Howard v. SvobodaAnnotate this Case
Plaintiff sued Defendants, health care providers, alleging professional negligence. Defendants filed a motion to compel authorization of an informal discussion with the surgeon who performed the Plaintiff’s surgery. The surgeon was not named as a defendant. Upon Plaintiff’s motion, the district court issued a protective order requiring Plaintiff to authorize the surgeon to participate in the informal discussion but restricting Defendants’ questioning of the surgeon to his own treatment of Plaintiff. Defendants filed an interlocutory appeal. Meanwhile, the parties and the surgeon participated in an informal discussion. While the interlocutory appeal was pending, the case was tried to a jury. The district court allowed the surgeon to opine on matters other than his own treatment of Plaintiff. The jury found in favor of Defendants. Thereafter, the court of appeals proceeded to decide the interlocutory appeal and reversed the district court’s protective order, concluding that Defendants were allowed to ask the surgeon about Defendants’ care of Plaintiff and the cause of her injury. The Supreme Court vacated the court of appeals’ opinion, holding that the court of appeals lacked appellate jurisdiction over the interlocutory order.