Virginia Medical Malpractice – a Lawyer’s Subpoena

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In the medical malpractice case of Johnson v. Riverside Hosp., Inc., No. CL00-29638-DP c/w CL01-30571-DP (Newport News Mar. 7, 2005)(Pugh, J.), defense counsel unsuccessfully objected to Mr. Waterman subpoenaing the corporate Defendant as a trial witness to testify through its most knowledgeable representatives designated by it in discovery. See¸ 3/7/05 Johnson v. Riverside, Final Pre-Trial Order at 2 and 5 (“Plaintiff is entitled to call Defendant through its previously identified Rule 4:5(b)(6) designated representatives” and even new “testimony…outside the scope of the new corporate designation is taken under advisement,” and subsequently was granted at trial). In Johnson, Plaintiff’s first several trial witnesses were Defendant, Riverside Hospital, testifying through its personnel.

“A litigants’ attendance upon the trial may be compelled by the issuance and service upon him of a subpoena …, as is the case with any other witness.” Robertson v. Commonwealth, 181 Va. 520, 532 (1943). Va. Code Ann. §8.01-407. Of course, common sense dictates it must be so that Plaintiff can subpoena the corporate Defendant to testify at trial; otherwise, Plaintiff would be precluded from calling the corporate Defendant in person to testify ore tenus, and instead would be limited to only a deposition.