The Second Department, in this construction accident case, determined defendant’s were entitled to compel plaintiff to answer deposition questions about his alcohol and drug use:
“Although physician-patient communications are privileged under CPLR 4504, a plaintiff in a personal injury action will be deemed to have waived the privilege when he or she has affirmatively placed his or her mental or physical condition in issue” … .
Here, the plaintiff asserted … damages claims for future economic loss, including loss of future wages, pension, annuity, and health insurance coverage, based upon certain work-life and life expectancy ages. These claims affirmatively placed at issue the plaintiff’s health and ability to work, and the plaintiff’s work-life expectancy … . In making life expectancy determinations in the course of awarding damages for future lost earnings, juries are permitted to make life expectancy determinations based upon statistical life expectancy tables, together with their own experience and the evidence they have heard in determining what the plaintiff’s life and/or work-life expectancy is, based upon the plaintiff’s health, life habits, employment, and activities … . Hogdahl v LCOR 55 Bank St., LLC, 2023 NY Slip Op 04582, Second Dept 9-13-23
Practice Point: In a personal injury case, evidence of plaintiff’s drug and alcohol use may be relevant to life and work-life expectancy (damages).