In Illinois it is well-settled law that prohibits defendants and their lawyers from communicating with treating physicians without the consent of the patient. In this case, plaintiffs sued five pharmaceutical companies in federal court where it was claimed they were injured by testosterone-replacement products.
In this multidistrict litigation case, one of the defendants, AbbVie Inc. requested that the federal court trial judge bar attorneys on both sides from having pre-deposition contacts with treating physicians of plaintiffs.
In the opinion written by U.S. District Judge Mathew F. Kennelly, the court, following Illinois law, stated that either side’s counsel may interview a witness and prepare him or her for the deposition by previewing the questions that may be asked, reviewing relevant documents and so on. There is nothing at all improper about this. Indeed, adequate witness preparation is a key of good trial (and deposition) preparation. In short there is no prohibition of pre-deposition of pre-testimony contact between a lawyer and the ordinary fact witness.