ROIG Lawyers Partner Wins Appeal For State Farm
An appellate panel in Miami-Dade Circuit Court reversed a trial court’s order that State Farm had to produce insurance adjusters’ claim file notes.
Abbi S. Freifeld, a partner in the Deerfield Beach office of ROIG Lawyers, secured a victory on behalf of State Farm when the Appellate Division of the Eleventh Judicial Circuit in and for Miami-Dade County issued a ruling reversing a lower court’s order compelling production of the insurance adjusters’ notes from State Farm. The court held that such documents are not discoverable because the case involved a breach of contract claim, not a bad faith claim.
The trial court had ordered State Farm in 2013 to turn over 18 pages of adjusters’ notes from its claim file. Abbi argued that an insurance company’s claims file documents including adjusters’ notes are not discoverable in a first-party breach of contract where coverage and damages are in dispute. Abbi cited the Third District Court of Appeal case Castle Key Insurance Co. v. Benitez to show that production of such contents of a claims file is appropriate only after the issue of coverage has been resolved, and a claim for bad faith has been brought.
Not only did the appellate panel quash the lower court’s order to produce, it also granted appellate attorney fees to State Farm.