Thank You For Submiting Feedback!
Fed. R. Evid. 803(4) clearly permits the admission into evidence of what a patient tells her physician about her condition, so long as it is relied on by the physician in formulating his opinion.
Pursuant to contract, defendant caterer was responsible for loading and latching 500-800 pound buffets into the galley of third-party defendant airline. Plaintiff employee suffered back pain after attempting to move a buffet that had slipped and blocked an emergency exit. Plaintiff was examined by several physicians and eventually underwent a laminectomy. Some four years later, plaintiff brought a personal injury action against defendant, alleging that her injury was the result of the defendant’s negligence in placing and securing the buffet unit on the plane. Defendant counterclaimed against plaintiff for costs and counsel fees, citing the indemnity clause of its contract with plaintiff. At trial, plaintiff's expert witness was permitted to testify to the opinions of plaintiff's other physicians. Following a seven-day jury trial, a special verdict was returned finding defendant negligence, its negligence 100% responsible for plaintiff's damages, and plaintiff entitled to $170,000. A motion to set aside the verdict as excessive was denied; so was defendant’s attempt to press its claim under the indemnification agreement. Defendant challenged the decision.
The court affirmed the decision of the lower court that found defendant liable for personal injuries because sufficient evidence supported the jury's verdict and plaintiff's expert witness properly relied on medical reports under Fed. R. Evid. 803(4). The court noted that Fed. R. Evid. 803(4) clearly permitted the admission into evidence of what a patient told her physician about her condition, so long as it was relied on by the physician in formulating his opinion. However, the court remanded the damage issue because the lower court abused its discretion in denying a motion to set aside the verdict as excessive. The court reversed the dismissal of the indemnification counterclaim because the indemnification clause covered any suit that arose out of the loading of the buffet, unless third-party defendant was grossly negligent.