HARBORSIDE HEALTHCARE, LLC f/k/a Harborside Healthcare Corporation; SUN HEALTHCARE GROUP, INC.; and 2600 HIGHLANDS BOULEVARD NORTH, LLC, Petitioners,
ERICK M. JACOBSON and AMANDA N. JACOBSON as co-personal representatives of the Estate of William F. Jacobson, deceased, Respondents.
FINAL UNTIL TIME EXPIRES TO FILE REHEARING MOTION AND, IF
for Writ of Certiorari to the Circuit Court for Pinellas
County; Bruce Boyer, Judge.
A. Valdez, Sheila K. Nicholson, and Alexis M. Connell of
Quintairos, Prieto, Wood & Boyer, P.A., Tampa, for
L. Gisclar and Joanna Greber Dettloff of Wilkes & McHugh,
P.A., Tampa, for Respondents.
Healthcare, LLC, f/k/a Harborside Healthcare Corporation; Sun
Healthcare Group, Inc.; and 2600 Highlands Boulevard North,
LLC (collectively Harborside), challenge the order granting
the motion to compel discovery filed by the Estate of William
F. Jacobson, through co-personal representatives Erick M.
Jacobson and Amanda N. Jacobson (the Estate). We grant the
petition in part and deny it in part.
F. Jacobson was a resident of Bay Tree Center, a nursing
facility licensed pursuant to chapter 400, Florida Statutes,
from November 20, 2012, until February 4, 2013. After his
discharge from Bay Tree Center, Mr. Jacobson passed away. In
December 2014, the Estate filed the underlying lawsuit
against Harborside, seeking damages for wrongful death,
negligence, and violation of nursing home residents'
rights. In 2016, the Estate amended the complaint and served
the requests for production at issue in this proceeding.
Estate propounded a request for production and a request for
production of electronic mail. The request for production
included seventy-three paragraphs with subrequests.
Harborside produced responsive documents to some of the
requests and objected to others. The objections were tiered.
Harborside initially objected to the requests as overly
broad, unduly burdensome, vague, irrelevant, and not
reasonably calculated to lead to the discovery of admissible
evidence. It also objected to various requests as subject to
quality assurance, peer review, attorney-client, or
work-product privileges; as proprietary documents; as
violative of the privacy rights of Harborside's
employees; and as violative of the Health Insurance
Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA).
request for production of electronic mail included all
e-mails or other electronic communications sent or received
by virtually any administrator, director, or supervisor for
the period of time six months prior to Mr. Jacobson's
residency through nine months after his discharge and
containing any one of a litany of words or their
derivations. Harborside objected to the request as
overly broad and-particularly as to those time periods
outside of Mr. Jacobson's residency-irrelevant. It
further objected based on the e-mails being created for
quality assurance purposes and protected by attorney-client
or work-product privileges and by HIPAA and chapter 400,
Florida Statutes, because the information sought concerned
the care and treatment of residents other than Mr. Jacobson.
The request for production of electronic mail also included a
request for Harborside's electronic mail retention
Estate filed its motion to compel, along with a memorandum of
law and a proposed order granting the motion. The court
granted the motion without holding a hearing, executing the
order prepared by the Estate. The order contains no findings
and directs Harborside to produce all responsive documents.
Harborside filed a motion for reconsideration, arguing in
part that the trial court erred in overruling all of
Harborside's asserted objections without a hearing and
requesting specific rulings on the asserted objections. That
motion was denied without elaboration.
now seeks a writ of certiorari quashing the order compelling
discovery as to nineteen of the requests for production and
as to the request for electronic mail production. It contends
that the trial court departed from the essential requirements
of the law in multiple ways, including by determining that
the discovery requests were relevant, by failing to conduct
the necessary in camera review of certain responsive
documents, and by failing to require the Estate to meet the
requirements necessary to gain access to privileged or
review of a discovery order is appropriate when it
'departs from the essential requirements of law, causing
material injury to a petitioner throughout the remainder of
the proceedings below and effectively leaving no adequate
remedy on appeal.' " Bright House Networks, LLC
v. Cassidy, 129 So.3d 501, 505 (Fla. 2d DCA 2014)
(quoting Ameritrust Ins. Corp. v. O'Donnell
Landscapes, Inc., 899 So.2d 1205, 1207 (Fla. 2d DCA
2005)). Only if the challenged order causes irreparable harm
to the petitioner, conferring jurisdiction to this court, do
we consider whether the trial court departed from the
essential requirements of the law in entering it. Bright
House Networks, 129 So.3d at 505.
not every erroneous discovery order is remediable by
certiorari, a writ of certiorari is "an appropriate
remedy for discovery orders that depart from the essential
requirements of the law by requiring patently overbroad
discovery so extensive that compliance with the order will
cause material injury to the affected party throughout the
remainder of the proceeding, effectively leaving no adequate
remedy on appeal." Life Care Ctrs. of Am. v.
Reese, 948 So.2d 830, 832 (Fla. 5th DCA 2007) (first
citing Devereux Fla. Treatment Network, Inc. v.
McIntosh, 940 So.2d 1202, 1205-06 (Fla. 5th DCA 2006);
then citing Tanchel v. Shoemaker, 928 So.2d 440, 442
(Fla. 5th DCA 2006); and then citing Wooten, Honeywell
& Kest, P.A. v. Posner, 556 So.2d 1245, 1246 (Fla.
5th DCA 1990)). Similarly, "an order that entitles a
party to carte blanche discovery of irrelevant material
demonstrates the type of irreparable harm that may be
remedied via petition for writ of certiorari." Root
v. Balfour Beatty Constr. LLC, 132 So.3d 867, 869 (Fla.
2d DCA 2014).
relief is also appropriate in cases which allow discovery of
privileged information because once such information is
disclosed, there is "no remedy for the destruction of
the privilege available on direct appeal." Coates v.
Akerman, Senterfitt & Eidson, P.A., 940 So.2d 504,
506 (Fla. 2d DCA 2006) (quoting Estate of Stephens v.
Galen Health Care, Inc., 911 So.2d 277, 279 (Fla. 2d DCA
2005)). The same is true of production of discovery
implicating privacy rights, Root, 132 So.3d at 869,
requiring disclosure of trade secrets or other proprietary
information, Bright House Networks, 129 So.3d at