Jackson v. Reid: Party Experts and Bases For Their Opinions

A new opinion out of the third district appellate court clarifies some evidentiary and witness rules at trial. The decision is Jackson v. Reid, ___ Ill. App. 3d ___ (3d Dist. No. 3–09–0512 May 24, 2010). It can be found on the Illinois courts’ official website at http://www.state.il.us/court/Opinions/AppellateCourt/2010/3rdDistrict/May/3090512.pdf

The case holds as follows:

(1) A party who is also disclosed as an expert under 213(f)(3) must disclose his/her research and publications reviewed, regardless of whether the material is solely relied upon by the witness in support of his/her opinions. Further, the opposing party has the right to fully cross-examine the party-witness on those results. The court makes clear that research done by a party-expert (whether to educate the party’s attorney or for the party’s own opinions) is not protected by attorney-client or work product privileges.

(2) A chart prepared by the author of an article which merely summarizes certain professional guidelines but does not state them precisely (word for word) cannot be admitted as an independent evidentiary exhibit as it does not represent the actual guidelines or industry standards authorized and issued by the professional society. In “Illinois, scientific and medical treatises are hearsay and are inadmissible as proof of the statements contained therein.”

(3) One cannot admit medical records as business records unless there is a witness who can testify that he/she is familiar with the doctor’s record-keeping practices, the records were made in the regular course of business, and it was the regular course of the business to make such records (per Supreme Court Rule 236).

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