CLEARWATER — Nick Bollea won't have to return to Florida this month for a deposition in the negligence lawsuit filed against him and his parents after an August 2007 car crash severely injured his friend and passenger, a judge said Wednesday.
Pinellas-Pasco Circuit Judge W. Douglas Baird agreed that attorneys for the injured passenger, John Graziano, had not proved "extraordinary" circumstances that would compel Bollea, who is now a resident of California, to travel here for the deposition.
"If it's so important you get him before Dec. 11, you can always go out to California," Baird said.
Nick Bollea, also known as Nick Hogan, is the son of pro wrestler Hulk Hogan, whose real name is Terry Bollea.
Nick Bollea is filming a movie, said his attorney, Stuart Freeman, and is unavailable for a deposition that was tentatively scheduled for Tuesday.
"He has an opportunity to get his career off the ground," Freeman said.
Freeman said his client would be willing to return to Florida if Graziano's attorneys would agree to depose him on Dec. 11.
The attorney for Graziano's guardian, Kimberly Kohn, said she wasn't notified until Oct. 12 that Bollea would be unavailable, even though he had signed a contract to appear in the film Kill Katie Malone on Sept. 21. Kohn said the delay could postpone the civil trial.
"We have a March trial date, and we'd like to keep it," she said.
Kohn said she had been trying to schedule the deposition for 16 months. She said she and her associates would discuss whether to go to California before Dec. 11 to take it.
A plot summary on the Internet Movie Database said the horror movie is about three college students who "pool their cash to buy a 'ghost' in an online auction." When the students inspect their purchase, they "unleash the vengeful spirit of an Irish servant girl who has been wreaking havoc on her owners throughout the generations."
Graziano suffered brain injuries when Bollea crashed his Toyota Supra into a palm tree during a street race in downtown Clearwater. Graziano was hospitalized until early September, when he was released to his mother's care.
In March 2008, attorneys for Graziano filed the civil suit in hopes of obtaining money for Graziano's long-term care.