I am pro se. I was examined by a dermatologist regarding an injury that a product caused me. I am about to subpoena the doctor’s official report as soon as I receive my trial date so that I can read it out loud to the jury. The doctor, board certified, is no longer in the United States.
Will New York State Supreme Court allow this document as evidence and allow me to read it to the jury?
Wow - i completely disagree with the other posters, so I guess it comes down to who you believe.
If the record is that of a treating physician, and you obtain a certified copy of it by subpoena so that it is sent directly to the Court Subpoenad record room, the trial judge will upon oral motion generally admit all of the medical records as evidence, and you will be permitted to read from it.
That said, the other side could object, and a likely will, if they have doubts about your ability to lay a proper foundation for the record, and pro se litigants are often tested in this regard.
You should be aware, that simply reading from a report of a treating physician is not enough to create liability on the part of a product manufacturer. You need an expert to offer in opinion with respect to whether the produce is defective and why.
As for the record itself, there are ways to get it into evidence over objection, even if the doctor is no longer in the u.s. Support staff, or another doctor in the office, can provide the authentication necessary.
The records can come into evidence under CPLR 3122-A as long as they are properly certified and you disclose your intention to use them at trial at least thirty days prior to trial, specifying a place where the defendants can have an opportunity to exam them. While other evidentiary issues may arise, a physicians records can come into evidence without the doctor or someone from his office coming in to testify.
If the doctor was one that you as plaintiff sought treatment from, or examined you in a capacity as an expert, then not only can you not submit his report into evidence, but you must first serve that report on the defendant to be even allowed to call that doctor as a witness at trial (assuming you can get the doctor to return for your trial). - and you can not wait until the actual trial to do that, as you would likely find yourself at the bad end of a preclusion order for waiting until trial to exchange the doctor's report. If the doctor was truly hired as an expert, then you must also serve a CPLR 3101(d) expert witness information exchange, There are many rules of evidence and procedure which effect what evidence, and how that evidence can be admitted before trial and as a Pro Se litigant, you are behind the proverbial 8 Ball, if defendants is represented by an experienced trial attorney.
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