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Supreme Court of Florida
November 9, 2017, Decided
[*1121] LEWIS, J.
This case involves a Florida constitutional challenge to the 2013 amendments to sections 766.106 and 766.1065 of the Florida Statutes. ] Generally, the statutes pertain to invasive presuit notice requirements that must be satisfied before a medical negligence action may be filed, as well as an informal discovery process that accompanies that presuit notice process, and the amendments at issue here authorize secret, ex parte interviews as part of the informal discovery process. The First District Court of Appeal upheld the constitutionality of these statutory amendments in Weaver v. Myers, 170 So. 3d 873, 883 (Fla. 1st DCA 2015). Weaver then petitioned this Court for review.1 ] Because the district court expressly declared a state statute valid, this Court has discretionary jurisdiction to review the decision. See art. V, § 3(b)(3), Fla. Const. We accept that jurisdiction.
] Since 2011, before filing a medical negligence action in Florida, a claimant must satisfy statutory requirements, which include conducting a presuit investigation process to ascertain whether there are reasonable grounds to believe that the defendant [**3] medical provider was negligent, and that the negligence resulted in injury to the claimant. § 766.203(2)(a)-(b), Fla. Stat. (2016).
Following that investigation, a claimant must give each prospective defendant presuit notice of intent to initiate litigation and make certain disclosures. § 766.106(2)(a), Fla. Stat. (2016). The notice must disclose, where available, a list of all health care providers seen by the claimant for the injuries complained of and all known health care providers seen during the two-year period prior to the alleged act of negligence. Id. Furthermore, a medical malpractice claimant must furnish all medical records that the presuit investigation expert relied upon in signing an affidavit indicating a good-faith basis to believe a valid claim exists. See id.
In addition, ] the presuit notice must include an executed authorization form that is provided in section 766.1065 of the Florida Statutes. Id. That executed authorization form is titled "Authorization for Release of Protected Health Information." § 766.1065, Fla. Stat. (2016). By executing the authorization form in compliance with the statutory presuit notice requirement, the claimant is required to authorize the release of protected verbal and written health information that is potentially relevant to the claim of medical negligence [**4] in the possession of the health care providers listed in the notice disclosures. § 766.1065(3)B.1.-2., Fla. Stat. However, this authorization is not a blanket authorization—it excludes health care providers who do not possess information that is potentially relevant to the claim. § 766.1065(3)C. Nevertheless, the claimant is required to name these providers and provide the dates of treatments rendered by others. Id.
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229 So. 3d 1118 *; 2017 Fla. LEXIS 2282 **; 42 Fla. L. Weekly S 906
EMMA GAYLE WEAVER, etc., Petitioner, vs. STEPHEN C. MYERS, M.D., et al., Respondents.
Subsequent History: Motion granted by Weaver v. Myers, 2019 Fla. Cir. LEXIS 9519 (Fla. Cir. Ct., May 13, 2019)
Prior History: [**1] Application for Review of the Decision of the District Court of Appeal — Statutory Validity. First District - Case No. 1D14-3178. (Escambia County).
Weaver v. Myers, 170 So. 3d 873, 2015 Fla. App. LEXIS 10952 (Fla. Dist. Ct. App. 1st Dist., July 21, 2015)
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