Nursing Home Claims Privilege in Face of Plaintiff’s Discovery Request

When a South Florida nursing home abuse or neglect case is filed, the parties must exchange certain requested materials before the case is scheduled for trial. This is called the pre-trial discovery process, and it is an opportunity for both sides to learn a little more about the other’s case.In most South Florida personal injury or wrongful death cases filed against a nursing home, the plaintiff will request not just information that he believes will be helpful to his case but also information that could potentially be harmful to his case. The idea is to be prepared for what lies ahead at trial. A recent case illustrates the tactics that some nursing home defendants will attempt in order to prevent the plaintiff from obtaining certain material.

The Facts of the Case

The plaintiff was the father of a mentally ill man who was a resident at the defendant nursing home. While the plaintiff’s son was a resident of the home, he was attacked by another resident with a blunt object and subsequently died from the injuries he sustained in the attack.

The man’s father filed a wrongful death case against the nursing home and sought certain information through pre-trial discovery, including:

  • The liability insurance limits of the defendant nursing home facility;
  • Any information regarding prior “aggressive acts” of the resident who attacked his son;
  • Whether the nursing home had previously been named in any personal injury lawsuits making similar allegations; and
  • The results of any internal investigation the nursing home conducted after the incident.

The nursing home responded by objecting to each of the requests, claiming that the information was privileged.

Privilege and Pre-Trial Discovery

While most of the relevant requested material must be passed in the pre-trial discovery stage, certain privileged information may not be the subject of a discovery order. A privilege is usually conferred by statute and exempts certain classes of information from being passed, usually on public policy grounds. For example, the attorney-client privilege prevents one party from seeking the communications between the other party and his attorney.

The Court’s Decision

The court determined that each of the plaintiff’s requests must be heeded, except requesting the results of the nursing home’s internal investigation. The court explained that the results of the internal investigation were privileged under the “quality assurance” privilege, which acts to safeguard information that is “the subject of evaluation and review for accreditation, quality assurance and similar function.”

Is Your Loved One Being Subjected to Abuse or Neglect?

If you have a loved one in a South Florida nursing home, and you believe that they may be subjected to abuse or neglect, you may be entitled to monetary compensation. The skilled South Florida personal injury attorneys at the law firm of Friedman, Rodman & Frank have decades of collective experience handling a wide range of South Florida nursing home cases, and they know what it takes to succeed on their clients’ behalf. Call 877-448-8585 to schedule a free consultation with a dedicated South Florida nursing home attorney today. Calling is free, and we will not bill you for our time or services unless we can help you obtain the compensation you deserve.

More Blog Posts:

Determining Damages in South Florida Car Accidents, South Florida Personal Injury Lawyers Blog, published September 21, 2017.

Pre-Suit Requirements in Florida Personal Injury Cases Naming Government Defendants, South Florida Personal Injury Lawyers Blog, published September 7, 2017.

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