Virginia: Medical Malpractice – a Lawyer’s Risk

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Online on June 27, 2014, and in print on June 30, 2014, Virginia Lawyers Weekly highlighted Mr. Waterman’s recent privilege hearing order dated June 5, 2014, in “This Week’s Opinions” under the heading “Discovery Ordered for Hospital Risk Manager Notes”. His underlying wrongful death case is Rauchfuss v. Schultz, et al., No. CL1302754V-04 in Circuit Court for the City of Newport News, Virginia.

“In this medical malpractice case, a Newport News Circuit Court orders pre-service disclosure of medical charts and notes of the hospital’s risk manager regarding the patient and doctor in the case, including party witness statements and the risk manager’s handwritten notes,” reported Virginia Lawyers Weekly. It detailed Rauchfuss concludes the witness statement of Dr. Roger E. Schultz and 6 notes of Riverside’s Risk Manager as redacted for “mental impressions, conclusions, opinions or legal theories” under Va. Sup. Ct. Rule 4:1(b)(3) are “not protected work product and, if work product, are discoverable due to plaintiff’s substantial need”.

Virginia Lawyers Weekly continued re the Rauchfuss wrongful death lawsuit, “The court rejects that the statement of Dr. Schultz constitutes impermissible ‘expert testimony’ of a party against his will; and denies the oral requests at hearing of Dr. Schultz for further hearing about the court’s redactions of his opinions and mental impressions, and of Riverside for a protective order against using outside this case the redacted materials responsive to subpoena being provided to patient.” Defense counsel includes Kimberly A. Satterwhite, Dr. Schultz’s lawyer.