ILNews

Panel disagrees in admitting expert testimony

Back to TopCommentsE-mailPrintBookmark and Share

The Indiana Court of Appeals ruled today that a trial court didn't err in allowing into evidence an injured woman's testimony about medical tests and the cause of her pain. The judges did disagree about whether the court erred in granting the woman's motion to strike portions of the defendant's expert medical witness's testimony.

Amanda Cave was injured in a car accident when Eric Sibbing's car slammed into the back of hers as she slowed while driving. At the time of the accident, she told responders she didn't need an ambulance, but as the days went on the pain in her foot and back became worse so she sought medical treatment. She eventually visited a chiropractor and underwent a nerve conduction study.

Cave filed her negligence suit against Sibbing, who admitted fault for the crash. The trial court granted her motion to strike portions of the testimony of Sibbing's expert medical witness, Dr. Paul Kern, who said the nerve conduction study and chiropractic care were unnecessary. The jury awarded her $71,675 for damages.

On appeal in Eric P. Sibbing v. Amanda N. Cave, No. 49A02-0802-CV-165, Sibbing challenged the decision by the trial court to admit certain testimony by Cave's witnesses and to exclude portions of Kern's testimony.

The judges, citing Coffey v. Coffey, 649 N.E.2d 1074, 1078 (Ind. Ct. App. 1995), ruled the trial court didn't appear to err in admitting Cave's testimony about what her doctor had told her about diagnostic tests and the cause of her pain. Most of the information to which Cave testified was presented to the jury through other exhibits or witnesses, wrote Judge Paul Mathias.

Chief Judge John Baker dissented from Judges Mathias and Elaine Brown's ruling that the trial court didn't abuse its discretion in granting Cave's motion to strike Kern's testimony. In his dissent, the chief judge wrote he disagreed with the majority's view that the holding in Whitaker v. Kruse, 495 N.E.2d 233 (Ind. Ct. App. 1986), precludes a defendant from calling an expert witness to render an opinion as to whether all of a plaintiff's treatments were reasonable or necessary under the circumstances.

ADVERTISEMENT

Post a comment to this story

COMMENTS POLICY
We reserve the right to remove any post that we feel is obscene, profane, vulgar, racist, sexually explicit, abusive, or hateful.
 
You are legally responsible for what you post and your anonymity is not guaranteed.
 
Posts that insult, defame, threaten, harass or abuse other readers or people mentioned in Indiana Lawyer editorial content are also subject to removal. Please respect the privacy of individuals and refrain from posting personal information.
 
No solicitations, spamming or advertisements are allowed. Readers may post links to other informational websites that are relevant to the topic at hand, but please do not link to objectionable material.
 
We may remove messages that are unrelated to the topic, encourage illegal activity, use all capital letters or are unreadable.
 

Messages that are flagged by readers as objectionable will be reviewed and may or may not be removed. Please do not flag a post simply because you disagree with it.

Sponsored by
ADVERTISEMENT
Subscribe to Indiana Lawyer
  1. Why in the world would someone need a person to correct a transcript when a realtime court reporter could provide them with a transcript (rough draft) immediately?

  2. If the end result is to simply record the spoke word, then perhaps some day digital recording may eventually be the status quo. However, it is a shallow view to believe the professional court reporter's function is to simply report the spoken word and nothing else. There are many aspects to being a professional court reporter, and many aspects involved in producing a professional and accurate transcript. A properly trained professional steno court reporter has achieved a skill set in a field where the average dropout rate in court reporting schools across the nation is 80% due to the difficulty of mastering the necessary skills. To name just a few "extras" that a court reporter with proper training brings into a courtroom or a deposition suite; an understanding of legal procedure, technology specific to the legal profession, and an understanding of what is being said by the attorneys and litigants (which makes a huge difference in the quality of the transcript). As to contracting, or anti-contracting the argument is simple. The court reporter as governed by our ethical standards is to be the independent, unbiased individual in a deposition or courtroom setting. When one has entered into a contract with any party, insurance carrier, etc., then that reporter is no longer unbiased. I have been a court reporter for over 30 years and I echo Mr. Richardson's remarks that I too am here to serve.

  3. A competitive bid process is ethical and appropriate especially when dealing with government agencies and large corporations, but an ethical line is crossed when court reporters in Pittsburgh start charging exorbitant fees on opposing counsel. This fee shifting isn't just financially biased, it undermines the entire justice system, giving advantages to those that can afford litigation the most. It makes no sense.

  4. "a ttention to detail is an asset for all lawyers." Well played, Indiana Lawyer. Well played.

  5. I have a appeals hearing for the renewal of my LPN licenses and I need an attorney, the ones I have spoke to so far want the money up front and I cant afford that. I was wondering if you could help me find one that takes payments or even a pro bono one. I live in Indiana just north of Indianapolis.

ADVERTISEMENT