Thursday, May 21, 2009

My morning thought on alternative methods of taking expert witness depositions

I was having a conversation with an opposing counsel regarding a case that we have. We had forwarded medical records over to him and he had passed it onto his expert witness. I asked when we could expect getting a copy of his report, his response did nothing to mask frustration:

Opposing Counsel: I gave it to him a few days ago, but I don't know. For the amount of money I pay this guy, I wish things happened a little faster.
Me: Same day service would be nice at $1,000 an hour.
Opposing Counsel: No kidding
This conversation reminded me of one of my to-do items. I keep getting calls from the office of one of our client’s treating physicians about an outstanding invoice. The Defense counsel took his deposition several months ago and I was defending it. We knew what the doctor was going to say going in, so we didn’t need to prep with him beforehand. I did want to actually meet the guy before I went into the deposition. I got to his office about 15 minutes before the deposition, got to meet him and we talked sports for 5 minutes. Then I left to get into the doctor’s conference room to confer with the opposing counsel.

In this situation, the Defense counsel picked up the tab for the doctor’s time. Something like $1700 for 2 hours. What I wasn’t expecting was the $100 bill sent to me for my 5 minute talk with the doctor about his college alma mater’s football team. $100 on this? Are you kidding me? But I digress. I am currently sitting in a doctor’s waiting room for an appointment [Swine flu]. This appointment would cost (if it weren’t for insurance) $130 and it’ll be about an hour of the doctor’s time. And this got to me to thinking…

I wonder what would happen if the next time I get an astronomical quote for an expert doctor’s time, if I just scheduled an appointment, showed up with a court reporter and the opposing counsel and waited for the doctor in his examination room:
Doctor: [Walks in, oblivious to the other people] Good morning.
Me: Good morning, my name is Namby Pamby and I represent the Plaintiff in Smith v. Hall
Doctor: Just open wide and say ‘ahhh’ [Sticks the tongue depressor into my mouth]
Me: Leh tha rekah refwech hat his isss the iscovey epossishton of octor Steeev ones
Doctor: Very good. Now take your pants off.
Me: Doctor, can you state to a reasonable degree…
Doctor: Turn away from me and bend over
Me: …of medical certainty that the hernia was caused by…
Doctor: You are going to feel an odd sensation, but this exam is necessary to determine the health of the
Me: …the decelaration forces of the acc….
Doctor: Prostate. Ok he we go…
Me: …ciiddeennennt??!?!!!
Court Reporter: I’m sorry, could you repeat that?
I’m just trying to save a buck or two…

On second thought, maybe I'll just pay the $1700. I'm sure it violates HIPPA somehow...