Scope of Informal Conference Includes Treating Doctors

Opinions on Standard of Care; Causation

Laura Moehrle

Steve SchwegmanJim McAlpine

Earlier this week, the Minnesota Court of Appeals held an informal conference pursuant to Minnesota Statute § 595.02 subd. 5 allows inquiry into "any information or opinion" held by the physician, including opinions regarding the standard of care and causation. Howard v. Svoboda, A15-0896 (Minn. Ct. App. March 7, 2016).

In Howard, the District Court issued a protective order at plaintiff's request precluding defendants from asking a treating physician about the standard of care applicable to other providers who cared for the plaintiff and whether any breach of the standard of care caused injury to the plaintiff. On appeal, the Court of Appeals reversed, holding Minnesota Statute § 595.02 subd. 5 allows the parties to ask a treating physician about "any information or opinion in the possession of the health care provider." The Court noted that while a treating physician cannot be asked to form an opinion on standard of care or causation during an informal conference, if a treating physician already has an opinion on these issues, inquiry into that opinion is permissible as part of the informal conference.

If you have any questions regarding this holding, please feel free to give us a call.

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