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Personal injury California, can defense counsel communicate with plaintiff's treating physician, before/after expert designation

Chino Hills, CA |

A treating physician designated as an expert , by Plaintiff , has changed her story after speaking with defense counsel. Now, his doctor will not meet with plaintiff's counsel to prepare for the upcoming deposition by defendant. This doctor is now changing her opinion to help defendant's case.

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Attorney answers 5

Posted

Doctor has violated patient privacy. Atty has interfered with privileged communications, and possibly witness tampering. Atty has also violated medical privacy. Consider filing complaint with the State Bar. Your atty needs to talk to the doc and find out exactly what was said by opp counsel and by doc. Your atty should be handling this and advising you.

Posted

Arguably the physician has violated HIPPA laws as well as her hippocratic oath. It's also arguable that the defense attorney has acted unethically. None of this really helps your case. The best your attorney may be able to do with this at this point is to point out during the deposition that your physician spoke to defense counsel and that she knew or should have known that she should not do that. I'm not sure what you mean by "changed her opinion", but if she put her prior opinion in her records or expressed an opinion to your, your attorney could use that to cross examine her to the effect she changed her opinion after speaking to defense counsel, what was discussed, etc. If you don't have another expert that will give you medical causation, your attorney may also do a motion to disclose a new expert citing defense counsel's conduct.

Good luck.

Posted

Generally not. There are HIPPA issues, but you should also have your laweyr check the rules in California as to whether the rules of civil procedure prohibit this kind of conduct. It is prohibited in many states. I hope this helps. Good luck.

Posted

I agree. Take the deposition of the doctor. File a motion to augment your expert witness list if there is witness tampering. Consider filing a bar complaint against opposing counsel, if appropriate.

Marc Lazarus
www.russellandlazarus.com

Posted

No

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