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MD Blogs Own Med-Mal Trial

Trial blogs are becoming relatively common. But here is a twist: A doctor blogging his own medical-malpractice trial. The doc identifies himself only as Flea, and that is also the name of his blog: Flea: One Pediatrician's Perspective. Flea started his blog last year to discuss a range of issues facing pediatricians. The blog recently won an award as Best New Medical Blog of 2006. He first mentioned the lawsuit in a post last year, describing his service with the complaint one morning in 2002, two months after opening his own pediatric practice. When he finished reading it, he wrote, "I was quite sure I was being indicted for manslaughter." Later, as the case moved forward, Flea blogged about his deposition (here and here) and about Googling the plaintiffs lawyer and finding a PowerPoint she presented. With the trial now about to get underway, Flea blogged this week about the line-up of witnesses, his "dress rehearsal" with his lawyer and the start of jury selection. Here, he describes the plaintiffs attorney:

"Flea was able to form an opinion of the plaintiff's attorney (we'll call her Carissa Lunt). Attorney Lunt has not an ounce of fat on her body. Her features are sharp and angular and not particularly pleasant. You don't get a warm and fuzzy from her. She has no sense of humor. You know when you overhear someone chit-chatting and she tries to say something funny and it really isn't and nobody laughs? That's her. Attorney Lunt bites her fingers. In court. She's a finger-biter. Wonder if she's a pillow biter too?"

Risky business, this, says Eric Turkewitz at New York Personal Injury Law Blog. He explains:

"First, if his cover is blown and plaintiff's counsel finds out he has been blogging, he can be cross-examined on those contacts and advice that he wrote about, for the privilege disappears when the substance is discussed publicly. Second, by opening that door, he runs the danger of his insurance carrier disclaiming against him in the event of a verdict on behalf of the plaintiff, on the claim that discussing his trial prep hindered the defense. The man is, if nothing else, a risk-taker in that regard."

Besides the risk, there is the more vexing (to lawyers) question: If plaintiffs counsel finds out about the blog, should she use it at trial? While a lawyer's gut reaction may be yes, Turkewitz says it could prove counterproductive by driving away the insurer. "In this sense," he observes, "Flea shares a common goal with his nemesis: They both want the insurance company standing there in case of a plaintiff's verdict."

Posted by Robert J. Ambrogi on May 11, 2007 at 06:11 PM | Permalink | Comments (3)


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