Don’t Object Just Because You Can: Dr. Robert O. Gordon’s Deposition

My partner, Laura Zois, conducted a videotape trial cross examination of frequent flyer defense medical expert, Dr. Robert O. Gordon, a doctor who makes a great deal of money working for insurance companies generally and, frequently, for State Farm. During his examination, he spewed out a whole host of inappropriate and factually incorrect statements. Here is an example:

Q. And why not, Doctor? Would you explain the reasons for your opinion?

A. Well, first of all, there was nothing in the emergency room report, or in the report of the doctors that he was sent to by his attorney, that indicated that —

The client’s testimony was that he went to his family doctor first and was referred by his family doctor to the orthopedic surgeon. But Dr. Gordon has been doing this so long he assumes that someone did. The first thought is to file a motion to strike this testimony. But doesn’t his incorrect statement just underscore that he is not only a testifying doctor but an advocate? Isn’t it better that a jury sees this?

Here is another example:

A. No. Why don’t you ask — this Maryland Orthopaedics how many patients they see at the request of attorneys every day?

Q. Because this isn’t their deposition.

A. If you want to get rich doing — . . . — medical legal work, that’s what you do.Plaintiffs move to strike this testimony because

Ignoring the rich irony of a man making hundreds of thousands of dollars testifying, Dr. Gordon’s lashing out at another health care provider again underscores he is an advocate for the insurance companies. Why not let the jury hear that?

Here’s a few more exchanges:

Q.Okay. Who do you have as your staff?

A. I have staff. I’m not going to tell you who they are, because I get harassed by people like you all the time.

MS. ZOIS: Objection
THE WITNESS: I get phone calls at home.

MS. ZOIS: Move to strike.

THE WITNESS: I get people knocking on my door at midnight. I would like to explain why I’m not giving you that information. If you did that to my employees, I wouldn’t have any employees.

Q. I guess I was just thrown off by why you included the overhead.

A. Well, because I think it’s nice for you to get an idea that, unlike the doctors that treated this patient, the vast majority of my income has been from taking care of people —
MS. ZOIS: Objection. Move to strike.

THE WITNESS: — and not from selling drugs, not from —
MS. ZOIS: Objection. Move to strike.

THE WITNESS: — taking x-rays, and selling appliances.

Q. You referred to passive physical therapy. Is that — what does that mean? What does that term mean?

A. Well, the reason I said that is because some of these therapy places that have a big practice in treating patients that lawyers send them to —
MS. ZOIS: Objection. Move to strike.

THE WITNESS: — charge for things called therapeutic exercises. And what some of these places do is they — and particularly the doctor owned facilities — is they buy an exercise bicycle and they’ll put the patient on an exercise bicycle and they’ll charge them “therapeutic exercise.” It just means riding on an exercise bicycle, which — which is a bit — is a bit preposterous. I mean, they get – the bicycle can be paid for in a week and then the rest of it is just — that’s why doctors who do this kind of work can be on the golf course and making a fortune.

Isn’t this just incredible? After this, Dr. Gordon may as well come up to the lectern and try the case along with defense counsel. It is not that far of a stretch after this testimony.

This was not a large case. It was originally a District Court (small claims) case that got bumped up to Prince George’s County Circuit Court because the Defendant filed for jury demand. A Prince George’s County jury awarded $22,000 which was more than twice the offer State Farm made. Did Dr. Gordon’s testimony figure into the verdict? Who knows? But the point is that many personal injury lawyers would have sought to exclude that testimony simply because they could.

It is hard for lawyers to resist fighting a fight the lawyer knows he/she can win. Instead, it is better to figure out first whether the otherwise inadmissible and over reaching statements hurt or help you case. In this particular case, I think the testimony helped our clients’ case (and amused the jury from an otherwise boring video of the doctor’s testimony).

Updated:
  • DE Lawyer

    How interesting. I had a deposition with Dr. Gordon in which he also became an aggressive advocate for the defense. And he also cast aspersions on my client’s treating physician.

  • kdenslow

    I practice in virginia beach and represent a motorist who was involved n wreck on the Richmond Belt on 12.29.07. The other driver’s carrier is Liberty Mutual and after filing suit to get the attention of the adjuster, who ignored the demand package, the adjuster and I agreed to arbitration with high/low limits. The adjuster than referred the file to richmond counsel who propounded Interrogatorries on me and has now scheduled deposition of the plaintiff. Meanwhile, counsel scheduled IME to be done by Gordon. Plaintiff could not locate Gordon’s office and the IME was rescheduled. However, not before Gordon prepared a “peer review” (we refer to it as a records review). I now have a peer review and ime report which i anticipate both of which will be given to the arbitrator to consider. I thought the transcript that you linked to was very informitive and enlightening; do you have any objection to me providing a copy of it to the arbitrator to consider? I doubt that Gordon is coming to the richmond arbitration; the value of the claim does not warrant his personal apppearance (at an hourly rate of at least $480). leastlaueno the et ftht o b commeyour tr

  • cindy

    is this dr robert gordon of elkrigde md chartwell office park 8186 lark brown rd elkridge md

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