Defendant’s Medical Records Generally Not Discoverable

Personal Injury

In the case of Maureen Stoyka v. Mary Grecz, Michael Grecz, The Tides at Bridgeside Square Condominium, and Dag M. Hansson, Case Number 4D19-1607 (Fla. 4th DCA October 2, 2019), Florida’s Fourth DCA reiterated that a defendant’s medical records in a personal injury case are generally not discoverable unless the defendant has placed their own medical condition at issue.

Underlying Facts

In this case, the plaintiff slipped and fell in a condominium elevator. The plaintiff claimed that the defendant caused her to fall when she spilled a drink in the elevator and failed to clean up the spill or notify the condominium staff. At the time that she would have spilled her drink, she had “returned from a restaurant.”

Florida Law Does Not Allow Plaintiffs To Get The Defendant’s Medical Records

The Fourth DCA in this case held that the defendant’s medical information is generally irrelevant to the question of whether the defendant was negligent. They said that discovery of private and confidential medical information is protected from disclosure and cited the following cases:

  • Brooks v. Brooks, 239 So. 3d 758, 761 (Fla. 1st DCA 2018) (“The records of husband’s treating physician, the medical facility, and the pharmacy fall within the ambit of the statutory privilege, and that privilege is only waived under the extreme circumstances described in the case law.”)
  • Brown v. Montanez, 90 So. 3d 982, 987 (Fla. 4th DCA 2012) (quashing order requiring production of defendant motorist’s post-accident substance abuse treatment records)

Unless the defendant has something like defend negligence on the basis of a sudden emergency medical condition or otherwise bring their own medical condition into issue in the case through opening the door, you generally cannot discover anything medical about the defendant. This case is a concise reminder of that rule.

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October 03, 2019