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Your New York medical malpractice lawsuit is coming up for trial. Do we have to tell the defense attorney who we are bringing in as medical experts?

 

A:

 The short answer is yes but the longer answer is no.

How do you like that double-sided answer from an attorney?

The reality is that we are required by law to let the defense attorney know that we have retained various medical experts to testify on our behalf. We are obligated to provide our adversary with the details of what the expert will be coming in to talk about. We must explain in detail what theories our expert will be talking about and the basis for his or her conclusions.

In addition, we are not required to give the name of our expert to the defense lawyer. However, we are required to provide the defense lawyer with our expert's credentials including where they went to medical school, where they graduated from, where they did their residency training and if they have any specialty training or specialty certificates. We must also provide them with the states that our expert is licensed in as well as any board certifications that our expert has achieved.

You might be thinking, correctly, that if the defense lawyer had all these detailed pieces of information about our expert's credentials, it would simply be a matter of going online and plugging this information into some website or software program that would identify the name of our expert. You would be 100% correct if you thought this.

This is exactly what the defense attorneys do.

They use this information to track down and identify our experts in order to gain information about them.

Likewise, we do the same when the defense attorneys provide us with their witnesses information.

Why is this done?

Originally, there was a belief that if the names of our experts were easily disclosed to our adversaries, pressure might be brought to bear on those expert witnesses in an attempt to prevent them from coming in and testifying on behalf of injured victims.

That is why we are required to give defense attorneys the substance of what the expert will be talking about and their credentials.

Since technology has advanced much faster than our laws and trial practice rules, this requirement has become severely outdated and is relatively simple and easy to identify which experts will be coming in to testify.

So to answer the question; We are required to tell the defense lawyers that we have an expert and what their credentials are. However, we do not voluntarily disclose the names of those experts even though the defense, with little effort, will be able to identify them using computer technology.