We got an order in Anne Arundel County requiring a recidivist defense expert to produce his financial records before examining the Plaintiff.
I think there is the assumption that my firm is involved in some sort of jihad against IME doctors. Self-referential as this may be, I think we have done more than any law firm in Maryland legal history in fighting for the right to present to a jury evidence of just how deep into the back pocket of insurance companies the doctor is and let them conclude whether this should matter. I’m very proud of this. We are fighting for our clients at every possible turn and our work has created good case law and helped put our clients in the best position to get the settlement or verdict we think they deserve.
That said, I think there are a lot of frequent flyer defense IME doctors that are good people giving honest opinions. Some, less so. (I understate a bit to gain credibility with you, dear reader.) The battlefield on IMEs is simply whether the expert is required to produce financial information to let the jury decide whether the doctor is unduly motivated by who is paying his freight. Is it the single biggest battlefield in crossing IME doctors? No, I really don’t think it is (David Ball apparently agrees with me). But does it matter? Is it the touchstone issue in a minority of personal injury cases? Absolutely. We get paid to advocate for our clients at every single turn. Defense lawyers do the same. It is the way this game is supposed to be played.
What I find to be incredible is that insurance companies pretty much know that we are going to push for these expert financial records. Does this lead them to pick experts that are further away from the insurance company’s trough? No. They see the iceberg right in front of them and decide to speed up the boat and name an expert that particularly has (1) a sorted financial history, and (2) has made painfully clear that if they get named as an expert, they are going to bail on the case.
Does this post bait the GEICO’s, State Farms, and Nationwides of the world to pick non-frequent flyer experts in our cases? Absolutely. Does this hurt our clients because we lose the cross-examination material? Well, we lose the fodder for cross but we get a more honest defense medical expert. I’ll take that deal.