Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Court Rules Defendant May Cross-Examine on Fact That Plaintiff's Attorney Referred Plaintiff to Doctor

In the Philadelphia County Court of Common Pleas case of Fullam v. Miller Bros., Inc., PICS Case No. 13-2410 (C.P. Phila. Co. July 22, 2013 Smith, J.), Judge Gregory E. Smith, addressed a number of evidentiary rulings and other issues on Post-Trial Motions in a trip and fall case.  

This matter involved a Plaintiff suing the Defendant for injuries she allegedly sustained when she fell into a partially covered hole at a construction site located at 34th and Market Streets in Philadelphia.  

The jury entered a defense verdict based upon a finding of Plaintiff’s contributory negligence of 85%.   The Plaintiff filed Post-Trial Motions which were denied and then the Plaintiff appealed.  

The trial court issued a Pa. R.A.P. 1925(b) Opinion responding to the Plaintiff’s issues raised on appeal.   Of note among the issues raised was an argument that the trial court erroneously declined to preclude evidence that the Plaintiff’s attorney gave the Plaintiff a list of treating physicians from which to choose for treatment purposes.  

According to the summary of the Opinion, the Plaintiff first treated after the subject accident with one physician.  A year later, when the Plaintiff was allegedly still experiencing pain, she went to a doctor recommended by her attorney.  

In its Opinion, the court noted that the scope of the Defendant’s cross-examination of the Plaintiff’s expert doctor to show bias or interest based upon the doctor’s relationship with Plaintiff’s counsel was admissible under the Pennsylvania Rules of Evidence.

Anyone wishing to review a copy of this decision may contact the Pennsylvania Instant Case Service of the Pennsylvania Law Weekly at 1-800-276-7427 and pay a small fee for a copy.  

Source:  Pennsylvania Law Weekly “Digest of Recent Opinions (October 1, 2013). 

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