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Stewart v. Colonial Western Agency, Inc.

California Court of Appeal
105 Cal. Rptr. 2d 115 (2001)


Mary Stewart (plaintiff) was terminated from her employment by Colonial Western Agency, Inc. (Colonial Western) (defendant). Stewart sued Colonial Western, primarily for wrongful termination. Colonial Western asserted that Stewart was terminated because she was insubordinate and refused to work with her superiors. When Stewart’s attorney deposed Colonial Western’s managing agent, Colonial Western’s attorney objected to several deposition questions about Stewart’s supervisor’s dealings with subordinates, including a prior secretary and a female branch manager. Some of the questions related to events that occurred after Stewart’s termination. Colonial Western’s attorney asserted that these questions were irrelevant and were not reasonably calculated to lead to admissible evidence. Colonial Western’s attorney then instructed the witness not to answer those questions. Stewart ended the deposition and filed a motion to compel the witness to answer the questions. The trial court granted the motion to compel and imposed a monetary sanction of $2,400 on Colonial Western’s attorney. Colonial Western appealed to the California Court of Appeal.

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