Wollschlaeger v. Governor of the State of Florida, No. 12-14009 (11th Cir. 2015)Annotate this Case
The court sua sponte vacated and reconsidered its original opinion on this matter and substituted in its place the following opinion. The State appealed the District Court’s grant of summary judgment and an injunction in favor of a plaintiffs, a group of physicians and physician advocacy groups, enjoining enforcement of Florida’s Firearm Owners Privacy Act, Fla. Stat. 381.026, 456.072, 790.338, on First and Fourteenth Amendment grounds. The Act seeks to protect patient privacy by restricting irrelevant inquiry and record-keeping by physicians on the sensitive issue of firearm ownership. The court concluded that the Act codifies the commonsense conclusion that good medical care does not require inquiry or record-keeping regarding firearms when unnecessary to a patient’s care - especially not when that inquiry or record-keeping constitutes such a substantial intrusion upon patient privacy. Given this understanding of the Act, and in light of the longstanding authority of States to define the boundaries of good medical practice, the court held that the Act is, on its face, a permissible restriction of physician speech. Accordingly, the court reversed the district court’s grant of summary judgment in favor of plaintiffs, and vacated the injunction against enforcement of the Act.