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County of Los Angeles v. Superior Court

California Court of Appeal
271 Cal. Rptr. 698 (1990)


Alfredo Hernandez (plaintiff) sued the County of Los Angeles (County) (defendant), alleging medical malpractice. Initially, the County designated Dr. M. Anthony Verity, a board-certified pathologist, as an expert witness, and Dr. Verity prepared a report for the County. Hernandez had not yet designated a pathologist as an expert witness. Hernandez noticed the deposition of Dr. Verity. However, a few days before the scheduled deposition date, the County withdrew its designation of Dr. Verity as an expert. The County’s counsel informed Dr. Verity that his testimony may not be needed at trial, but the County wanted to continue using him as a consultant to prepare for trial. Hernandez’s counsel contacted Dr. Verity and insisted that Hernandez could hire Dr. Verity now. Dr. Verity expressed doubts, but Hernandez’s counsel was persistent. Dr. Verity met with Hernandez’s counsel and discussed the report that Dr. Verity had prepared for the County. Hernandez then designated Dr. Verity as his expert witness. The County discovered what had happened and moved for a protective order. The County also requested that Hernandez’s counsel be disqualified because he had viewed the County’s privileged attorney work product and could not unview it. The trial court denied the County’s motion and allowed Hernandez to designate Dr. Verity as an expert. The County appealed.

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Holding and Reasoning (Goertzen, J.)

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