And tries to predict how the Florida Supreme Court would rule on discovery of other claim files of an insurer for purposes of evaluating claims procedures in a bad faith action:
While Ruiz addressed the parameters of the discoverability of the insured’s own claim file, as “virtually the only source of direct evidence with regard to the essential issue of the insurance company’s handling of the insured’s claim,” this court finds Ruiz also informs the discoverability of other insured claims files which relate to and illuminate the manner in which the company handles claims of its other policyholders in the general course of its business -- an issue directly bearing on the company’s punitive damage liability exposure under statutory language authorizing recovery of such damages where the company’s bad faith claims practices occur “with such frequency as to indicate a general business practice.” § 624.155 (5), Fla. Stat. (2007).I like the way Judge Hurley phrases his prediction, too:
Because the Florida Supreme Court has not issued a definitive ruling on this distinct issue, this court must predict how the Florida Supreme Court would rule on the applicability of attorney client privilege to other insured claim file materials sought in effort to establish an insurance company’s general claims handling practices as those practices potentially relate to its statutory punitive damage liability.Sounds reasonable, but I always find it amazing that there remain so many unresolved questions of Florida law, with new issues emerging pretty much every day.
Based on the analytical approach outlined in Ruiz, and the considerable relevance of other similarly situated insured claim files on the statutory punitive damage issue discussed infra, this court predicts that the Florida Supreme Court would interpret Ruiz to permit discovery of other insured claim file materials in the insurance bad faith context subject to the same limitations governing discoverability of the insured’s own claim file outlined in Ruiz.
Wagers, anyone, on Judge Hurley's prediction?
First I'd want to know the Judge's track record -- for instance, how'd he do on yesterday's game?