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July 2, 2019
By: Frank Scahill

How do you cross examine plaintiff's expert orthopedic surgeon when you discover the plaintiff has failed to reveal a prior accident and prior lawsuit, involving the same injuries as in your case to her treating physician?

Dr. David Neuman charged plaintiff's counsel $12,000 to testify on a Bronx Case, Ina Allick-Diallo, Maria Davis and Rahim Davis v. Wokary Dit Boubaca Ouonogo and Mohamed Diakite (300445/15), before Judge Donald Miles.

In what can be used by defense counsel as a template for cross -examination in this situation, Tim Jones, did a masterful job in highlighting the gaping hole in Dr. Neuman's diagnosis, that being the credibility of his patient. Dr. Neuman was walked through the importance of historical accuracy in framing a proper diagnosis, the lack of candor on the plaintiff's part, and finally, gaining an admission from the Doctor that his opinion could be flawed because of the failure of the plaintiff to give a truthful response.

Highlights from the cross-examination are below. The full cross-examination is worth a quick read.

  1. Doctor, I want to talk a few minutes about taking a history from the patient, okay. And you would agree that taking the history from a patient is an important component of the interview process?
    A. It's an integral part.
    Q. I mean, it's important?
    A. It has some merits.
    Q. The reason it has merits, in every one of your reports you didn't leave it out; you considered it important?
    A. I believe it's an important facet.
    Q. And if you're going to testify in court and give the jury an opinion on causation, in other words, whether or not the accident of July 24, 2014 actually caused her problems, you would want to know if she had any prior similar injuries, correct? Would that be one of the reasons you would ask?
    A. Yes.
    Q. So you asked her that question, didn't you?
    A. Yes.
    Q. And in fact, Doctor Joyce Goldenberg, your associate, asked the plaintiff that question on August 5, 2014. Did you see that in your chart? Take a look at it.
    A. I think, yes, August 5th of 2014.
    Q. Tell the jury what Doctor Joyce Goldenberg noted in her records with respect to having taking the history from Ms. Davis?
    A. She took a history --
    Q. Just the note. It says patient denies any prior similar injuries, something to that effect?
    A. Patient denies previous injuries or prior history to the involved areas.
    Q. And you just stated before on direct examination from Ms. Kim that you reviewed the IME reports of Doctor Buckner and Doctor Carciente, correct?
    A. Yes.
    Q. And they specifically asked this particular plaintiff if she had any prior similar injuries, did you see that component in the report?
    A. I believe so.
    Q. And she denied it to them, too?
    A. I think so, yes.
    Q. Were you aware before today, doctor, that the plaintiff had a lawsuit as a result of the 2002 accident?
    A. No.
    Q. Were you aware before today, doctor, that the plaintiff claimed serious personal injuries as a result of the accident which resulted in a prior lawsuit? That's a yes or no question.
    A. Probably no, right.
    Q. Probably not.
    A. I forgot the question.
    Q. Are you aware, doctor, that the plaintiff had a previous lawsuit for which she claims serious, personal and permanent injuries?
    A. No.
    Q. Learning that now and being a very detailed physician who qualified his opinion on making sure he had all the records in front of him, knowing this now, would that cause you to potentially change your opinion about causation on some of the plaintiff's injuries that she say occurred in July 24th of 2014?
    A. Depending on the extent of the injuries and the extent of the studies and care that she had, it may.
    Q. Now obviously, doctor, the plaintiff did not tell you the truth about her history, can we agree on that?
    Q. That's a yes or no question.
    A. Yes.
    Q. So the plaintiff was not truthful with Doctor Goldenberg as well, correct? That's a yes or no question.
    A. Yes.
    Q. She would have been untruthful with Doctor Buckner as well, correct?
    A. Yes.
    Q. So the plaintiff was also untruthful with Doctor Carciente, correct?
    A. Yes.
    Q. And if she's not truthful about it, it could cause you to give a flawed opinion on the issue of causation, right?
    A. It could.Read the transcript here


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