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Law firm’s financial relationship with client’s treating physician is subject to discovery on issue of bias.  [Added 3/10/14]

    Law Firm represented a client who was the plaintiff in an auto accident case.  The trial court ordered Law Firm “to ‘provide a list of all payments made to [plaintiff’s treating physician] over the last 3 years (all client or patient information shall be redacted).’  The discovery encompasses all payments made in connection with the present or past litigation.  The doctor in this case is expected to provide expert opinions at trial.”  Seeking to quash the order, Law Firm petitioned the Fourth DCA for a writ of certiorari.

    The appellate court denied the petition.  “A law firm’s financial relationship with a doctor is discoverable on the issue of bias.  See Morgan, Colling & Gilbert, P.A. v. Pope, 798 So.2d 1, 2 (Fla. 2d DCA 2001) (‘Limiting discovery of this information would affect the truth-seeking function of a jury, for the failure to present any ultimately admissible information would diminish the jury’s right to assess the potential bias of the witnesss.’).  At his deposition, the doctor denied having any records and provided ‘nebulous testimony’ in connection with the number of his patients who were represented by the law firm.  Under these circumstances, the law firm is an appropriate source of this information.  Steinger, Iscoe & Greene, P.A. v. GEICO Gen. Ins. Co., 103 So.3d 200, 206 (Fla. 4th DCA 2012).”  Lytal, Reiter, Smith, Ivey & Fronrath, L.L.P. v. Malay, __ So.3d __ (Fla. 4th DCA, No. 4D13-4016, 3/5/2014).

 

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