Have you ever caught a witness in a significant lie and you can prove it? In one of my cases the defendant doctor had revised his office records on important issues. He lied on his initial deposition about having done it. Then through other circumstances and with the assistance of a document expert we established the records had been added to and revised. The issue was what do you ask him either at trial or on second deposition?  Here are some ideas to consider.

  1. He wants to excuse his lying by saying he was afraid.  What did he have to be afraid of?  His fear was that he would be held negligent for having failed to advise the client, his patient.  He must therefore admit that if he didn’t tell her, he is negligent and he is liable.
  2. Why was he so afraid?  He can be negligent and pay his just dues and continue in this practice.  But if he is a liar, if he forges records, cooks the books, he may lose his license.
  3. If he had not been caught would he have come forward and admitted that he changed these records?
  4. So when did the doctor decide to tell the truth?
  5. What made him decide to tell the truth?
  6. Who did he consult with before he decided to come clean?
  7. At what point in this lawsuit did he decide to finally admit he lied?
  8. Why did he decide to come clean?
  9. Anyone encourage him to do so?
  10. It was only after the expert was able to say that the record was altered later that he came clean.
  11. Why do we believe he would have come clean if hispatient hadn’t gone to the expense of hiring an expert?
  12. Does he expect that his patients must hire experts to get an honest record?
  13. What does he think the patient’s medical record is for and how important is it?
  14. Should it be complete and impeccably truthful?
  15. If the record is incomplete or not truthful his clients can suffer?
  16. Which is more important, the care of your patient or the care of your reputation or your pocket book?
  17. If you hadn’t been caught you would have been willing that the patient go out into the world with a forged or altered record?
  18. I suppose this is the first time you have lied?
  19. How do we tell if you are lying now or if you are telling the truth?
  20. The jury, here, has to decide who is telling the truth, you or your patient. What advise would you give them to help them determine who is telling the truth?

About Paul Luvera

Plaintiff trial lawyer for 50 years. Past President of the Inner Circle of Advocates & Washington State Trial Lawyers Association. Member American Board of Trial Advocates, American College of Trial Lawyers, International Academy, International Society of Barristers, member of the National Trial Lawyers Hall of Fame & speaker at Spence Trial College
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