FINAL UNTIL TIME EXPIRES TO FILE MOTION FOR REHEARING AND
DISPOSITION THEREOF IF FILED
Petition for Certiorari Review of Order from the Circuit
Court for Seminole County, Susan Stacy, Judge.
Richard L. Wilson, Orlando, for Petitioners.
Christopher H. Morrison, of Pratt & Morrison, P.A.,
Winter Park, for Respondent.
McFall and her husband, John McFall, petition this court for
a writ of certiorari, asking that we quash an order from the
trial court compelling the production of an unredacted copy
of their jointly-filed 2017 federal income tax return to the
respondent, Donald A. Welsh. Concluding that this order
requires the production of the private financial information
of John McFall, who is not a party to the proceedings below,
without an evidentiary showing as to how his financial
information is relevant to that litigation, we grant the
petitioner, Kelly McFall, and the respondent, Donald Welsh,
are former spouses. Kelly McFall filed a supplemental
petition in the circuit court against Welsh to modify their
final judgment of dissolution of marriage as to the child
support previously awarded. Welsh responded to the petition
and thereafter requested discovery from McFall pertaining to
her finances. At issue here, McFall provided to Welsh a copy
of the 2017 federal income tax return that she filed jointly
with her husband, John McFall; but she redacted from this
return any information pertaining to John McFall's
finances. Welsh then moved to compel production of an
unredacted copy of the tax return. The McFalls objected,
asserting that producing the unredacted copy would violate
John McFall's right of privacy to his financial
information contained in the tax return. The trial court
overruled the objection and granted Welsh's motion to
compel. The instant petition for certiorari relief followed.
petition for certiorari is appropriate to review a discovery
order when the 'order 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.'"
Inglis v. Casselberry, 200 So.3d 206, 209 (Fla. 2d
DCA 2016) (quoting Winderting Invs., LLC v. Furnell,
144 So.3d 598, 601-02 (Fla. 2d DCA 2014)). To that end,
"[a]n order compelling production of documents
containing private financial information regarding a nonparty
is reviewable by certiorari because the nonparty has no
adequate remedy by appeal." Id. (citing
Rowe v. Rodriguez-Schmidt, 89 So.3d 1101, 1103 (Fla.
2d DCA 2012); Borck v. Borck, 906 So.2d 1209, 1211
(Fla. 4th DCA 2005)).
their certiorari petition before this court, the McFalls
argue that, absent Welsh establishing an evidentiary basis to
show that the unredacted jointly-filed tax return containing
John McFall's financial information is somehow relevant
to the underlying litigation, the court order violates John
McFall's constitutional right of privacy under Article I,
section 23, of the Florida Constitution. This section of
the Florida Constitution protects the disclosure of financial
information of private persons if there is no relevant or
compelling reason to require disclosure, Rowe, 89
So.3d at 1103 (quoting Borck, 906 So.2d at 1211),
because "personal finances are among those private
matters kept secret by most people." Woodward v.
Berkery, 714 So.2d 1027, 1035 (Fla. 4th DCA 1998)
(citing Winfield v. Div. of Pari-Mutuel Wagering,
477 So.2d 544, 548 (Fla. 1985)); see also Mogul v.
Mogul, 730 So.2d 1287, 1290 (Fla. 5th DCA 1999)
("The financial information of private persons is
entitled to protection by this state's constitutional
right of privacy, if there is no relevant or compelling
reason to compel disclosure.") (footnote omitted).
John McFall, as a nonparty below, has the constitutional
right to prevent the disclosure of the 2017 tax return that
he jointly filed with his wife unless Welsh can prove that
John McFall's financial information is relevant to the
modification of child support litigation between Welsh and
Kelly McFall. See Spry v. Prof'l Emp'r
Plans, 985 So.2d 1187, 1188-89 (Fla. 1st DCA 2008)
(providing that the burden of proving that a person's
private financial information is relevant is on the party
seeking the information). Because Welsh has not made this
showing, we conclude that the McFalls are entitled to
certiorari relief because the trial court's order
constitutes a departure from the essential requirements of
the law. See Rowe, 89 So.3d at 1103 (granting
certiorari relief and quashing a nonfinal order compelling a
former wife to produce an unredacted copy of a federal income
tax return filed jointly with her new husband who was not a
party to the underlying litigation between the former wife
and her ex-husband to modify the final judgment of
dissolution of marriage).
GRANTED; ORDER QUASHED.
and GROSSHANS, JJ, concur