As a result of the successful Mandamus proceeding brought by a team of Thompson Coe appellate attorneys, the Texas Supreme Court today blocked the growing trend of personal injury claimants challenging the use of counteraffidavits to controvert medical expense affidavits served pursuant to section18.001 of the Texas Civil Practices and Remedies Code. See In Re Allstate Indemnity Company, Relator, Texas Supreme Court, No. 20-0071, (May 7, 2021).
In the lawsuit, the plaintiff sued their insurer after being injured in an automobile accident. Among other damages, the plaintiff sought to recover medical expenses and submitted affidavits from several medical providers. In response, the defense served a counteraffidavit challenging the reasonableness, but not the necessity, of the medical service providers' charges.
The Court held that the trial court abused its discretion in striking the counteraffidavit, in imposing reliability and admissibility requirements on the counteraffidavit, and in prohibiting clients from presenting evidence. The Court also held that billing and coding auditors who use databases to compare expenses may generally be qualified to speak to the reasonableness of medical expenses. Lastly, the Court's interpretation of section 18.001 repeals the exclusionary rule first announced in Beauchamp v. Hambrick.
"This decision will have a significant impact on the defense bar's ability to challenge unreasonable medical expenses in any case where there are past medical damages," says Thompson Coe Partner Cassie Dallas. "Now, even without serving a counteraffidavit, defendants will be able to present an evidentiary defense to challenge a Plaintiff's 18.001 affidavit on reasonableness and necessity of medical treatments and expenses."
Thompson Coe Partners Cassie Dallas, Roger Higgins, and Gino Rossini represented Allstate with Ms. Dallas presenting oral argument.