An expert witness under fire
During the course of a clinical negligence trial, a defendant doctor (who was unindemnified) conceded, agreeing to pay the claimant damages and her legal costs. That would normally be the end of the matter, particularly as far as the claimant’s medical expert was concerned.
However, in this case the doctor started legal proceedings against the expert. He alleged that the expert had wilfully and falsely misinterpreted the facts and had thereby damaged the doctor’s reputation.
In fact there was an inaccuracy in the expert’s report, which stated that the doctor had undertaken a procedure that was actually performed by somebody else. However, the error did not affect the outcome and was not malicious as the defendant doctor suggested.
The expert approached MPS for help. We immediately instructed solicitors to acknowledge service of the Writ. We applied to have the action struck out on the grounds that the claim:
- disclosed no valid cause of action,
- was frivolous, and
- a report prepared in the course of a clinical negligence claim was covered by privilege.
The application was successful and resulted in MPS being awarded its costs of £5,000.