Wednesday, July 31, 2019
"Med Mal 101: Back to Basics" is 12-part series produced by Friday, Eldredge & Clark. Written by the attorneys in the Medical Malpractice Group, the content will be delivered monthly via email and is designed to give physicians and other healthcare providers information they need to know about malpractice litigation.
Part 8 of 12:
Discovery Basics
When a lawsuit is filed, both sides are permitted to investigate the facts surrounding the allegations in the complaint and any defenses. The discovery process is the mechanism used to facilitate this investigation. A party may serve documents called Interrogatories asking the other side to answer certain questions in writing. A party may also serve Requests for Production of Documents asking for copies of documents that pertain to the case.  
When a party is served with interrogatories and requests for production, he or she typically has thirty (30) days to respond or object to the requested information. [1]  If a party fails to respond or object, he or she waives any objection to the interrogatory or request and must provide an answer to the question posed or a copy of the requested document. [2]   

A deposition is another form of discovering information from a party or witness. Depositions may be accomplished through oral examination or upon written questions. The party or witness is placed under oath during the deposition and is sworn to provide truthful information, just as if he or she were testifying in open court. Every party to the action must be given written advance notice that a deposition is going to take place, [3] so that any party to the action may ask the witness questions. The party desiring to take the deposition may also serve upon the person a subpoena duces tecum . This document not only requires a witness to appear but also “to bring specified documents, records, or things” [4] to the deposition. Depositions by written questions operate similarly. The requesting party prepares written questions in advance and serves them upon every other party with notice stating the name and address of the person who is to answer them (if known), [5] and the deponent provides the answers, under oath, in written rather than oral form.

The discovery process can be complex and there are multiple factors to be considered in each situation where testimony is sought. These questions are best addressed by an attorney experienced in representing care providers. Whenever a medical care provider receives a notice or subpoena for any type of deposition, he or she should consult legal counsel.

[1] Ark. R. Civ. P. 33(3).
[2] Ark. R. Civ. P. 33(4).
[3] Ark. R. Civ. P. 30(b)(1). 
[4] Subpoena Duces Tecum, Black’s Law Dictionary (11th ed. 2019).
[5] Ark R. Civ. P. 31(a)(3).  
Medical Malpractice
The information was written by the attorneys in the  Medical Malpractice Group  at Friday, Eldredge & Clark, LLP.

This information is not a substitute for legal advice and should be considered for general guidance only. 

For more information, please contact one of our   Medical Malpractice Attorneys.
Why Back to Basics?
In a recent study published in The American Journal of Surgery, the majority of general surgery residents surveyed felt that they were not aware of resources available to them in case of litigation. [1]

This is an unfortunate statistic since according to the American Medical Association, one in three physicians have been sued at some point in their career, and nearly half of physicians age 55 and older reported having been sued. [2]  

With this series, we will provide medical personnel practicing in Arkansas with a general overview of the legal process. We hope to dispel some common myths and to aid in a better understanding of what actually happens when a medical care provider is sued for malpractice. 
These articles are intended to provide general educational information only and cannot take the place of experienced legal advice.

For a complete schedule of future articles, click here.
[ 1]  Beiqun Zhao, Luis C. Cajas-Monson, & Sonia Ramamoorthy, Malpractice Allegations: A reality check for resident physicians, 217 American Journal of Surgery 350-355 (2019).

[2]  Kevin B. O'Reilly, 1 in 3 physicians has been sued; by age 55, 1 in 2 hit with suit,  The American Medical Association (Jan. 26, 2018).
Med Mal Attorneys Honored in Best Lawyers 2020
Friday, Eldredge & Clark is proud to announce Donald H. Bacon has been named 2020 Lawyer of the Year in Medical Malpractice - Defense by The Best Lawyers in America.

Additionally, Michelle Ator, William Mell Griffin III, Bradley S. Runyon and Laura H. Smith were included in the publication's annual rankings released earlier this month for their defense work in medical malpractice cases.

Medical Malpractice Group

When faced with a medical malpractice claim, healthcare providers require respected, experienced counsel they can trust to defend their practices and reputations. The attorneys in our Medical Malpractice Group are devoted to the defense of physicians, nurses, practice groups and hospitals in malpractice cases, which provides unique insight into the complexities of this type of litigation. 

At Friday, Eldredge & Clark, we are focused on providing our healthcare clients with consistently talented, ethical and efficient representation before state licensing boards and in all stages of litigation though jury trial and appeal. 
About the Firm

Friday, Eldredge & Clark, LLP serves business, non-profit, governmental and individual clients in Arkansas and across the United States. It is one of the oldest law firms in the state and has been the largest Arkansas-based law firm for more than 50 years. The firm has practice areas focusing on General Litigation; Class Action and Business Litigation; Railroad; Labor and Employment; Medical Malpractice; Public Finance; Healthcare; Estate Planning and Probate; Employee Benefits; Real Estate and Commercial Transactions; and Merger and Acquisitions. Friday, Eldredge & Clark has offices in Little Rock, Fayetteville and Rogers, Arkansas.
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