Reviewing Discovery Transcripts No Reason to Exclude Expert Report

Reasons for judgement were released this week by the BC Supreme Court, New Westminster Registry, addressing whether an expert report should be excluded because the expert reviewed the examination for discovery transcripts of the parties prior to authoring the report.  In short the answer is no.
In this week’s case (Friebel v. Omelchenko) the Plaintiff objected to the admissibility of two defence reports arguing that “it is improper to provide an expert with examination for discovery transcripts and then leave the expert to draw his or her own conclusions as to which facts should be used to support the opinion“.  Madam Justice Ker rejected this submission finding this practice in and of itself does not render the report inadmissible.  In reaching this conclusion the Court provided the following reasons:
[22]         A review of Dr. Sobey’s reports does not give rise to any of the concerns underlying the previous criticism of the practice of allowing experts to review examination for discovery evidence.
[23]         Dr. Sobey was provided with a set of factual assumptions. Those factual assumptions are set out in detail in his report and where further assumptions have been drawn from a review of the documentary evidence those assumptions and their source have been indicated. For instance, at times, Dr. Sobey makes explicit reference to those assumptions and one example can be found at p. 13 of his July 19, 2013 report where in answering question five, he states, “I have been asked to assume that Dr. Omelchenko was available by telephone contact”.
[24]         Moreover, where Dr. Sobey did make factual assumptions from the documentary information provided to him, those assumptions are also clearly set out. As an example, see p. 10 of Dr. Sobey’s July 19 report where, in answering question two, he states:
Review of Dr. Omelchenko’s chart revealed that he obtained the drinking history, evaluated the Mr. Friebel [sic] for current symptoms of withdrawal, and documented the period since Mr. Friebel’s last drink. Dr. Omelchenko’s chart did not comment on whether Mr. Friebel was using other mood altering drugs. I note from the documents and specifically the PharmaNet profile that Mr. Friebel had been prescribed the sedative medication, Zopiclone…
[25]         When read as a whole, Dr. Sobey’s reports leave no doubt as to the factual assumptions underlying his opinion. As such, the case is distinguishable from Sebastian, supra, and the trier of fact is able to properly evaluate and discern whether the factual assumptions have been proven in evidence at trial and what weight should be given to Dr. Sobey’s opinion.
[26]         The plaintiff’s application to have the reports of Dr. Sobey excluded on the basis that he reviewed transcripts from examination for discovery is dismissed.

Admissibility of Expert Reports, bc injury law, Facts and Assumptions, Friebel v. Omelchenko, Madam Justice Ker

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ERIK
MAGRAKEN

Personal Injury Lawyer

When not writing the BC Injury Law Blog, Erik is the managing partner at MacIsaac & Company, based in Victoria, B.C. He is also involved with combative sports regulatory issues and authors the Combat Sports Law Blog.

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