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Documents Prepared in Anticipation of Litigation Not Discoverable in Florida Premises Liability Case

shoppingProperty owners in Florida have a legal obligation to keep their premises in reasonably safe condition. Failure to do so can result in liability if a visitor enters the land and injures him or herself. Premises liability law is complex, and a property owner’s liability may be contingent on the type of visitor who enters the land. If you or someone close to you has been injured due to a property owner’s negligence, you may be able to seek compensation for your injuries.

In Millard Mall Service, Inc. v. Bolda, a woman filed an action for negligence against Millard Mall Services, Inc. and other relevant parties that own and operate a shopping mall after the woman sustained injuries in a slip and fall accident while shopping at the mall. To support her claims, the plaintiff asked for documents relating to similar incidents that had taken place in the mall in the preceding three-year period, including the Quarterly Safety Committee Reports. Additionally, the plaintiff wanted mall cleaning and maintenance records and any other documents relevant to cleaning or maintenance performed by a third party during the month she fell.

The defendants objected to the production of the documents, stating that these documents contained information that was not discoverable, including photographs, discussions, prior accident reports, and mental impressions regarding incidents that took place at the mall.

After reviewing the documents in question, the trial judge ordered the defendants to turn over the documents, including the Quarterly Safety Committee Reports. The trial judge did, however, allow the defendants to withhold the incident report related to the plaintiff’s fall.

The defendants sought certiorari review before Florida’s Fourth District Court of Appeal. The appellate court granted the writ and quashed the lower court’s production order. The court noted that these documents were, in fact, prepared in anticipation of litigation. Florida Rule of Civil Procedure 1.280(b)(4) stated that a party can acquire work products, or materials “prepared in anticipation of litigation,” only upon demonstrating that the party seeking discovery has need of the materials in the preparation of the case and is unable to get the equivalent of the materials through other means without undue hardship. According to the court, this protection extends to work created in anticipation of litigation even by non-attorneys. The court went on to note that the plaintiff had not shown a particularized need for the information in question.

If you were hurt or harmed due to a Florida property owner’s carelessness, you can seek monetary compensation for your injuries. Robert Dixon is a Miami premises liability attorney who is well versed in this area of law and can provide zealous representation in your case. We can help you understand your legal rights and options. Our team takes pride in treating every client with the utmost respect and compassion. We proudly serve clients throughout South Florida. For a free, no-obligation consultation, contact us online or call us today at 1-877-499-HURT (4878).

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