Accordingly, the Plaintiff's request to move Dr. Fernandez's deposition to an earlier date or time is denied.

         B. In ...


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