Excluding Defense Experts Wickizer and Partin, By Andrew Ackley and Garth Jones
By Andrew Ackley and Garth L. Jones
Published in the July/August edition of WSAJ Trial News.
For years, plaintiffs’ attorneys have routinely asked their opponents to admit the reasonableness of the amounts billed for an injured party’s medical and household expenses. And for years, the defense bar has routinely admitted such bills, unless there was a specific problem with a bill that warranted a denial or an objection.
In the past several years, however, the defense bar in an increasing number of cases has attempted to dispute the reasonableness of the amounts billed by a plaintiff’s heath care providers by claiming that these amounts should either be based on Medicare reimbursement rates or the discounted amounts paid by the plaintiff’s health insurer. To support these claims, the defense bar has primarily relied on the testimony of two so-called experts: economist Professor Thomas Wickizer and accountant William Partin. Fortunately, this year we have had three courts exclude their testimony on the basis that it would violate Washington’s longstanding collateral source rule.