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Watunya v. Siena, et al., C.A. No. N12C-02-118 CEB (Del. Super. Ct. Aug. 27, 2014)

Superior Court grant Motion in Limine to exclude proposed testimony of Plaintiff’s medical expert for failure to produce a narrative report.

Plaintiff was involved in a motor vehicle accident on July 14, 2010 and filed suit against the Defendant for UIM benefits. During the course of litigation, Plaintiff produced an expert report from Bruce Grossinger, D.O. No additional expert reports were disclosed or produced by the Plaintiff. Plaintiff did, however, identify additional treating physicians in Plaintiff’s Answers to Interrogatories as experts. In the pre-trial stipulation, Plaintiff identified Dr. Grossinger and the additional treating physicians as expert witnesses at trial. In response, Defendant filed a Motion in Limine to exclude the expert testimony of the additional treating physicians based on Plaintiff’s failure to produce an expert report pursuant to Superior Court Rule 26. Defendant argued that mere identification of a doctor and disclosure of medical records is insufficient to satisfy an expert disclosure obligation. As such, the Defendant argued, the treating physicians’ testimony should be excluded since they did not produce expert reports. Plaintiff responded that an expert report was not required because they were identified in Answers to Interrogatories and the substance of their opinions were adequately conveyed in the medical records provided during the course of discovery.

The Court granted Defendant’s Motion in Limine. The Court held that the Plaintiff’s belief that they were under no duty to provide expert reports is not well-taken. The Court, in quoting the Delaware Supreme Court in Sammons v. Doctors for Emergency Service, P.A., affirmed that “it is not reasonable to require Defendant’s counsel to go on a wild goose chase with Plaintiff’s experts or to depose Plaintiff’s experts without the benefit of having the opinions and the medical and/or scientific reasoning for those opinions.” 913 A.2d 519, 529 (Del. 2006). The Court noted that the Plaintiff’s general designation of the treating physicians as experts, along with a “see medical records” answer to Interrogatories, falls short of explaining the specific opinions of the experts or the basis for those opinions. The Court emphasized that Plaintiff was aware of its obligation based on its production of the expert report by Dr. Grossinger. Based on the foregoing, the Superior Court excluded the additional experts. The Court did note, however, that because there was the report of Dr. Grossinger, the Motion in Limine is not “outcome determinative” and recognized that Plaintiff still had the ability to take their case to the jury.

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