While the term “treatment” has a prospective focus, the term “diagnosis” does not. – Opinion. After an ER visit, Patient was left brain dead. Afterwards, his roommate asked a doctor if past cocaine use could have been a cause. At trial, roommate’s statement to the doctor was the focus of the defense case. The trial court admitted the evidence and doctors won. The court of appeals held the admission of drug-use evidence was error. The Court disagreed, holding that CRE 803(4), the medical diagnosis or treatment hearsay exception, applied. Statements offered to determine the nature, source or cause of a condition, which also describe medical history and are pertinent to the diagnosis, are excepted, as in this case. No further inquiry into roommate’s motives was required, nor was subjective reliance by the doctor. And, though prejudicial, the statements were not unfair. Doctors win.
Tag Archives: Hearsay
CTS Investments, LLC v. Garfield County Board of Equalization and Board of Assessment Appeals, 2013COA30 (March 14, 2013)
“Society doesn’t have values. People have values.” Milton Friedman. And property values are decided by people – specifically, assessors. One property (P1) could be valued less if the sale of another (P2) was considered. Assessor excluded the sale of P2, valuing P1 higher, concluding P2 was sold at a discount because the seller was compelled by economic duress, as reported in the news, and the sale was not “arms-length.” P1’s owner objected to the use of the reports and the conclusion that the P2 sale was not “arms-length.” The court of appeals held the reports, though hearsay, were admissible because a prudent person could rely on them. Sales under duress are typically excluded in valuations. The court, relying on the ALR, determined that “duress” means a seller not typically motivated, as was the circumstance with P2. Thus, the P2 sale was not arms-length and P1 was properly valued.
The “eggshell skull” is a memorable torts doctrine from law school. Less memorable is the apportionment of damages for aggravation of a pre-existing condition. Both address how to award damages to an injury-prone person. The former provides that a tortfeasor takes a person as they are, including pre-existing conditions, and pays for all damages caused. The latter provides that a tortfeasor does not pay for damages it did not actually cause, even if the person is already injured because of a pre-existing condition. The distinction is fine, but, as the court of appeals found, the difference is a tortfeasor pays for everything if a plaintiff has an asymptomatic pre-existing condition, but partial damages if he/she has a symptomatic pre-existing condition. The court also determined that disability benefits are not a collateral source and not subtracted from total damages.