Please Do Not Focus on the Rollerblading Man

This negligence lawsuit arises from a prior medical malpractice lawsuit in which Darwin Flores sued his doctor for causing him to suffer monocular vision.  This doctor hired appellees, an investigative firm, to surreptitiously record Flores to show the true extent of his injury.  On the videotape, the defendants mistakenly included video of a man rollerblading (who they determined was not Flores), and informed the doctor’s counsel that it was in fact not the plaintiff.  Flores lost his malpractice trial (though it’s unclear whether the rollerblading videotape was played or had anything to do with the loss).  Nevertheless, he followed up by suing the investigators for creating a “misleading perception” of him.  He is seeking $1 billion dollars in damages.

On appeal, the Court rejected Flores’ argument that a “private detective who conducts surveillance on an adversary owes his adversary a duty to refrain from circulating work product that the private detective knows can be used as fake evidence.”  Instead, the Court pointed out the undisputed fact that there was no relationship between appellees and Flores, let alone one that would impose a duty of care.

Flores v. Intelligence Servs. of Tex., Inc.