COURT DENIES CERTIORARI FROM AN ORDER COMPELLING PRODUCTION OF FINANCIAL INFORMATION REGARDING RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN AN INSURER AND ITS DOCTOR EXPERT—CONCURRING OPINION EXPRESSES CONCERNS WITH WORLEY.
Tahan v. Munoz,45 Fla. L Weekly D1466 (Fla. 3rd DCA June 17, 2020):
Relying on Worley and its progeny, the majority denied the petition for writ of certiorari from an order compelling the production of financial information regarding the relationship between the insurance company and its physician-expert.
In a concurring opinion, Judge Miller expressed concerns that Worley has given rise to disparate treatment between plaintiffs and defendants in personal injury litigation.
This case involved interrogatories seeking financial information regarding the relationship between the non-party insurance company and the physician expert. The judge expressed concern that appellate opinions have “effectively endorsed” the use of interrogatories to obtain such information, while declining to grant certiorari under these circumstances.
The judge noted how insurers are not able to protect themselves from financial discovery while plaintiffs’ counsel are able to. The practical effect of Worley is to permit full Boecher discovery directed to personal injury defendants and their insurers, while shielding injured plaintiffs from having to disclose information about similar relationships that exist between their lawyers and treating doctors. However, as the Florida Supreme Court found in Worley, the rationale for that is because the latter implicates attorney client privilege.