Cross-Examination of Personal Injury Plaintiff Regarding Employment and Doctor Referrals Properly Limited

In Sehgal v., Inc., 2017 NY Slip Op 05990 (App. Div. 2d Dept. Aug. 2, 2017) – a hit-in-the-rear car accident personal injury case – the court held that the trial court properly precluded the defendants from asking the injured plaintiff questions about his employment by the law firm representing him in the action and his referral to doctors by the law firm. The court explained:

[T]he scope of cross-examination and the determination of the evidence which may be introduced for impeachment purposes lies within the sound discretion of the trial court and its ruling will not be disturbed unless there was an improvident exercise of discretion[.] Here, the Supreme Court providently exercised its discretion in precluding the defendants from questioning the injured plaintiff concerning his employment by the law firm which represented him in the action and his referral to doctors by the law firm, in an effort to establish their unsubstantiated and prejudicial claim that he was “working the system”.

The court also upheld the jury awards for future medical expenses ($505,050) and loss of services ($100,000) as not deviating from what would be reasonable compensation under CPLR 5501(c).

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