Before a Florida medical malpractice lawsuit proceeds to trial, the parties go through the pre-trial discovery process, in which each side requests information of the other side that they believe will be relevant in the case. While most relevant material is discoverable, historically some categories of evidence have not been discoverable because they fit within a privilege.
In 2004, Florida citizens amended their constitution, adding a “right to have access to any records made or received in the course of business by a health care facility or provider relating to any adverse medical incident.” This has come to be known as Amendment 7. Recently, the Florida Supreme Court issued a written opinion clarifying how far Amendment 7 reaches.
The plaintiff filed a medical malpractice lawsuit against the defendant doctors after her bile duct was severed during a routine medical procedure. Pursuant to Amendment 7, the plaintiff requested a number of her medical records relating to the medical procedure. The defendants claimed that the medical records were exempt from the rules of discovery, citing several privileges.