MIAMI – The 3rd District Court of Appeal has denied a petition filed by Miami Mayor Tomas Regalado and City Manager Daniel Alfonso for review of a lower court's denial of their motions for a protective order in a personal-injury lawsuit.
Erika Vila, Virmari Pettis, Maria Sosa, Barbara Weiss and Mary Jo Weiss originally filed a personal-injury lawsuit against Lemoni Cafe Inc., 3G Investment Group, Belony Alterma and La Pizzeria Di Lemoni after an incident that occurred in October 2014. The plaintiffs allege that several diners at Lemoni Cafe were injured when a vehicle hopped the curb and crashed into customers on the sidewalk.
Before the incident, Lemoni Cafe had been cited by the city of Miami for operating an illegal sidewalk cafe. The citation was never pursued.
During the original trial, the defense argued that the incident was the city of Miami’s fault because it neglected to maintain the roads and intersection near the restaurant. The plaintiffs had several depositions from Miami city employees to determine why it allowed Lemoni Cafe to continue its sidewalk cafe operation. Regalado and Alfonso, who were among those the plaintiffs sought to be deposed, filed motions for protective orders in response.
Regalado and Alfonso argued in their motion that the plaintiffs had no right to interview the city employees because there was no evidence that they had information that would be essential to the case. The trial court denied their motion and ordered the employees continue with the deposition, court records state. The city immediately filed its appeal.
The appeals court determined the plaintiffs deposed several city officials who reportedly should have known why the sidewalk cafe continued to operate prior to seeking interviews with Regalado and Alfonso. None of the seven officials could answer the questions, according to court records. Because of this, the court ruled that the interviews of Regalado and Alfonso would be necessary, and their petition was denied.