The Physician-Patient Privilege in Litigation (On Demand Seminar)

MCLE Credits: 2.0
Ethics Credits Included: 0.0

MCLE Credit: 2.0 (Ethics: 0.0)
Live-Interactive Credit: 0.0
Designation Credit: 2.0 Trial Practice/Litigation (Designations Information)
Price: $149 (Includes a downloadable audio version.)
Viewable Through: 04/30/2025


A pre-recorded streaming VIDEO replay of the March 2022 webcast, The Physician-Patient Privilege in Litigation.

Course Outline

  • Understand the scope of the physician-patient privilege
  • Examine the parameters and limitations of disclosure during discovery

In most depositions of treating physicians, Virginia Code § 8.01-399 becomes a factor. Can it be a sword and a shield for the plaintiff-patient? Under what circumstances does the statute permit disclosure by a defendant doctor, or use by a doctor who is not a defendant in a case as a sword or shield to disclosure of testimony? The statute has been changed over the years—what is the impact of these changes and how can they be used to argue how the statute should be applied to testimony today?

Topics to be covered include:

  • What is the physician-patient privilege?
  • Who holds the privilege?
  • Is the privilege waived when the physical or mental condition of the patient is at issue in a civil action, or is its scope then limited?
  • What is the scope of the information that can be disclosed?
  • What are the limitations on methods of disclosure, and what methods of discovery are permitted?
  • What are the parameters of a treating health care provider’s deposition?
  • What are the parameters of a defendant’s deposition?
  • What contact may an attorney adverse to the patient have with a patient’s health care provider?
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R. Lee Livingston, MichieHamlett / Charlottesville
Heather Zaug, MichieHamlett / Charlottesville


R. Lee Livingston, MichieHamlett / Charlottesville

Lee Livingston practices civil litigation, personal injury law, medical malpractice, and defamation law. He served as president of the Virginia Trial Lawyers Association in 2017-2018. He is former chair of the Virginia State Bar Litigation Section Board of Governors and the Virginia State Bar Mandatory Continuing Legal Education Board.

Mr. Livingston teaches Trial Advocacy and Professional Liability Law at the University of Virginia School of Law. He is co-author of Evidence for the Trial Lawyer, a Matthew-Bender (Lexis) publication. He has served on the Virginia Supreme Court’s Appellate Rules Advisory Committee and Electronic Filing Study Committee, and the Virginia Model Jury Instructions Committee. He is a member of the Boyd-Graves Conference and chairs its evidence committee.

Mr. Livingston is listed in Best Lawyers in America and was named Lawyer of the Year—2012, Medical Malpractice, and Lawyer of the Year—2015, 2017, and 2019, Personal Injury, Charlottesville, Virginia. He is "AV-preeminent" rated by Martindale Hubbell and he has been honored for selection by Richmond magazine as a top 100 Virginia "Super Lawyer" and a top 50 "Super Lawyer" in Richmond, Virginia. He was awarded the Professor W. McKinley Smiley Jr. Lighthouse Award by the Southern Trial Lawyers Association in 2019.

Heather E. Zaug, MichieHamlett / Charlottesville

Heather E. Zaug is a partner at MichieHamlett who focuses her practice on medical malpractice litigation. She is a dedicated attorney, devoted to providing vigorous and zealous representation to every client in every case. For nearly twenty years, she represented healthcare providers in a wide variety of specialties in medical malpractice litigation, securing numerous jury verdicts and dismissals prior to trial. She has lectured on complex birth injury cases, particularly cases involving shoulder dystocia and brachial plexus injuries.

At MichieHamlett, Ms. Zaug devotes her extensive litigation experience to protecting the interests of injured individuals and their families. She is based in Northern Virginia, but practices in state and federal courts throughout Virginia, Maryland, and the District of Columbia.

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