Court rejects injured man's appeal of trial judge's ruling that treating expert must produce peer-review privileged documents
Doctors and hospitals have secured a system whereby they can examine malpractice claims and other hospital "maloccurrences" through a peer review system that is totally private: the documents involved, the opinions expressed and the conclusions reached are confidential and even the victim and the victim's family cannot obtain copies of anything related to the peer review process. The material and the documents are, by statute, not admissible. Nevertheless, a Wayne County judge ordered David Wooster's attorneys to produce the peer review documentation of his expert physician before the physician could testify in Wooster's PIP action against Farm Bureau. The doctor refused to comply, apparently, and so Wooster's attorneys decided not to call him as a witness. The trial resulted in a "no cause of action" against Wooster, and he appealed.
The Court of Appeals held that since Wooster didn't provide the doctor's credentials, including the peer review information, to the trial judge, he could not object to the judge's ruling excluding the physician's testimony. Further, it held that since Wooster's attorneys announced they would not be called the physician, they had more-or-less waived his right to object on this basis.
The court also agreed with the insurer that Wooster could not admit into evidence the fact that Farm Bureau had paid other medical providers for care provided to Wooster: the court ruled that Farm Bureau's "settlement" and "compromise" with these other providers for the same injury was not admissible to prove that it should be liable for the PIP benefits currently disputed.