Farm Bureau punished for "lying in the weeds" on experts
Laura Putnam-Wesener suffered a head injury, apparently, in a motor vehicle collision. She sued the other driver and she also had to fight with her own insurer, Farm Bureau, to collect PIP benefits. Ultimately, she settled the claim against the at-fault. In the meantime, Farm Bureau sought leave of the court to add as expert witnesses the neurologist and neuropsychologist who had examined the injured woman for the at-fault's insurer. The problem was that Farm Bureau sought to add the experts 18 months late, and the Court had already extended the expert witness deadline once to accommodate Farm Bureau's request to add expert physicians.
The trial court refused to allow Farm Bureau to add these additional experts just before trial, and the appellate court upheld this decision. Farm Bureau argued that it would have sought leave to amend its expert list earlier if the Plaintiff had supplemented her Interrogatories with additional information about "independent medical examinations" [IMEs] she had undergone in the PIP case. The court noted that she was under no duty to supplement this particular information, given that her answers were true when they were made. Further, Farm Bureau had not exercised due diligence in securing IMEs on its own or in identifying additional expert witnesses on a timely basis.