Tatman v. Collins

938 F.2d 509 (4th Cir. 1991)


Monte L. Tatman (P), while in an automobile, was struck from the rear by a tractor-trailer driven by Collins (D). P was treated by Dr. Joseph Amico, a doctor located in Columbus, Ohio, for injuries to his neck, back, shoulder and head. Almost a year later, P was hospitalized with a cerebral aneurysm. He died on March 12, 1987, when the aneurysm ruptured. P sued D alleging that Monte Tatman's death was causally linked to the injuries sustained in the accident. During discovery, D took the deposition of Dr. Amico who testified to P's treatment and gave an opinion that there was a causal connection between the injuries sustained in the accident and the subsequent rupturing of the aneurysm. When a scheduling conflict prevented Dr. Amico from coming to the trial, P sought to introduce the deposition of Dr. Amico, pointing out the conflict in his schedule and noting that he was more than 100 miles from the courthouse. The court excluded the deposition because it was taken early in the case as a discovery deposition and the defense counsel should not be 'chargeable' with it. The court also concluded that the deposition could not be used because Columbus, Ohio, where Dr. Amico was located, was within 100 miles of the northern border of the Southern District of West Virginia, even though more than 100 miles from the courthouse. The court then granted D's motion for a directed verdict on the wrongful death claim. This appeal resulted.