Saturday, December 26, 2009

Plaintiffs Also Required to Produce Their Medical Expert's File

In the Cumberland County Court of Common Pleas case of Barrick v. Holy Spirit Hospital, PICS Case No. 09-2159 (C.P. Cumberland Dec. 15, 2009, Hess, J.) the court held that a plaintiff should expect to be required produce the complete file of his or her treating physician who is serving as the plaintiff's expert, including letters issued to that doctor from the plaintiff's attorney regarding the expert opinion and testimony.

In this case, the plaintiff's treating orthopedic surgeon withheld some documents in response to a subpoena issued by defense counsel. The plaintiff argued that some of those documents need not be produced as they pertained to communications between the doctor and the plaintiff's attorney regarding the doctor's role as an expert witness.

While the court agreed that an attorney's work product is not discoverable, in this case, where the letters from the attorney could have influenced the doctor's opinion, those documents, along with the rest of the doctor's file, were ordered to be produced after an in camera review by the court.

A copy of this opinion can be secured from the Pennsylvania Law Weekly's Instant Case Service for a small fee by calling 1-800-276-7427 and giving the above PICS Case No.

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