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Trial court shouldn't have struck expert witness affidavit

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The Indiana Court of Appeals reversed summary judgment for a doctor in his attempt to collect an unpaid medical bill, finding the trial court erred when it struck the affidavit of an expert witness designated by the defendant.

In Marianne Jackson v. Thomas Trancik, M.D., No. 29A02-1012-CC-1391, Marianne Jackson went to Dr. Thomas Trancik for two office visits and shoulder surgery, which consisted of four separate procedures performed during one surgery. The bill was $11,147; Jackson paid a $20 co-pay and the doctor received nearly $6,000 as payment from Jackson’s insurer. He later filed suit against Jackson to recover the remaining $5,252.

Jackson wanted to introduce an affidavit by Christine Lewis, owner of MedReview Solutions, a firm specializing in reviewing medical bills. Lewis believed that three of the four surgical procedures weren’t billed correctly and that resulted in the doctor overcharging Jackson by more than $3,700. Her affidavit was struck after Trancik argued that Lewis wasn’t an expert qualified to render such an opinion and that her opinion wasn’t shown to be reliable or based on personal knowledge.

Lewis’ curriculum vitae shows she reviews medical bills for a living and she is also a certified public accountant and has completed a training program with Medical Billing Advocates of America. Based on her experience and training, she is qualified to render an expert opinion on the correctness of Trancik’s billing, wrote Chief Judge Margret Robb.

“Lewis is not second-guessing Dr. Trancik’s decision to perform the surgery that he did, nor is she opining about the quality of his work or its utility measured in medical terms. Rather, Lewis is opining that given the services that were performed, a different amount should have been billed according to methodology that reflects commonly accepted pricing and reimbursement methods. A trier of fact may consider Lewis’s lack of medical training when evaluating the weight to be given to her opinion, but that does not make her opinion inadmissible,” she wrote.

The judges also found that Lewis’ affidavit establishes a genuine factual issue as to what amount Jackson may owe, so summary judgment for Trancik was an error. They remanded for further proceedings.

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  1. I just wanted to point out that Congressman Jim Sensenbrenner, Senator Feinstein, former Senate majority leader Bill Frist, and former attorney general John Ashcroft are responsible for this rubbish. We need to keep a eye on these corrupt, arrogant, and incompetent fools.

  2. Well I guess our politicians have decided to give these idiot federal prosecutors unlimited power. Now if I guy bounces a fifty-dollar check, the U.S. attorney can intentionally wait for twenty-five years or so and have the check swabbed for DNA and file charges. These power hungry federal prosecutors now have unlimited power to mess with people. we can thank Wisconsin's Jim Sensenbrenner and Diane Feinstein, John Achcroft and Bill Frist for this one. Way to go, idiots.

  3. I wonder if the USSR had electronic voting machines that changed the ballot after it was cast? Oh well, at least we have a free media serving as vicious watchdog and exposing all of the rot in the system! (Insert rimshot)

  4. Jose, you are assuming those in power do not wish to be totalitarian. My experience has convinced me otherwise. Constitutionalists are nearly as rare as hens teeth among the powerbrokers "managing" us for The Glorious State. Oh, and your point is dead on, el correcta mundo. Keep the Founders’ (1791 & 1851) vision alive, my friend, even if most all others, and especially the ruling junta, chase only power and money (i.e. mammon)

  5. Hypocrisy in high places, absolute immunity handed out like Halloween treats (it is the stuff of which tyranny is made) and the belief that government agents are above the constitutions and cannot be held responsible for mere citizen is killing, perhaps has killed, The Republic. And yet those same power drunk statists just reel on down the hallway toward bureaucratic fascism.

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