Saunders Law Group

Judge Revokes Key Part of New Medical Malpractice Law

In an earlier blog post, we discussed the potential privacy issues attached to a new medical malpractice law that was signed into effect by Governor Scott this June. Effectively, the defendant practitioner could bypass HIPAA and disclose patient information without the presence of the patient or his/her attorney. Additionally, defense lawyers could speak directly to doctors currently treating the plaintiff's injuries.

Now - less than four months later - a federal judge has rejected one of the law's main components. Citing direct conflict with federal privacy laws, U.S. District Judge Robert Hinkle struck down part of the law that allowed defense attorneys (as well as insurers and adjusters) to conduct ex parte interviews with a patient's other healthcare providers.

Under the original law, patients were required to sign a consent form authorizing these interviews as part of a pre-suit requirement. Hinkle claimed that giving authorization under the new law didn't show consent, but rather "mandated compliance with state law." According to Hinkle, this does not comply with HIPAA's consent rule, which states that any authorization for the release of medical records must be given freely by the patient.

The ruling is currently being reviewed by the Florida Medical Association, a large supporter of the original law. They are hoping the law will be upheld as it was written after the appeal process. The provision regarding expert witness testimony was not part of the case reviewed by Hinkle and has therefore remained intact.

No Comments

Leave a comment
Comment Information
Contact the Firm

Arrange A Free Consultation

Bold labels are required.

Contact Information

The use of the Internet or this form for communication with the firm or any individual member of the firm does not establish an attorney-client relationship. Confidential or time-sensitive information should not be sent through this form.


Privacy Policy

Saunders Law Group

Firm Number

Bartow Office
480 S Broadway Ave
Bartow, FL 33830

Phone: 863-578-4755
Fax: 863-533-5800
Bartow Law Office Map

Lakeland Office
500 S. Florida Avenue
Suite 400-4
Lakeland, FL 33801

Phone: 863-800-3343
Map & Directions