During the discovery phase of litigation, it is inevitable that discovery disputes arise between the plaintiff and defendants in Georgia personal injury, premises liability and malpractice litigation. One area of dispute that comes up often is when the plaintiff seeks the file that the insurance adjuster has compiled on the case. While the insurance companies try to avoid turning the file over, it is often discoverable unless the defendants can show a compelling reason to the court that it not be discoverable.
WORK PRODUCT IS NOT A BLANKET PROTECTION
The Defendants often claim that the adjuster’s investigative file is protected from disclosure by the so called “work product” privilege under O.C.G.A. §9-11-26(B)(3). This code section of the Georgia Civil Code deals with trial preparation materials and states in relevant part “a party may obtain discovery of documents … otherwise discoverable … and prepared in anticipation of litigation or for trial by or for another party or by or for that other party’s representative … only upon a showing that the party seeking discovery has substantial need of the materials in the preparation of his case and that he is unable without undue hardship to obtain the substantial equivalent of the materials by other means. In ordering discovery of such materials when the required showing has been made, the court shall protect against disclosure of the mental impressions, conclusions, opinions, or legal theories of an attorney or other representative of a party concerning the litigation.”