Kansas R. Gooden and Geneva R. Fountain challenged a trial court’s order compelling a defendant to provide discovery regarding the financial relationship between the defendant’s attorney, his insurance company, and his compulsory medical examiner by seeking certiorari review in the Fifth District Court of Appeal. The petition for writ of certiorari argued that Worley v. Central Florida Young Men’s Christian Ass’n, 228 So. 3d 18 (Fla. 2017), limited Boecher discover to only parties. The petition pointed out that in personal injury suits, plaintiffs and defendants are being treated unequally and urged the Court to consider that “what is good for the goose is good for the gander.”
Although the appellate court denied relief, the Court noted the argument “that the law in this area is not being applied in an even-handed manner to all litigants,” was compelling. The Court certified the following question as one of great public importance to the Florida Supreme Court:
WHETHER THE ANALYSIS AND DECISION IN WORLEY v. CENTRAL FLORIDA YOUNG MEN’S CHRISTIAN ASS’N, 228 SO. 3D 18 (FLA. 2017), SHOULD ALSO APPLY TO PRECLUDE A DEFENSE LAW FIRM THAT IS NOT A PARTY TO THE LITIGATION FROM HAVING TO DISCLOSE ITS FINANCIAL RELATIONSHIP WITH EXPERTS THAT IT RETAINS FOR PURPOSES OF LITIGATION INCLUDING THOSE THAT PERFORM COMPREHENSIVE MEDICAL EXAMINATIONS UNDER FLORIDA RULE OF CIVIL PROCEDURE 1.360?
The Worley decision continues to affect personal injury litigation across the state, as it has since its release in 2017. Challenges to orders compelling discovery of information regarding the financial relationships between a defendant’s attorney, his attorney’s law firm, his insurance company, and his compulsory medical examiners are being challenged throughout the state. This is a hot topic to keep an eye on. Our attorneys are handling two appeals in the Florida Supreme Court on this issue and numerous others across the District Courts.
Kansas Gooden is a Board Certified Appellate Specialist, AV rated, and serves as the firm’s appellate practice group leader. She has extensive experience handling all types of civil appellate proceedings, including extraordinary writs and plenary appeals, in state and federal courts. She also provides trial and litigation support to attorneys throughout the state. Kansas is highly involved in the state and local bar associations and has served in many leadership roles. She currently is the Chair of the FDLA’s Amicus Committee and serves on the Board of Directors for the organization. Kansas is a frequent lecturer and travels the state presenting seminars and presentations on various topics to both attorneys and adjusters.
Geneva Fountain is an attorney in our appellate group. Prior to joining the firm, Ms. Fountain clerked for the Honorable Stephanie W. Ray at the Florida First District Court of Appeal. While in law school, Geneva served as a writing and research editor and as the editor-in-chief for the Florida State University Business Review. In addition, she worked as a teaching assistant in Legal Writing and Research I & II.
If you have any questions regarding expert discovery or the impact of the Worley decision, or if you would like to refer a matter, please contact our appellate attorneys.