Third and Second District Courts of Appeal Reaffirm Commitment to Protecting Insurer Claims Files
In late January of 2016, the Third District Court of Appeals reaffirmed its commitment to protecting against disclosure of insurance carrier’s claims files when there was not an allegation of bad faith in a first party insurance dispute. In State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Company v. Premier Diagnostic Centers, LLC, a/a/o Sherry Dujon, the Court cited to a plethora of long standing case law precluding disclosure of insurer’s claims file because the documents contained therein surround attorney-client and work-product privileged information. The Second District Court of Appeal in Doctor’s Company v. James Randall Thomas followed the path laid out by its sister court when it issued its decision in late February that any Order compelling disclosure of claims material prior to any coverage determination departs from “the essential requirements of law.”
With the reaffirmation of this protected nature of the claims file, both District Courts of Appeal have drawn a bright line standard on disclosure of claims file materials for trial court judges to follow. These decisions send a clear signal to trial courts to not disclose protected material until a coverage determination has been made.