The Florida Supreme Court curtailed Thursday what it sees as an attempt to get around a law barring malpractice defendants from obtaining confidential medical information about plaintiffs.
The 5-2 ruling prohibits ex parte meetings about cases between lawyers and other doctors for plaintiffs even if they intend to discuss nonprivileged matters.
The decision came in the case of Dr. Lanny Garvar, a Tamarac dentist, who was sued by former patient Ramsey Hasan.
Garvar's insurance company also insures Dr. Jennifer Schaumberg, an oral surgeon who later treated Hasan. The majority quashed two lower court decisions permitting a lawyer for Schaumberg who was selected and hired by the insurance company to discuss nonprivileged aspects of the case with her.
The majority said that could lead to inadvertent disclosures of confidential information.
Chief Justice Ricky Polston wrote a dissent, saying the "ruling is far removed from a plain meaning interpretation of a statute and is seriously in error." Justice Charles Canady concurred.