Florida Supreme Court Stands By Restraints on Medical Malpractice Defendants
Tampa, FL (Law Firm Newswire) March 25, 2013 - The Florida Supreme Court recently handed a defeat to medical malpractice defense attorneys.
In a move seen as protecting patient confidentiality, the Court ruled that medical malpractice defendants are prohibited from meeting privately with plaintiffs' other doctors even if they do not attempt to acquire privileged medical information.
Tampa personal injury lawyer Robert Joyce, who is not involved in the case, commented, “This is an important reinforcement to an existing statute and Supreme Court decision already on the books. Medical malpractice defense attorneys cannot be permitted to endanger doctor-patient confidentiality, nor to improperly influence the outcomes of their cases.”
The case involved Ramsey Hasan, who sued his former dentist, Dr. Lanny Garvar. Hasan claimed Garvar neglected to properly diagnose his dental condition, which resulted in an infection that caused Hasan pain and suffering.
Garvar's malpractice insurance provider also provides insurance for Dr. Jennifer Schaumberg, an oral surgeon who treated Hasan after Garvar. Schaumberg's lawyer, who was chosen and hired by the insurer, sought to meet privately with Schaumberg to discuss the Garvar case with her. The attorney claimed not to seek access to Garvar's confidential medical information.
In a 5-2 decision, the Court negated two lower court rulings that would have permitted Schaumberg and her attorney to discuss the case.
Writing for the majority, Justice R. Fred Lewis said that permitting such discussions endangered patient confidentiality and characterized Garvar's attorney as “attempt[ing] to skirt the protections” of a 1988 law protecting doctor-patient privilege. He also cited a relevant Supreme Court decision from 1996 in which the justices said that such conferences would clearly violate the “purpose and spirit” of the 1988 law.
The lower courts said that the ruling did not apply to Garvar's case because it involved defense attorneys meeting with doctors they did not represent, whereas Schaumberg's attorney merely wished to discuss the matter with his own client. Garvar claimed Schaumberg's attorney would only discuss with Schaumberg the legal and professional implications of her involvement in the case and her potential need to testify.
The two dissenting justices said that the decision prevented doctors from obtaining legal advice to which they are entitled.
Joyce and Reyes Law Firm, P.A.
307 S Hyde Park Ave,
Tampa, FL 33606
View Larger Map
- Tampa woman sues Tampa Police Department over brain injury
The Tampa Police Department was sued by a Tampa woman who alleges that a police officer slammed her head into the pavement in a 2014 incident, causing a serious brain injury. According to the complaint filed in federal court, Rachel Stockwell, then a student at the University of Tampa, had to leave school due to […]
- Former pill mill owner arrested
A former physician of a now-defunct Florida pain clinic and the former owner of the clinic are facing charges related to the trafficking of Oxycodone. Christian Spaw was arrested on charges of conspiracy, trafficking, racketeering and manslaughter in connection to drug purchases and sales allegedly made while operating All Family Medical, a Broward County pain […]
- Bicycle accident deaths on the rise
In Florida and nationwide, the number of deaths in bicycle accidents is rising. Advocates say bicycle safety needs to be improved. According to a new report by the Governors Highway Safety Association, the number of bicycle fatalities rose by 16 percent between 2010 and 2012. There were 621 bicycle deaths in 2010, 680 in 2011 […]
See other news sources publishing this article. BETA | Tags: auto accident, brain injury, medical malpractice, Nursing home abuse, Tampa personal injury attorney, Tampa personal injury lawyer, wrongful death