The Florida Supreme Court has accepted review of the Third District’s decision in Ampuero-Martinez v. Cedars Healthcare Group, 88 So. 3d 190 (Fla. 3d DCA 2000), (Case Nos. SC11-2208 and SC11-2336), which will decide when the discovery of records of adverse medical incidents may extend to patients other than a plaintiff.
The right to discovery of records of adverse medical incidents was created by the passage of Amendment 7 to the Florida Constitution in November 2004. The Florida Legislature enacted § 381.028 in 2005 to clarify the operation and effect of the amendment. The amendment and statute engendered a firestorm of litigation over their constitutionality, scope and enforcement and resulted in numerous district court and Florida Supreme Court decisions that tried to calm the storm.
On September 21, 2011, the Third District granted and denied in part a petition for writ of certiorari filed by a defendant-medical center requesting the court to quash the trial court’s order requiring production of documents requested by the plaintiff in a request for production. Though the medical center raised numerous grounds in its petition, the Third District granted the petition solely on the ground that the request to produce asked for records of adverse medical incidents involving patients other than the plaintiff, without limiting the production of those records to the same or substantially similar condition, treatment, or diagnosis as the plaintiff as required by § 381.028(7)(a), Florida Statutes.
The Third District held that by not limiting the request as required by § 381.028(7)(a), the trial court departed from the essential requirements of the law. Thus, the Third District quashed the portion of the trial court’s order requiring the medical center to produce records of adverse medical incidents that were not limited to the same or substantially similar condition, treatment, or diagnosis of the plaintiff.
Following the completion of briefing on January 28, 2013, the case settled; however, upon motion, the Court decided to retain jurisdiction. The supreme court will decide this case without oral argument.