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June 7, 2012

EXPERT WITNESS CERTIFICATES: CREATING
ACCOUNTABILITY FOR OUT-OF-STATE WITNESSES IN FLORIDA COURTS

 

This summary discusses the anticipated impact of the passage of HB 479 in the 2011 legislative session, which created F.S. § 458.3175, F.S. § 459.0066 and F.S. § 466.005. These statutes require physicians and dentists licensed in other states or in Canada to obtain a certificate prior to providing expert standard of care testimony in medical malpractice actions in Florida.

Obtaining an expert witness certificate is fairly easy and can be done entirely on the Department of Health website. The application only costs $50 and can be paid with most credit cards. The statutes require the Department of Health to approve any new application within 10 days of receipt of the application and fee, and a failure to act upon the application within 10 days deems the application automatically approved. Once issued, the certificate is valid for two years.

These new statutes allow the state of Florida to sanction out-of-state physicians providing deceptive or fraudulent expert witness testimony related to the practice of medicine, osteopathic medicine or dentistry. Prior to the enactment of HB 479, an out-of-state practitioner could only be subjected to sanctions by filing of a complaint with a state or specialty board that had licensed or certified the expert.

The new legislation is designed to restrain an expert witness who had not previously been subject to discipline in the state of Florida to refrain from "taking liberties on the stand."



Jennings L. Hurt III
Managing Partner
Rissman, Barrett, Hurt,
Donahue & McLain, P.A.
201 E. Pine St.
15th Floor
P.O. Box 4940
Orlando, Florida 32802 - 4940
Off: 407 - 839 - 0120
Fax: 407 - 841 - 9726
Cell: 407 - 760 - 9000
Email: bucky.hurt@rissman.com
www.rissman.com

 

JLH/BRS/smm/tsr

*This is a summary of an article that appeared in the Spring 2012 edition of the Trial Advocate Quarterly.