HealthLawProf Blog

Editor: Katharine Van Tassel
Akron Univ. School of Law

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Monday, December 6, 2004

New Malpractice Reform Method

A Georgia physician has been barred from the courtroom as an expert witness - forever.  Denying access to expert witnesses willing to say anything may help stop frivolous lawsuits.  This case, however, seems a bit shocking.

According to an article in the AmedNews.com:

"... a Georgia judge has banned an expert witness from ever testifying in his courtroom because he said the testimony the physician gave was "conflicting, lacking in credibility and apparently untruthful."

The doctor denies the judge's allegations and is appealing the ruling.

The order comes at a time when some physicians are making a push to better police expert witness testimony as a way of limiting the number of meritless lawsuits being filed.

Legal experts say that federal judges have not allowed physician expert witnesses to appear in court in a specific case when their testimony appears to be 'junk science.'"

In response, the article reports that Mr. Garland (Dr. Williams' attorney),argues that the judge's ruling is illegal and that it should be changed.  The article continues noting that,

"If the judge doesn't change his mind, it would be a blemish on Dr. Williams' record that would likely be brought up anytime he testified in court. Some say that's unfair, particularly given the facts of the case. Others say it could set an interesting example for others to use when experts appear in their courtroom.

Either way, physicians who testify as expert witnesses and those who are pushing for better policing of expert witness testimony will watch the case closely to see how the issue is ultimately resolved."

Thanks to Jim Tomaszewski for this article!

http://lawprofessors.typepad.com/healthlawprof_blog/2004/12/new_malpractice.html

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