Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Fourth District Denies Petition Seeking to Prevent Post-Judgment Discovery Sought From Counsel

In Neiman v. Naseer, et al (4D10-2091), the Fourth District denied a petition for certiorari seeking to quash the trial court's order that had refused to grant protection from a subpoena, served on the appellant's attorneys, that "sought  information  about settlement  funds  paid  to  one of  the  judgment  debtors  in  an  unrelated lawsuit."  Review was sought of the trial court's non-final order.  The Fourth District first noted that the order was not reviewable "as a non-final order under Florida Rule of Appellate Procedure 9.130(a)(4)."  The court concluded:
Treating  the appeal as a petition  for writ of certiorari, we agree with the  circuit  court  that  the  information  sought was not  protected  by  the  attorney-client privilege.  The information was known  to  the other party to the settlement agreement in the unrelated lawsuit.  We also agree that “[w]hile  confidentiality  agreements  are  necessary  in  some  instances,  to facilitate  settlement,  they  may  not  be  subsequently  employed  by a litigant to . . . thwart an opponent’s discovery.”  Smith v. TIB Bank of the Keys, 687 So. 2d 895, 896  (Fla. 3d DCA 1997).  We reject the  judgment debtors’ other arguments without further comment.


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