Lawyers for Perry Homes CEO, Kathy Perry Britton, have filed a motion for a protective order to quash a request for her deposition. The motion involves lawsuits against her company and its subsidiaries for two 2019 floods that affected hundreds of homeowners in Kingwood’s Elm Grove Village and North Kingwood Forest. Ms. Britton’s basic argument: it’s beneath her.
Catch-22: Claims No Unique or Personal Knowledge
Ms. Britton’s attorneys claim she is an “apex-level” official and cannot be deposed without showing that she has “unique or personal knowledge” of discoverable information. This puts hundreds of plaintiffs in a Catch-22 situation – a paradoxical situation from which an individual cannot escape because of contradictory rules or limitations.
Talking Is Too Intrusive
Ironically, her lawyers assert that plaintiffs must learn what she knows through “less intrusive methods” than talking to her. Her lawyers maintain that CEOs live by different rules than the rest of us, and cite seven pages of legal precedents to support their opinion.
Duh!!!!!!!! Making the Case for Negligence?
To reinforce her argument, Ms. Britton personally claims:
- “I have no first-hand, personal knowledge of any relevant facts…”
- “I have no first-hand, personal knowledge of the flooding events…”
- “I have no first-hand, personal knowledge of the construction or engineering practices followed by Perry Homes, Figure Four Partners, Ltd., PSWA, Inc., or any of the subcontractors hired to work on the Woodridge Village Development.”
- “I have no first-hand, personal knowledge of the selection, hiring, retention, training, or supervision of any of the subcontractors on the Woodridge Village Development.”
- “I have no first-hand, personal knowledge of any engineering or design requirements for the Woodridge Village Development.”
- “I have no first-hand, personal knowledge of the engineering design or plans implemented or created for the Woodridge Village Development, including whether and how such plans were approved or followed.”
- “I have no first-hand, personal knowledge as to whether the work performed at the Woodridge Village Development was properly supervised.”
- “I have no first-hand, personal knowledge as to what work was performed (or not performed) at the Woodridge Village Development…”
Perhaps this is why so many people flooded! In my opinion, it seems Ms. Britton just admitted negligence.
What’s Proper Response for CEO?
One might think that after approximately 200 homes flooded in Elm Grove and North Kingwood Forest on May 7, 2019, that any competent CEO would have been all over this situation to make sure it didn’t happen again. After all, hundreds of lives were disrupted and the damages could involve tens of millions of dollars. It doesn’t seem like a good time to stick your head in the sand.
But no! Ms. Britton now lays bare the problem. The CEO kept her distance. It wasn’t her problem. And then it happened again.
Two to three times as many homes flooded during Imelda – only five months later. For the same reasons. And, if we take her at her word, she still kept her distance.
The floods were important enough for the Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo; Dave Martin, the Mayor Pro Tem of the City of Houston; and US Congressman Dan Crenshaw to visit Elm Grove. But not Kathy Perry Britton.
Talk About Intrusiveness!
Sitting for a deposition in a comfortable conference room seems far “less intrusive” than having several feet of muddy floodwater invade your home, destroy your belongings, and ruin your vehicles. (Ms. Britton, if you want to know what “intrusive” is, see below.)
It’s curious that a US Congressman took the time to get personal, first-hand knowledge of the floods in Elm Grove and North Kingwood Forest. But Kathy Perry Britton could not. Perhaps picking wallpaper for her new model homes was more important.
I hope the judge in this case quashes the protective order. Read the full text of Ms. Britton’s Motion for a Protective Order here.
For more about the history of the Woodridge Village fiasco see:
- What Went Wrong Part One
- What Went Wrong Part Two
- What Went Wrong Part Three
- What Went Wrong Part Four
- What Went Wrong Part Five
Posted by Bob Rehak on 4/24/2021
1334 Days after Hurricane Harvey and 583 since Imelda
The thoughts expressed in this post represent opinions on matters of public concern and safety. They are protected by the First Amendment of the US Constitution and the Anti-SLAPP Statute of the Great State of Texas.