Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Pennsylvania Supreme Court to Decide Barrick v. Holy Spirit Hospital Expert Discovery Issue

According to an online article by Zack Needles in the September 5, 2012 Legal Intelligencer, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court has agreed to address the issue in Barrick v. Holy Spirit Hospital of whether or not communications between an attorney and his expert witness are discoverable.

By way of background, the Dauphin County trial court ruled that the communications were indeed discoverable where an in camera review of the communications by Plaintiff's counsel with the Plaintiff's medical expert could have materially impacted the expert's formulation of his opinion.

On appeal, an original three-member panel of the Superior Court affirmed the trial court's decision that the communications were discoverable.  Then, on re-argument before an en banc panel of the Pennsylvania Superior Court reversed and held that these communications were not discoverable.

In the one-page Order filed by the Pennsylvania Supreme Court Justices on August 31, 2012 granting allocatur, the Supreme Court noted that it will review the issue of "whether the Superior Court’s interpretation of Pa.R.C.P. No. 4003.3 improperly provides absolute work product protection to all communications between a party’s counsel and their trial expert.”

Source: Article:  "Justices to Decide Whether Attorney-Expert Communications are Discoverable" by Zack Needles, The Legal Intelligencer (Sept. 5, 2012).

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