In a dispute characterized by the trial court as “ordinary people against nice doctors and [a] heartless soulless insurance company,” a successful doctor and his insurer appealed a judgment against the unsuccessful plaintiff that ONLY awarded them $3,539.75 for expert costs. The trial court was not persuaded by the “cold heartless” insurance company and the doctor to make the victim of the alleged medical malpractice pay them an additional $34,064.41 to compensate their out of state expert witness.
The dispute arose because an unsuccessful party in a lawsuit can be required to pay the costs (including expert witness fees, deposition costs and related expenses) of the successful party. See La. Civil Code article 1920 and La. Revised Statutes 13:3666 and 13:4533, which give the trial court great discretion in awarding costs as it may consider equitable.
Under the unique facts of the case, and recognizing the flexibility of the trial court in awarding costs, the Court of Appeal affirmed the trial court’s judgment because the defendants failed to introduce into evidence any documentation or testimony whatsoever to support the expert’s bills. William McDougald v. St. Francis North Hospital, 50-079 (La. App. 2 Cir. 10/14/15).
If you believe you have been the victim of a “heartless soulless insurance company”, call the experienced Louisiana accident and injury lawyers at Dué Guidry Piedrahita Andrews Courrege L.C. to schedule a free consultation.