The Court Quashed an Order Compelling Production of Field Adjuster Materials
Fort Lauderdale, FL – April 3, 2020 -- The Florida Third District Court of Appeal recently granted a writ filed by Bressler, Amery & Ross arising out of an order from Judge David Miller of the Florida 11th Circuit Court compelling production of a field adjusters entire file.
Judge Miller had stated during a hearing on the firm’s motion for a protective order:
“Generally speaking, I allow everything up until the denial. So whatever information you had before you denied it, in my opinion would not be privileged. After the denial, then yes. Then, you can anticipate litigation.”
On March 4, the Third DCA disagreed with Judge Miller and granted the writ quashing the order compelling the production of the field adjuster materials. The Third DCA cited to State Farm Fla. Ins. Co. v. Desai, 106 So. 3d 5, 6 (Fla. 3d DCA 2013) in a written opinion: “State Farm contends Florida law prohibits insureds from obtaining discovery into an insurer’s claims files and claims handling materials until contract/coverage litigation has been concluded. As State Farm’s argument is well taken, we grant the petition for writ of certiorari and quash the discovery order under review.”
A group of lawyers from Bressler’s Florida Insurance Defense team represented Anchor Property and Casualty Insurance Co. in the case. Anchor Property vs. Yanes, No. 3D20-331
According to the team lead, Bressler principal Hope Zelinger, trial court judges routinely make their own distinctions when deciding what to compel and what to protect. “The case law is clear that it is reasonable to anticipate litigation at the moment that an insurance claim is reported,” she said. “Under no circumstances should the court compel documentation from the claim file or the field adjuster notes/reports.”