LEO: Attorney Contacting Opposing Client's LE Op. 1042

 

Attorney Contacting Opposing Client's Treating Physician.

 

February 25, 1988

 

You advise that defendant's attorney made an appointment with plaintiff's treating physician while the matter was in suit and scheduled for trial in the near future. The appointment was made without plaintiff's or plaintiff's counsel's knowledge or permission.

 

You pose two questions relative to the above. First, you ask whether or not it is permissible for defendant's attorney to contact a treating physician of the plaintiff to discuss the treatment of the plaintiff and what the physician's testimony will be in court concerning the plaintiff's treatment and prognosis, without notice to the plaintiff or permission from the plaintiff. Your second question is whether or not it is permissible for the defense attorney to mention to the plaintiff's treating physician that plaintiff is demanding millions of dollars, and to misinform the doctor that the plaintiff was trying to get large amounts of money which is why it was necessary for the defendant to take his case to court as opposed to settling the case.

 

Nothing within the above described situations appears to violate any of the provisions of the Virginia Code of Professional Responsibility.

 

The Committee believes that the exercise of common courtesy would suggest that defendant's counsel contact plaintiff's counsel before interviewing the plaintiff's physician. The Rules of Court regarding discovery would control in this situation inasmuch as the Canons of Ethics do not address the matter.

 

Committee Opinion February 25, 1988

 

CROSS REFERENCES

 

See also LE Op. 1158, and LE Op. 1409

 

LEO: Attorney - Contacting Opposing Client's, LE Op. 1042 (1988)