The Florida Supreme Court recently held that a person bringing a first-party bad faith action against an insurance company has the right to discover all materials contained in the underlying insurance claim and related litigation file. Read the decision by clicking here.
In this type of case there is always a big fight over whether certain materials are protected by the work product privilege. Insurers attempt to invoke the doctrine. Plaintiffs seek the documents, saying that the information in such documents is directly relevant to resolution of the issue of whether bad faith was committed. In Florida, full discovery has traditionally been permitted in third-party claims but the law on first party claims was not as generous. This law opens up discovery in first party bad faith cases.
Florida has a well-developed body of bad faith law. This decision substantially changes the law of discovery in those cases and will greatly impact the law on this subject around the nation.