Life Care Ctrs. of Am. v. Reese, 948 So. 2d 830 (Fla. 5th DCA 2007)

Defendants appealed an order compelling response to 195 requests to produce and requiring them to prepare a privilege log. On appeal, the court noted the requests were expansive and unlimited by any time frame. The requests included “all incident, occurrence, and/or accident reports” from all facilities operated by Life Care Center of America, Inc., nationwide; all payroll analysis reports, key management indicators, staff productivity reports, labor distribution reports, and/or similar reports for Life Care Center of Melbourne; all documents generated related to the corporate supervision or oversight of Life Care Center of Melbourne budget expenditures for labor and supplies; all employee work schedules, employee sign-in sheets (including Medicare), and time cards and/or timesheets showing the identity, number (quantity), and classification (e.g., RN, LPN, nurse aide, and so on) of any nursing personnel (including nurses, nurses aides, medication aides, orderlies, and so on) for Life Care Center of Melbourne; and all records of complaints from staff at Life Care Center of Melbourne.” Defendants responded by raising objections based on the absence of limitations based on scope and time, raised confidentiality objections, and third-party privacy objections. Without considering Defendants’ objections, the trial court denied Defendants’ motion for protective order and required Defendants to produce privilege logs, which were 226 pages long. The court of appeals found that the trial court’s order was a departure from the essential requirements of law. The trial court should have addressed the discoverability of the requested documents before ordering Defendants to review them all for privileged material. The trial court order was quashed. In the ruling, the court reminded counsel for Plaintiff of their responsibility to refrain from making frivolous discovery requests and reminded Defendants’ counsel of their duty to comply with all legally proper discovery requests.

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