In camera review required for discovery records protected by constitutional right of privacy – James v. Veneziano

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In this car accident case, the plaintiff sought defendant’s medical records for the past 10 years based on the belief that the defendant’s medical problems caused the car accident.  The trial court ordered the defendant to produce the records.  The Defendant objected to producing the records on the basis that he had a right of privacy in the records.  On certiorari review, the appellate court reversed, holding, “We find the order departed from the essential requirements of law because when a party challenges a discovery order concerning material to which the party asserts his or her constitutional right to privacy, the trial court must conduct an in camera examination to determine the relevance of the materials to the issues raised or implicated by the lawsuit.”  Accordingly, the appellate court required the trial court on remand to conduct an in camera inspection and an additional hearing to determine the relevance of the records.

 James v. Veneziano, 37 Fla. L. Weekly D2338a (Fla. 4th DCA Oct. 3, 2012)