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Anita Pitock
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Good News About Confidentiality – The Attorney Work Product Doctrine in PA

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Barrick v. Holy Spirit Hospital Withdrawn. Good News!! On November 19, 2010, Pennsylvania Superior Court granted a petition for en banc reargument in Barrick v. Holy Spirit Hospital, 5 A.3rd 404 (Pa.Super. 2010) and the original opinion in this case has also been withdrawn.

As you may remember, this was a case of first impression. The original opinion has caused great concern as it required Plaintiff’s counsel to produce confidential correspondence, both letters and emails between Plaintiff’s counsel and Plaintiff’s treating physician, who had been identified as an expert witness in this medical malpractice case, during discovery pertaining to the expert’s formulation of his opinion for trial. The Court stated that it was "compelled to find that if an expert witness is being called to advance a party’s case-in-chief, the expert’s opinion and testimony may be impacted by correspondence and communications with the party’s counsel; therefore, the attorney’s work product doctrine must yield to discovery of those communications."