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Last Post 21 Jul 2014 12:08 PM by  James Kloss
R-13-0042 Rule 26(b)(4)(C), Ariz.R.Civ.Proc.
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kent@rudolphhammond.com
Posts:

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25 Apr 2014 12:43 PM
Kent Hammond
Law Offices of Rudolph & Hammond, LLC
8686 E. San Alberto Drive, Suite 200
Scottsdale, AZ 85258
Phone 480.951.9700
Fax 480.951.1185
kent@rudolphhammond.com
State Bar #015100

Dear Justices:

I have read all of the comments in support of Petition R-13-0042 to amend Rule 26(b)(4)(C) of the Arizona Rules of Civil Procedure and agree with all of them. The recommended amendment to Rule 26(b)(4)(C) will continue the long standing practice of allowing treating physicians to receive reasonable compensation for their time testifying for their patients. The Sanchez decision has adversely affected that practice and as noted above, has resulted in the unintended consequence of restricting access to justice for those injured through no fault of their own. If a change is not made, doctors will simply refuse to provide treatment to accident victims. In fact, it has already started to occur. Thus, it is respectfully requested that the court adopt the petition.


MrCurtin
Posts:

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25 Apr 2014 05:10 PM
John M. Curtin
Robbins & Curtin
301 East Bethany Home Road, B-100
Phoenix, AZ 85012
(602) 285-0100
john@robbinsandcurtin.com

It might seem somewhat counter-intuitive that so many of the people writing to support this change are the very people who will have to write checks to doctors to reimburse them for their time, if this passes. Why are trial lawyers petitioning for a rule that will cost them more in advanced costs?

The answer is quite simple. If doctors are NOT fairly reimbursed for their time as witnesses they will not treat patients who suffer injuries that might result in litigation. There are already a substantial number of orthopedic surgeons and neurologists and neurosurgeons who screen out patients based on whether they have an injury claim. This has been the case for many years. Most doctors do not like participating in the litigation process. They do not enjoy cross examination. They do not like having their treatment costs questioned. Many would prefer not to take time away from treating patients to respond to give depositions or testify at trial. So they don't treat accident victims. This has been true even when the system provided compensation. What will happen is compensation is taken away>

Why would any doctor in their right mind put themselves in a position to be forced to respond to a subpoena and take time away from a busy practice for $12? Who will willingly sit outside a courtroom cooling their heels waiting to testify, only to be told "come back tomorrow we didn't get to your testimony." If lawyers don't pay for the doctors's time, they will not feel as inclined to respect it. Moreover, one can anticipate that opposing counsel might deliberately abuse a doctor who is testifying for an opponent by wasting their time and causing inconvenience in order to "sour" the witness on litigation.

The reality is that we need doctors as witnesses more than they need us. Cases cannot be processed without someone to answer key medical questions. Is this injury permanent? Was it caused by the accident? Was the decedent of sound mind? Was the psychiatric condition a mitigating factor? Without these answers cases grind to halt. It might be possible to substitute hired experts. But that hardly achieves a cost savings, and it does nothing to prevent doctors from refusing injury claimants as patients to avoid being subpoenaed as percipient witnesses.

Then there is the issue of fundamental fairness. It is not fair to treat a physician like any other percipient witness. Doctors have training and expertise which renders even their perceptions a matter of expert opinion. They have studied to develop this expertise that informs their perceptions. While a lay person sees a pale sweaty man in his 50's, massaging his left shoulder the physicians sees the characteristic posture of a man having a heart attack. Then there is the issue of the scale of the burden. Most of us see one or two accidents in our life. A busy doctor will treat dozens of accident victims in a year. While we might face being subpoenaed as a percipient once in our lives, a doctor who treats accident victims could be subpoenaed once or twice a month. Over time this is a huge burden to expect a volunteer to carry.

For the reasons above I support the petition for rule change whole-heartedly
clague3
Posts:

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25 Apr 2014 06:35 PM
Clague Van Slyke, III
2401 E. Speedway Blvd.
Tucson, AZ 85719
520-325-8660
520-325-8565
cvs3@dakotacom.net
007100



I am commenting in support of this rule change in light of the Sanchez opinion that changed long standing practices. I have practiced plaintiff personal injury law in Pima County for over 30 years. I have been a member of the Civil Rules Committee of the State Bar and am a former President of the Arizona Trial Lawyers Association.

The law post Sanchez creates a loop hole that punishes one group of expert witnesses in personal injury litigation - the plaintiff's treating doctors. Testimony from a medical professional is required to prove a plaintiff's injury claim. Treating doctors who testify based on their observations and treatment offer their expertise when they opine on issues such as causation and prognosis. Many providers already refuse to treat accident victims but the Sanchez opinion increases the likelihood that more providers will refuse to provide necessary treatment. It is frustrating enough to have suffered an unforeseen injury but to then struggle to obtain treatment only adds an additional burden. Many of my clients meet their doctors for the first time on a gurney in the emergency room prior to surgery. They are not seeking to become involved in litigation- simply practicing their profession. Do we want to discourage doctors from rendering help for fear of spending unpaid hours in the court process?

Most lawyers in Pima County - defense and plaintiff - recognize the hardship imposed by Sanchez and pay doctors a fair hourly rate for their testimony. However, it is only a matter of time before insurance carriers instruct their lawyers to ignore longstanding practices of professional courtesy and in turn poison relations between the medical and legal community. It is my understanding that some defense firms and carriers are already using the Sanchez rule to harass and burden certain doctors to discourage them from treating accident victims.

This rule change would help level the playing field. Currently the defense practice is to retain medical experts who tend to demand significant fees to testify or be deposed. On a recent case I was quoted an hourly fee of $1500.00 to depose an orthopedic surgeon who conducted a defense medical exam. My treating orthopedic surgeon was willing to testify for $400.00 an hour. Under the Sanchez opinion the disparity of $12.00 total versus $1500.00 an hour only highlights the need for this rule change. Litigation is costly enough and the bar decries how the justice system is pricing people out of the system. Permitting the system to be further tilted and less equitable will only accelerate these disparities.

Clague Van Slyke, III
djadelman
Posts:

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28 Apr 2014 11:10 AM
Danny Adelman
Adelman German, PLC
8245 N. 85th Way
Scottsdale, AZ 85258
480-607-9166 (T)
480-607-9031 (F)
danny@adelmangerman.com
AZ Bar No. 011368

I strongly support this amendment. Physicians should be allowed to charge reasonable professional fees for their time testifying. There are so many disincentives that physicians already face in deciding to care for people who have been injured in accidents. They should be paid a reasonable professional fee when they have to take time away from their practices to testify. Many physicians already refuse to care for people who are injured in accidents. The last thing the law should do is provide a further disincentive by telling these physicians that they will be paid virtually nothing for their time. It places an unfair burden on the physician, and unfairly prejudices people who were injured through no fault of their own. The Rule change would afford the proper respect to these professionals, and would even the playing field for litigants.
tomaburnett
Posts:

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28 Apr 2014 02:06 PM
Thomas A. Burnett
1744 South Val Vista Drive, Suite 208
P. 480-347-9116
F. 480-347-9142
tom.burnett@burnettlawaz.com
026509

I write in support of R-13-0042. My practice focuses on plaintiff's personal injury cases. I join in the concerns that so many others have voiced: If a medical doctor can be compelled to leave his or her practice for hours or days at a time to give testimony for $12.00 plus mileage, why would medical providers continue to treat patients who were injured as a result of third-party negligence? The Sanchez decision, if left controlling, will likely result in the polarization of the relationship between injured parties and their treating doctors. I support R-13-0042.
Dclausen
Posts:

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28 Apr 2014 03:42 PM
Darren M. Clausen
Clausen & Moore Law Firm
4578 East Camp Lowell Drive
Tucson, Arizona 85712
Phone (520) 327-7113
Fax (520) 327-3414
dclausen@clausenandmoorelaw.com


Dear Justices:

I am writing in support of Petition R-13-0042 and the proposed change to Rule 26(b)(4)(C), Arizona Rules of Civil Procedure.

Plaintiffs in personal injury and medical malpractice matters rely on the testimony of medical providers to present their damages case to a jury at trial. Many physicians are reluctant to treat patients injured as a result of a motor vehicle accident or other tort for fear of being hauled into court to give testimony. Here in Tucson, the largest orthopedic surgeon group will not treat patients if they have been injured due to negligence, and this was even before Sanchez v. Gamez. If this rule is not adopted, it will have a chilling effect on an injured person’s access to medical care, as physician’s will not want to treat patients if they are at risk of being subpoenaed for a four hour deposition (during office hours), only to receive a $12.00 check for their time.

Under the court's holding in Sanchez v. Gama, defendants can compel plaintiff's treating physicians to appear for deposition without compensating them for their time lost in medical practice. What professional would willingly subject himself to such risk? The result of the court's holding in Sanchez will be that many, if not most doctors, will simply refuse to treat patients who are injured due to a third party’s negligence.

The new rule will fix this problem created by the Sanchez holding, allowing victims of third party negligence to receive the care they need and allow health care providers to treat the injured, no matter what the source of injury, and be compensated for their time in deposition and trial commensurate with their education, training and normal rate of pay.

Thank you for your consideration.

natecooley
Posts:

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28 Apr 2014 03:46 PM
Nathan C. Cooley
1744 S. Val Vista Dr.
Suite 201
Mesa, AZ 85204
T: (480) 214-4741
F: (480) 240-1340
Email: nate@ncooleylaw.com
State Bar No. 024678

I have reviewed petition R-13-0042 pertaining to Rule 26(b)(4)(C), Ariz. R. Civ. P., and the proposed amendments are critically necessary to prevent tort victims from having fewer treatment options.

If the rule is not changed, the Sanchez opinion will dictate that medical professionals who treat injured victims will be compensated for their testimony and cooperation only a fraction of the wage they expect and normally earn in their practices.

With this compensation structure in place, common sense says that fewer and fewer medical professionals will be willing to treat patients whose injuries may have been caused by a third-party. This outcome is not good for tort victims.

The rules should be drafted and interpreted so as alleviate unnecessary hardships for litigants and to treat fairly as many parties as possible. In my humble opinion, the proposed amendment accomplishes this goal.

Thank you for the consideration.

Nate Cooley


elliotglicksman
Posts:

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28 Apr 2014 06:29 PM
Elliot A. Glicksman
Law Office of Elliot Glicksman
145 S. 6th Ave.
Tucson, AZ 85701-2007
elliot@glicksmanlaw.com

I have been practicing in Arizona since 1979 and my practice is devoted almost entirely to representing injured crime victims. I am on the Advisory Board of the National Crime Victims Bar Association and on the board of directors of Homicide Survivors Inc. Without a modification to Rule 26 (b) (4), doctors will be extremely reluctant to treat patients injured by drunk drivers or gun violence for fear of having to take time away from their practice, and testify for a $12 witness fee. This ruling will hurt those that have already been victims of crime from having access to medical care. Thank you, Elliot Glicksman
krista.mccarthy
Posts:

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28 Apr 2014 11:51 PM
Krista T. McCarthy
FRIEDL RICHARDSON
19840 N. Cave Creek Rd.
Phoenix, AZ 85024
Phone: 602-553-2220
Fax: 602-287-9511
krista@friedlrichardson.com

Dear Justices:

I have read and support Petition R-13-0042 to amend Rule 26(b)(4)(C) of the Arizona Rules of Civil Procedure. It is imperative that treating physicians are reasonably compensated for their time testifying at deposition or trial.

We cannot expect professionals, whether medical or otherwise, to give-up half of their day for a mere $12.00. In fact, as a Plaintiff's attorney, the act of calling a client's treating physician and informing them that they have been subpoenaed to testify is difficult. Treating physicians are generally uncomfortable with the idea of testifying. After all, most physicians are only trained in medicine, not linguistics and certainly not the law. Since Sanchez, this task is unbearable as we must inform them that not only do they need to give up four hours that they could use to treat patients to testify under oath while an adverse party vigorously examines them, but they will likely only be paid $12.00 plus an archaic amount for milage for this sacrifice.

The reality is, if this Rule is not changed the public will suffer. Before Sanchez, many physicians refused to treat patients that have been injured in an accident as they do not want to deal with the litigation process. If this Rule is not changed, this epidemic will spread to others currently willing to treat accident victims, thus limiting citizens access to medical care.

As it stands, with every subpoena sent to a treating physician, a question is created: what amount must this physician be paid for her testimony? This question leads to creative questioning and gamesmanship on behalf of the attorney that subpoenaed the deposition, as it is financially advantageous to avoid paying for expert testimony. Petition R-13-0042 addresses these concerns and eliminates the questions that Sanchez created. It's simple, the rule must be clear and physicians must be compensated for their time in order to ensure equal access to quality medical care.

Sincerely,

Krista T. McCarthy
nancily
Posts:

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29 Apr 2014 10:57 AM
Gabriel D. Fernandez
016483
437 W. Thurber Rd. #16
Tucson, AZ 85705
520-293-6255
Fax: 520-293-3937
www.gdflaw.com


I am a personal injury attorney, and have been in practice since 1995. I have read all of the comments in support of Petition R-13-0042 to amend Rule 26(b)(4)(C) of the Arizona Rules of Civil Procedure and agree with all of them. Many doctors already refuse to treat accident victims because they do not want to be involved in the litigation process. The Sanchez decision can be used to further dissuade doctors from treating accident victims by taking away reasonable compensation for the doctor's testimony at deposition or trial. No doctor will want to treat an accident victim if they know they can be subpoenaed to a deposition, which will require them to take time out of their busy schedule, and knowing that they will only receive $14 in compensation for their time. Causation testimony from a doctor is an integral part of the litigation process. Taking away reasonable compensation for the doctor, thereby ensuring that the doctor will not treat accident victims for fear that they will compelled to testify for a pittance, effectively erodes an accident victim's access to the court system.




sreed
Posts:

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29 Apr 2014 07:11 PM
Steven L. Reed
O’STEEN & HARRISON, PLC
Attorneys at Law
1757 East Baseline Road
Building #3, Suite #111
Gilbert, Arizona 85233
Telephone: (480) 644-1558
Facsimile: (480) 644-1695
Email: sreed@vanosteen.com
Bar #: 006951

Dear Justices:

I am writing to support the proposed amendment to Rule 26(b)(4)(C) regarding payment to treating physicians for providing testimony about the care of their patients. The recent case of Sanchez v. Gama has changed the common practice that has existed since I was a new attorney in 1981 of compensating medical providers for their participation in the legal process. The change will disproportionately affect injury victims and their treating medical providers.

I have noted over the past 33 years of practice that it has gotten more difficult over time for individuals who bring injury claims to get appropriate medical care. I have had many clients who attempted to consult with a neurologist on recommendation of their primary care provider. They would call the neurologist on their health plan to set an appointment. The office staff would ask the client if they were involved in an injury claim, if so, they would refuse to set the appointment.

This shows the reluctance of doctors, even when they could demand payment for their deposition testimony, to treat injury victims. I fear that defense attorneys will begin taking a lot more of the treating provider’s depositions because they are not required to pay an expert witness fee. I foresee primary care doctors and other specialist refusing to treat any injury victim after they have been pulled away from their practice a few times to give testimony about their patients without compensation for their time. This will impact injury claimants and it is not fair to the medical provider who is often an unwilling participant in the personal injury litigation process.

The petition should be adopted.

Steven Reed
dsethi
Posts:

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29 Apr 2014 07:35 PM
Dev Sethi
Kinerk Schmidt & Sethi, PLLC
1790 E. River Rd., #300
Tucson, AZ 85718
dsethi@kss-law.com

Dear Justices:

Approval of R-13-0042 is important and essential to allowing citizens of this state fair and equal access to the courthouse and civil justice system. No other group of witnesses exists that so regularly offers testimony that is a mix of fact and opinion as treating health care providers. And not other group of witnesses is so essential to the fair and complete evaluation of tort cases as treating health care providers.

Treating them identically to traditional fact witnesses, a first hand witness to a car collision, for example, ignores the unique role treating health care providers play in the civil justice system and ignores decades of common practice throughout the state.

Even before the Sanchez v. Gama decision, many treating physicians in Tucson, especially in the important specialties of orthopedics and neurology/neurosurgery, refused to accept patients who might be involved in a tort claim. That is to say, even with the expectation of fair payment for their time providing medical/legal services, they refused to provide treatment. With the guarantee of no meaningful payment for their time, getting in to see a doctor has become even more difficult.

I have practiced in Tucson, in the area of tort litigation -- both plaintiff and defense, since 1997. Historically parties have cooperated and agreed to reasonable payment to treating doctors. That system has worked well and has been necessary to move cases to resolution.

There is no doubt in my mind that allowing Gama to stand without a rule change will have an immediate and irreparable effect on Arizonans. Doctors will refuse to offer treatment, but if they do, and they are then dragged into court with the promise of a $12 witness fee, the preparation and completeness of their testimony will reflect that. Justice will not be served.

I have read and considered both the petition and the Board of Governors comments. The Pros in this instance far outweigh the Cons.

Thank you for your consideration and action on this important issue.

This is not a hypothetical problem. It is really happening now in my community.

Dev Sethi


bdombrowski
Posts:

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29 Apr 2014 07:51 PM
Bonnie S. Dombrowski
2343 E. Broadway, Ste 112
Tucson, Az. 85719
520-622-2350
520-622-4543 fax
bdombrowski@jacoby-meyersaz.com

I am writing in support of Petition R-13-0042 to amend Rule 26(b)(4)(C) of the Arizona Rules of Civil Procedure. For justice to be fair everyone has to have equal access to the system. The current state of the law, as set out in Sanchez v. Gama, denies Plaintiffs the ability to ensure that their claims can be fairly heard since most doctors, who are generally reluctant to be involved in litigation anyway, have a further disincentive to be a part of the process. The justice system should not have obstacles that make it so an injured plaintiff cannot have the medical testimony necessary to bring his or her claim.

kpearson
Posts:

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30 Apr 2014 11:52 AM
Karl S. Pearson
4422 N. Civic Center Plaza
Suite 101
Scottsdale, AZ 85251
P(480) 820-1800
F(480) 707-5005
kpearson@pearson-law.com
State Bar No. 014594

I write in support of Petition R-13-0042 to amend Rule 26(b)(4)(C) of the Arizona Rules of Civil Procedure to ensure physicians are compensated at their professional rate for time testifying in deposition.

Since being admitted in 1992, I have represented countless injury victims. Prior to the Sanchez decision, it was hard enough for an injury victim to get necessary medical treatment. Many doctors did not want to get involved in litigation and would refuse to treat injury victims. I have had clients who were rejected by several doctors before they were finally able to get appropriate care. This problem will become exponentially worse if the proposed rule change is not approved.

I have litigated hundreds of personal injury lawsuits. In the vast majority of those cases, the defense was professional and agreed to pay the treating physician a fair amount for his or her time. I have also experienced situations where the discovery process was used to harass and abuse physicians who chose to treat an injury victim. Those situations were kept in check because the defendant would have to reasonably compensate the physicians for their testimony.

If the proposed rule change is not approved, I am certain that abusive practices will increase. As a result, it will make it even more difficult for an injury victim to get appropriate medical treatment.

I strongly urge the Court to approve the proposed Petition.

Jim Penny
Posts:

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30 Apr 2014 02:10 PM
James B. Penny
Law Office of James B. Penny, LLC
333 N. Wilmot Road, Suite 340
Tucson, AZ 85711
tel. 520.618.5386
fax. 520.437.0226
jim@injurylawyersaz.com


The recent appellate court decision Sanchez v. Gama, represents a fundamental shift in the rules that plaintiff and defense attorneys in personal injury cases have previously applied to the deposition of healthcare provider witnesses.

According to Rule 30(a), ARCP, depositions as a matter of right are limited to parties and experts disclosed as testifying witnesses. According to the comment to this rule, "Treating physicians are regarded as disclosed experts for purposes of this rule." The result is that a defense attorney has a right to depose every one of the plaintiff's treating physicians and does not need to demonstrate good cause. For more than 20 years, since I started practicing, the standard, accepted practice and procedure was that a defense attorney was expected to pay a treating physician that physician's expert witness fee when the defense deposed that treating physician. This seemed only fair; if a defendant had the right to force a doctor to set aside up to four hours from his/her practice, the doctor should not be compelled to suffer economic harm in the process.

The Sanchez v. Gama decision, however, created an artificial construct; a treating physician must only be paid as an expert witness when providing expert deposition testimony. When a treating physician is providing "fact witness" deposition testimony, no expert fee is required. This novel approach must be rectified because it ignores the realities that anything about which a treating physician may testify to that constitutes "fact witness" testimony, is inextricably intertwined with that witness's expert testimony. Moreover, a physician should not be treated as an expert witness when it comes to a defendant compelling his or her deposition testimony as a matter or right, but not treated as an expert witness throughout the entirety of that deposition, when it comes to compensation.

The petition submitted to this Court appropriately and fairly solves this problem, by returning to a long-standing practice that appropriately places the cost and expense of this discovery on the party seeking the discovery, not on the treating physician. As a result, I urge the Court to approve the proposed petition.
jridgehicks
Posts:

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30 Apr 2014 05:21 PM
J. Ridge Hicks
The Law Office of J. Ridge Hicks, PLC
3635 E. Inverness Ave., Suite 106
Mesa, AZ 85206
Ph (480) 659-2198
Fax (480) 626-6839
ridge@mesaaccidentlaw.com
SBN 017272

I write in support of R-13-0042. The recent developments in the wake of Sanchez v. Gama tilt the field significantly in favor of defendants in an unprecedented way, and a change to the Rules is appropriate and fair. Now plaintiffs must always pay a defense medical expert for deposition time, but defendants only pay plaintiff medical experts an expert fee if they were not also treating doctors before litigation - in other words, the vast majority of plaintiff medical experts.

For years most tort litigators on both sides willingly paid reasonable expert fees to treating doctors who were deposed. It was expected. Expert discovery is the most costly aspect of most tort cases. The current state of the law relieves defendants of most of this burden while continuing to burden plaintiffs and even increasing that burden, since plaintiffs who want their medical experts to review their file before the depo will still have to pay them for their time. Increasing the financial burdens of litigation to all plaintiffs while reducing the costs to all defendants is not in keeping with the stated purpose of the Rules of Civil Procedure.

Fairness also dictates that doctors should be paid a reasonable fee if they are taken away from their practice of treating patients for several hours in the middle of the day. Thank you for your consideration of this comment.

- Ridge Hicks
sevans@evansdukarich.com
Posts:

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30 Apr 2014 05:53 PM
Steven L. Evans
Evans Dukarich LLP
PO Box 14086
9885 South Priest Dr., Suite 104
Tempe, AZ 85284
(602) 288-3325
sevans@evansdukarich.com
AZ Bar No. 012998

I am writing in support of Petition R-13-0042 to change Rule 26(b)(4)(C), Ariz. R. Civ. P.

I have been practicing as a trial lawyer in Arizona, almost exclusively in Maricopa County, for about 24 years. My practice is focused on representing plaintiffs in personal injury, wrongful death, and professional malpractice cases and on probate-related litigation matters, including guardianship/conservatorship cases under ARS Title 14. I echo all of the concerns raised in the Petition and in the majority, if not all, of the comments supporting the Petition as those concerns relate to personal injury practice. I also am concerned, however, that the holding of the Sanchez case also could be applied in the guardianship/conservatorship litigation context, where medical testimony is used to establish or refute incapacity. In that context, the same concerns that make the Sanchez holding untenable in the personal injury context will increase the burden of providing due process to allegedly incapacitated people before a part of their personal liberty is stripped away by appointment of a guardian and/or conservator.

The Sanchez decision unfairly forces treating physicians to testify without reasonably compensation for their time. That unfairness ultimately will fall on the public. Despite the "higher calling" nature of their profession, physicians (like all professionals) are rational economic actors. There will be some rational economic reaction to the situation created by the Sanchez decision. That is, if a litigant compelling testimony from a physician is not required to fairly compensate the physician then that cost (the physician's lost time/opportunity) will ripple through the economic model and pop up somewhere as an increased price for the physician's services in some other area. In that sense, the Sanchez decision unreasonably and unfairly shifts the economic burden of litigation from litigants seeking to compel a physician's testimony to the public. The public will pay the price in the form of restricted access to and increased prices for medical services.

The Petition should be granted.
mark@breyerlaw.com
Posts:

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02 May 2014 12:25 PM
Mark P. Breyer
Breyer Law Office PC
15715 S. 46 St., Suite 100
Phoenix, AZ 85048-0439
mark@breyerlaw.com

Dear Justices:

Just as you can judge an individual by the way he treats others, you can judge a profession by the way it treats other professions. The purpose of my comment is not to criticize the court of appeals decision in Sanchez v. Gama. The court interpreted the current law as it deemed appropriate. Instead, the focus of my comments to is ask the Supreme Court to adopt this resolution to ensure doctors are treated appropriately. This resolution - or the failure to adopt it - will have significant ramifications for both the people of our State, the doctors in Arizona, and our court system.

How can attorneys successfully defend the fairness of our system if it requires treating medical providers to suffer unnecessary and significant financial hardship?

From a practical standpoint, failing to adopt this resolution will affect those who are injured - particularly in roadway collisions - and their access to medical care. For those needing anything other than emergency medical care, finding a doctor to provide treatment will become a challenge. For the treating doctor, it will not matter whether a lawsuit is brought. It will not matter who is at fault. Anyone injured in an automobile collision (or in any other encounter that could lead to litigation) will have a far greater challenge in finding a doctor due to the inherent risk of litigation.

The result of Sanchez v. Gama is that doctors can be called away from the operating room, medical offices, and clinics. The only decision many doctors will be able to make is to limit or completely cease to offer treatment to those injured in any situation that is likely to lead to litigation.

We have already watched the medical profession come under attack and we have watched the promises made to doctors broken. The financial expectations have regrettably changed for the physicians of our State that have put in the study and work to deserve certain financial compensation. In plain terms, we watch doctors struggle to simply make the money they deserve to make and were promised to make when they graduated medical school. The failure to adopt this resolution, I fear, will force many well-meaning surgeons to stop treating people in need.

Our trial courts will be filled with motions made by plaintiffs' counsel arguing over what questions count as expert witness testimony as opposed to lay testimony and what compensation ought to be provided. There will be difficulty scheduling doctors to get them to depositions to move cases forward.

It has been the custom in Arizona for as long as I have practiced - and likely in almost every state in the country - that if surgeons are called away from their operating rooms and the trauma patients that they serve that they will be accorded reasonable reimbursement. That tradition is necessary not only to ensure that people injured in Arizona can see the doctors they need, but also to make sure that we as a profession continue to treat the medical profession with the respect they deserve. And we ought to do what is right in this setting not only as fellow professionals, but because how we ensure doctors are reimbursed for lost time because they were willing to help a patient in need says something not only about how we view doctors, but how we ought to be viewed ourselves.


lincolncombs
Posts:

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05 May 2014 06:59 PM
Lincoln Combs SBA#025080
602-530-8022 | lincoln.combs@gknet.com
Gallagher & Kennedy
2575 E. Camelback Road, Suite 1100
Phoenix, AZ 85016-9225
Main: 602-530-8000 | www.gknet.com

I wholeheartedly support the Petition. The current rule, as interpreted by Sanchez , unfairly punishes physicians who treat accident victims and who thus are key witnesses in personal injury caes. Most states have a rule similar to the one proposed by the Petition that allows professionals who give their valuable time to assist with the administration of justice to receive appropriate compensation. This has been the system that has been in place for decades in Arizona and elsewhere, and which the Petition will return Arizona to. The Petition should be adopted in full.

111750dra
Posts:

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06 May 2014 11:18 AM
Donald R. Alvarez 006160
14500 N. Northsight Blvd., Ste 216
Scottsdale, AZ 85260
602-263-0203
480-686-8708 (fax)
dalvarez@alvarez-gilbert.com

Dear Honorable Justices:

I am writing in favor of Petition R-13-0042.

I believe doctors should be reasonably compensated for their time as had been the custom and practice in AZ for at least the 34 years I have been practicing in AZ prior to the Sanchez v Gomez case. As a result of the holding in that case, I believe we will see a protraction of litigation and increased litigation expense for injured Plaintiffs, as well as doctors refusing to get involved with Plaintiffs injured by the negligence of others.

The Petition should be granted.

Thank you.

Don Alvarez.

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