04 NCAC 10A .0612          DEPOSITIONS

(a)  Prior to a hearing before a Deputy Commissioner, the parties shall confer to determine the methods by which medical evidence will be submitted.  The parties shall stipulate in a Pre-Trial Agreement to the admission of all relevant medical records, reports, and forms, as well as opinion letters from the employee's health care providers with the goal of minimizing the use of post-hearing depositions.  The parties shall state all experts to be deposed post-hearing. The parties shall certify that the parties have conferred to determine the methods by which medical evidence will be submitted.  If there is a disagreement about the stipulation of medical evidence, the parties shall state the nature and basis of the disagreement.

(b)  When medical or other expert testimony is requested by the parties for the disposition of a case, a Deputy Commissioner or Commissioner may order expert depositions to be taken on or before a day certain not to exceed 60 days from the date of the hearing; provided, however, the time allowed may be enlarged or shortened in the interests of justice or to promote judicial economy, or where required by the Act.

(c)  The employer shall pay for the costs of up to two post-hearing depositions requested by the employee of health care providers who evaluated or treated the employee.  The employer shall also bear the costs of a deposition of a second opinion doctor selected jointly by the parties or ordered by the Commission pursuant to G.S. 97-25.

(d)  The parties may notice depositions of additional experts, and the costs thereof shall be borne by the party noticing the depositions; provided, however, if a ruling favorable to the employee is rendered and is not timely appealed by the employer, or the employer's appeal is dismissed or withdrawn, then the employer shall reimburse the employee the costs of such additional expert depositions.

(e)  In claims pursuant to G.S. 97-29(d) or cases involving exceptional, unique, or complex injuries or diseases, the Commission may allow additional depositions of experts to be taken at the employer's expense, when requested by the employee and when necessary to address the issues in dispute, in which case the employee shall state, and the Commission shall consider when determining whether or not the employer shall bear the costs of such depositions such factors as:

(1)           the name and profession of the proposed deponent;

(2)           if the proposed deponent is a health care provider, whether the health care provider evaluated, diagnosed or treated the employee;

(3)           the issue to which the testimony is material, relevant and necessary;

(4)           the availability of alternate methods for submitting the evidence and the efforts made to utilize alternate methods;

(5)           the severity or complexity of the employee's condition;

(6)           the number and complexity of the issues in dispute;

(7)           whether the testimony is likely to be duplicative of other evidence; and

(8)           the opposing party's position on the request.

(f)  The term "costs" as used in this Rule shall mean the expert's fee as approved by the Commission for the deposition, including the expert's time preparing for the deposition, if applicable.  The term shall include fees associated with the production and delivery of a transcript of the deposition to the Commission, including the court reporter's appearance fee. The term shall not include costs for a party to obtain his or her own copy of the deposition transcript, or attorney's fees associated with the deposition, unless so ordered by the Commission pursuant to G.S. 97-88.1.

(g)  Notwithstanding Paragraphs (c) and (d) of this Rule, the parties may come to a separate agreement regarding reimbursement of deposition costs, which shall be submitted to the Commission for approval.

(h)  If the claimant is unrepresented at the time of a full evidentiary hearing before a Deputy Commissioner, the Commission shall confer with the parties and determine the best method for presenting medical evidence, if necessary, and the party responsible for bearing associated costs.

(i)  If a party refuses to stipulate to relevant medical evidence, and as a result, the case is reset or depositions are ordered for testimony of medical or expert witnesses, a Deputy Commissioner or Commissioner may assess the costs of such hearing or depositions, including reasonable attorney fees, against the party who refused the stipulation, pursuant to G.S. 97-88.1.

(j)  All evidence and witnesses other than those tendered as an expert witness shall be offered at the hearing before the Deputy Commissioner.  Non-expert evidence may be offered after the hearing before the Deputy Commissioner by order of a Deputy Commissioner or Commissioner.  The costs of obtaining non-expert testimony by deposition shall be borne by the party making the request unless otherwise ordered by the Commission in the interests of justice or to promote judicial economy.

 

History Note:        Authority G.S. 97-26.1; 97-80(a); 97-88; 97-88.1;

Eff. June 1, 1990;

Amended Eff. November 1, 2014; June 1, 2000.