Today in a unanimous opinion, the Supreme Court of Florida quashed a petition for writ of certiorari which had been granted by the Third District Court of Appeal, and took the rather extraordinary step of disapproving of a half dozen other decisions in which district courts of appeal had previously granted writs of certiorari, including three decisions from the Third District; two from the Fifth; and one from the Fourth. One of the decisions quashed by the Supreme Court dates all the back to 1986. Today’s decision, Board of Trustees of the Internal Improvement Trust Fund v. American Educational Enterprises, LLC, Case No. 10-2251, can be found here.
The Third District had granted the petition for certiorari because although the case involved a failure to disclose a 1999 appraisal in a bidding package for a 2001 purchase of property, the plaintiff requested, and the trial court ordered, the production of significant financial documents for the time period between 2005 and 2007. In addition, the Third District found that the requested documents were not relevant to the issues involved in the case.
The Supreme Court held that compelling overly broad disclosure of documents does not present a basis for certiorari review, and reestablished the principle that what is relevant for purposes of discovery is significantly broader than what is relevant for purposes of admission into evidence at trial.
Lawyers will be well advised to review this most recent Supreme Court decision before advising their clients to pursue petitions for writs of certiorari of discovery orders which do not involve claims of privilege.