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FMG Law Blog Line

Posts Tagged ‘expert witness’

Who is Protected by Privilege?

Posted on: December 27th, 2018

By: Matthew Jones

In the recent case of Day v. Johns Hopkins Health Sys. Corp., the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit answered this question in the context of expert witnesses facing RICO violations. In the Day case, an expert witness testified that the evidence he reviewed regarding the coal miners’ claim for Black Lung Benefits Act benefits did not support those claims. After the claim was denied, the Center for Public Integrity alleged that the radiology unit at Johns Hopkins were much less likely to find cases of black lung disease than other doctors.

On appeal, it was argued that the expert witness misled the Court and the miners as to the standards he was applying, which amounted to a systematic violation of international standards. However, the Fourth Circuit reiterated the “absolute” nature of the litigation privilege for those witnesses who “aid the truth-seeking mission of the judicial system.” One important goal of this privilege is to prevent future witness participation deterrence or to be undermined by subsequent actions for damages arising out of the witness’s testimony.

If you have any questions or would like more information, please contact Matthew Jones at [email protected].

Hospital Found Liable After Lawyers Intimidate Expert

Posted on: September 17th, 2012

By: Scott Rees

A default judgment was recently entered against a local hospital, based on the actions of its attorneys.  In entering the default judgment, the judge determined that the local hospital’s attorneys intimidated the plaintiff’s expert physician witness to the point he refused to continue on as plaintiff’s expert.  According to the judge’s order, after learning that the plaintiff’s expert was a Northside Hospital employee, the local hospital’s attorneys contacted the expert’s superior to notify her that the expert would be testifying in support of plaintiff’s medical malpractice claims against the local hospital.  The judge rejected the local hospital’s argument that the call to Northside Hospital was made only as a professional courtesy.  The order went on to provide that the expert’s boss then telephoned the expert and threatened his job if he testified for the plaintiff.  The expert then refused to continue as plaintiff’s expert, because he was fearful of losing his job and being blackballed in the medical community.  The judge found that the intimidation destroyed plaintiff’s case, because it would be too difficult to find a replacement witness, and therefore entered the default judgment.  This lawsuit is ongoing, and we will provide an update as additional information becomes known.