Shareholder Kansas Gooden is featured in a Law360 article titled, “Personal Injury, Med Mal Cases To Watch In 2nd Half Of 2021,” published on July 9, 2021.
The article cites two cases argued by Kansas Gooden - Younkin v. Blackwelder, case number SC19-385, and Dodgen v. Grijalva, case number SC19-1118 - as two of the top personal injury and med malpractice cases to watch across the country in 2021. The article states:
“The Florida Supreme Court will determine whether existing precedent has unfairly resulted in defendants being treated differently than plaintiffs regarding information they must disclose about their attorneys' or insurers' financial relationships with medical expert witnesses.
It has been nearly a year since attorneys for defendants in two automotive personal injury cases contended at oral arguments in September that the 2017 decision in Worley v. Central Florida Young Men's Christian Association, which shielded details of the financial relationship between a plaintiff's law firm and treating physicians, has "upended" the law in personal injury litigation.
Defense counsel argued that the decision has not been applied evenly to both sides, resulting in plaintiffs essentially using it "as a sword and a shield" — refusing to respond to discovery requests about their expert witnesses while seeking "a ton" of information on the financial relationships between defendants' counsel or insurers and their expert witnesses.
"If the jury is only hearing that the defense's doctors are the ones being paid and have a financial interest, that always starts the defense behind the eight-ball," said Kansas R. Gooden of Boyd & Jenerette PA, who is representing petitioners Steven Younkin and Brent A. Dodgen.
Gooden suggested the high court has three options: overturn Worley, hold that Worley applies to both sides' medical experts, or limit financial bias impeachment to what is laid out in Florida Rules of Civil Procedure 1.280.
The third option would allow parties to obtain discovery on experts regarding their employment and payment in the pending case, the percentage of work performed for the party, other cases in which they have testified within a certain timeframe, and the approximate portion of their work that consists of serving as expert witnesses.
Gooden noted the third option was favored by doctors who filed a friend-of-the-court brief in the case.
Mark Nation, an attorney for respondent Nathan Blackwelder, urged the justices to keep Worley intact.
"[Court precedent] makes clear that the discovery of the financial connection between a law firm and its specially retained expert for trial is relevant and it is not privileged," he said. "The trial court did not depart from the central requirements of the law."
The case was consolidated with a similar case that originated from a different district, Dodgen v. Grijalva.”
Law 360 subscribers can access the full article at Law360.com.
About Kansas R. Gooden
Kansas Gooden is Board Certified in Appellate Practice by The Florida Bar and is AV® Preeminent Peer Review Rated by Martindale-Hubbell. She serves as the firm’s Appellate Practice Group Leader. Kansas is an expert in handling all types of civil appellate proceedings, including extraordinary writs and plenary appeals, in state and federal courts.
Ms. Gooden is active in state and local bar associations. Currently, she serves on The Florida Bar’s Board of Legal Specialization and Education, is the Secretary/Treasurer of The Florida Bar’s Appellate Section, and is on the board of the Third District Court of Appeal Historical Society. She previously chaired The Florida Bar’s Appellate Certification Committee and the Section’s CLE Chair.
The FDLA recently awarded Kansas the Joseph P. Metzger Outstanding Achievement Award. This award is bestowed on the member who goes above and beyond over the course of his or her membership tenure. Kansas chairs the Amicus Committee, where she authors and co-authors briefs on important and high-profile issues before the Florida Supreme Court and other appellate courts. She has served on the FDLA board since 2016.
Ms. Gooden is a frequent speaker on appellate topics, including preservation of error, for both attorneys and adjusters. She is licensed in Florida (2008).