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Florida District Court of Appeals Denies Granting Certiorari Review in Auto Accident Case

If you have been injured in a car accident, you need a skilled legal advocate on your side. At the Law Offices of Robert Dixon, our reputable Miami auto accident attorneys thoroughly understand the nuances of Florida personal injury law, including the process of obtaining evidence from the other parties in the case.

Dade Truss Co. v. Beaty

In a recent case, a Florida appeals court held that a defendant could not improperly avoid discovery based on untrue claims of privilege. In July of 2016, the plaintiffs got into a motor vehicle accident with the defendant, who was driving a tractor-trailer owned by his employer. In September 2016, the plaintiffs filed a personal injury lawsuit against the defendant, shortly after which began the process of discovery. During the process, the defendants noted a private investigator as a fact witness. The private investigator was subpoenaed for a deposition and he was requested to bring all documents relevant to his investigation of the plaintiff. When the deposition ended, the plaintiff’s lawyer stated that the private investigator would give his opinions on a future date.

The plaintiffs then made a request for production, which is a legal request for documents related to the case made to the opposing party. Specifically, the plaintiffs sought documents that showed the private investigator’s insights and observations. The defendants objected citing work product privilege and removing the private investigator from the witness list. The trial court overruled the defendant’s objection. In addition, defendants objected to other requests for production citing work product privilege for some and general objections to the others. However, the defendants did not file a privilege log identifying the documents they claimed to be privileged. As such, the trial court overruled the objections and ordered document production within ten days. The defendants filed a certiorari petition.

The Court’s Decision

According to the court, certiorari is an extraordinary remedy that is only available in limited circumstances. Certiorari review is appropriate when a final order: i) cannot be remedied on a post judgment appeal; ii) results in material injury for the rest of the case; and ii) deviates from the essential requirements of the law. In the case at hand, the court focused on whether the orders in question deviated from the essential requirements of law.

As to the order compelling defendants to turn over the private investigator’s documents, the court explained that the deposition transcript had not been filed in the appellate record. Thus, the court’s knowledge regarding the content of the deposition was scant which prevented the court from making a determination about whether the documents claimed as privileged relate to the matters covered in the testimony. Additionally, since the defendants failed to assert work product privilege when denying the production of most of the documents requested, that privilege was not preserved in regards to those documents.

When it came to the remaining documents, while the defendants objected citing work-product privilege, the requirement to file a privilege log did not kick in until the court overruled the objection. Thus, the court stated that the issue was not yet “mature” for review. In conclusion, the court upheld the order compelling discovery in the case explaining that it did not deviate from the requirements of law and, for that reason, the petition for write of certiorari was denied.

Contact a Reputable Miami Auto Accident Attorney

If you have been injured in an auto accident, you may be entitled to compensation for your harm. At the Law Offices of Robert Dixon, our reputable Miami car accident attorneys understand how to get you the outcome you rightfully deserve after a wreck. We proudly represent clients throughout South Florida. Call us at 1-877-499-HURT (4878) or contact us online.

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