The Florida Supreme Court recently issued its much anticipated opinion in the case of Worley v. Central Florida YMCA.
The case pertained to one of the most essential elements of a lawyer’s representation of his client, the attorney-client privilege. The case involved an insurance defense attorney’s efforts to force Ms. Worley to disclose whether or not her attorney referred her to certain physicians. Secondly, the insurance defense firm filed extensive discovery – which would cause Ms. Worley’s attorneys to invest almost $100,000 simply to research to provide responses for many years of information. The discovery was directed at determining the nature and extent, if any, of the relationship between Ms. Worley’s attorney and her physicians. If the Court were to have sided with the defense, the sheer cost of going through years of files and responding to the discovery would make it financially impossible for attorneys to accept the majority of personal injury cases. Most importantly, it would have allowed insurance companies and their attorneys to breach the sanctity of the attorney-client privilege.
Fortunately, the Court’s majority opinion sided with Ms. Worley. The Court held that an attorney’s referral to a doctor is protected by the attorney-client privilege and is not discoverable. Secondly, the Court held that a referral relationship between an attorney and the treating physicians is also not discoverable. This opinion is a huge victory for the injured and the attorneys who fight each and every day on their behalf.