Order Compelling Expert to Produce Financial Information

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.doctorpoint

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.

  • Avenger

    To be logically consistant , I guess you would be okay with defense counsel finding out what percentage of a chiropractor’s income comes from clients of plaintiff attorneys and presenting this information to a jury ?

    Nicht wahr ?

  • Tony

    Back in my insurance defense days, I preferred to use IMEs in cases only where there was a serious, and not obvious, claim of permanency. Didn’t make sense for me to get an IME for completed treatment with 100% recovery — in my view, that’s defending the case in the wrong place. In cases where I did use a doctor for an IME because of a serious and not obvious case of permanency, it was usually one of the doctors that I thought examined the issue straight (relatively). Perhaps they were also frequent flyers, but testi-lying was not their business — medicine was. On the other hand, I usually didn’t strongly contest a plaintiff’s medical expert if that provider was the plaintiff’s regular treating doctor, or someone referred to by the regular doctor. But that usually isn’t the case, is it? Surely you know, Ron, that defense lawyers aren’t the only ones that employ frequent flyers. Do you produce on request the financial information of your treating physicians?

  • Ron Miller

    Folks, it is not all defense doctors who have to provide financials. It is frequent flyer doctors. Treating doctors are treated differently under Maryland and federal law.

    Avenger, I have not asked a chiropractor to testify for me in my life. If I have a chiropractor was my expert, I have a very small case or a very problematic case.

    The reality is that if I’m trying a case, it is extremely unlikely that the patient found the treating doctor though me. Treating doctors are not the same as hired guns. But if I hire a gun, I would expect the same treatment, certainly.

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