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Florida Third DCA quashes trial court order requiring party’s retained expert to disclose records of money received during the preceding three years from plaintiff’s law firm

On June 23, 2021, in Hidalgo v. Citizens Property Insurance Corporation, No. 3D20-1811, a case involving an alleged insurance policy breach, the Florida Third DCA ruled that the plaintiff’s engineering expert witness was not required to provide the defense in discovery with a list of cases with, and money received over the past three years from, the law firm representing the plaintiffs. The plaintiff argued that such discovery was prohibited under Worley v. Cent. Fla. Young Men’s Christian Ass’n, 228 So. 3d 18 (Fla. 2017), but the Third DCA distinguished Worley, essentially restricting it to the facts in that case in which the issue was whether disclosure could be compelled as to whether the plaintiff or her attorney referred the plaintiff to a treating physician. However, the Third DCA did find that the trial court order compelling discovery was overbroad in that it exceeded the categories of potential impeachment discovery allowed under Fla. R. Civ. P. 1.280(b)(5)(A)(iii)(4). The Court noted that broader discovery requiring the production of financial and business records is permitted under the statute only if there is a showing of “the most unusual or compellingcircumstances.” Finding no such circumstances in the record on review, the Third DCA quash the trial court order to the extent it compelled production of documents not enumerated in Rule 1.280(b)(5)(A).

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