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Florida Second DCA holds that prevailing plaintiff in medical negligence case entitled to inclusion in cost judgment of fees of treating physician who provided expert testimony

On August 25, 2017, in Santa Lucia v. Diaz, No. 2D15-4901, the Florida Second DCA ruled that the prevailing plaintiff in a medical negligence case was entitled to inclusion in the cost judgment of the fees of a treating physician who provided expert testimony in his case. The plaintiff appealed after the trial court refused to include in the cost judgment any of the fees of the three treating physicians who testified at trial, as well as the fees of the two experts, Lawrence Forman and Dr. Hartley Mellish, who testified as to economic losses. On appeal, the defense acknowledged that the fees of the economic loss experts should have been included to the extent that they were reasonable and necessary. See Payne v. Spier, 562 So. 2d 440, 441 (Fla. 4th DCA 1990) (holding that the plaintiff was entitled to recover reasonable expert fees for a rehabilitation expert and economist). The defense also acknowledged that the fees of one of the treating physicians should also have been included because he was listed as an expert and provided expert testimony. See Field Club, Inc. v. Alario, 180 So. 3d 1138, 1141 (Fla. 2d DCA 2015). Regarding the other two treating physicians who had not provided expert testimony, the Second DCA concluded that the trial court had not erred in excluding their fees.