Communications Between Attorney and Expert Discoverable

Posted on: June 26th, 2012       Attorney Thomas Newell

A September 2010 opinion of the Pennsylvania Superior Court discussed in detail the rules regarding expert-attorney communications discovery. A hospital cafeteria patron filed a personal injury lawsuit after a chair he was sitting on collapsed. The attorneys representing the hospital served a subpoena on the victim’s treating doctor seeking copies of his medical records and correspondence between the plaintiff’s attorney and the expert.

The subpoena was objected to based upon attorney-client privilege and the attorney work product doctrine. The defendants countered that they were entitled to discover all factors that may influence the expert’s opinion and testimony. Both the Cumberland County Trial Judge and the Appeals Court ruled that opposing counsel is entitled to discover the extent of the attorney’s influence over his expert’s opinions. Litigants are also entitled to see whether their opponent suggested the expert reach certain conclusions. Barrick v. Holy Spirit Hosp., 5 A.3d 404 (Pa. Super. 2010)

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