Virginia Experts: Va. Sup. Ct. Rule 4:1(b)(4)(A)(i) – a Lawyer’s Disclosure

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Garrity v. Jones is a motor vehicle accident lawsuit pending in Circuit Court for York County, Virginia, No. 1341. Significant issues surround the adequacy of pre-trial expert disclosures by the defense.

In her First Motion in Limine, Plaintiff seeks to exclude the defense retained expert from referring to any Cincinnati Veterans Administration (“VA”) records because of them not being identified or even possessed at the time of her required expert disclosure by the defense. Simarily, in her Third Motion in Limine, Plaintiff seeks to exclude any use of Cincinnati, Richmond, Hampton, Roanoke and/or other VA records containing expert opinions because of those expert opinions not being disclosed in the defense expert designation as required.

The Virginia Supreme Court recently underscored the gravity of the expert disclosure requirement under Virginia Supreme Court Rule 4:1(b)(4)(A)(i) in John Crane, Inc. v. Jones, 274 Va. 581 (2007) writ denied 552 U.S. 1184 (2008) (copy attached). Craneupheld what the defense claimed was a “dramatic and unfair limitation of expert testimony” by Judge Peter C. Tench in Newport News. Id. at 591.

In Crane, nothing in Defendant’s expert disclosure or report referred to the disputed point of testimony objected by plaintiff. Id. at 592. The Virginia Supreme Court found unavailing defense arguments that plaintiff already was familiar with the topic and/or could have deposed the defense doctor. Id.

Such a rule would impermissibly alter a party’s burden to disclose and impose an affirmative burden on the non-disclosing party to ascertain the substance of the expert’s testimony. We reject this reading of Rule 4:1(b)(4)(A)(i).” Id. (emphasis added). See also, idat 593.