Monday, April 18, 2016

Cooper Interrogatories Addressed to Plaintiff's Treating Physician Reconsidered By Judge Mazzoni of Lackawanna County

Tort Talkers may recall that I recently posted on the case of Mina v. Hua Mei, Inc., 2012-CV-7781 (C.P. Lacka. Co. 2016 Mazzoni, J.) HERE in which Judge Robert A. Mazzoni of the Lackawanna County Court of Common Pleas ruled that a Plaintiff's treating doctor could be compelled to respond to Cooper Interrogatories seeking bias information, including financial information relative to the experts medical-legal activities.

UPDATE:  On April 14, 2016, the trial court in Mina issued a detailed Order granting the Plaintiff's Motion for Reconsideration and reversing its original decision.  Relying, in part, on an affidavit from Plaintiff's counsel that the Plaintiff's attorney had no prior relationship with the expert.

Senior Judge Robert A. Mazzoni
Lackawanna County
Judge Mazzoni noted that, upon further consideration of the matter, the threshold test mandated by Cooper v. Schoffstall, 905 A.2d 482 (Pa. 2006) of showing that the Plaintiff's treating physician was a "professional witness" had not been met by the defense.  Accordingly, the court found that it would not be appropriate to allow for the more intrusive Cooper Interrogatories to be submitted to that expert.

In so ruling, Judge Mazzoni confirmed that treating physicians are not exempt from being submitted to Cooper Interrogatories in an appropriate case.  Judge Mazzoni stated that "[t]he application of Pa.R.C.P. 4003.5 and relevant case law do not carve out exceptions for treating physicians nor do they exclusively apply to independently retained medical experts.  The Rule and relevant case law cited in this Court's initial Order are party neutral make no distinction whether the non-party expert is retained by the Plaintiff or the Defendant."

Anyone wishing to review Judge Mazzoni's latest Order in this case can click this LINK

Judge Mazzoni's original decision can be viewed HERE.

I send thanks to Atttorney Melissa J. Foley of the Scranton, PA law office of Jill Miller & Associates, P.C., for bringing this case to my attention.

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