Opinion 88-34
(October 1988)

You have asked the Professional Guidance Committee for advice in your inquiry of October 5, 1988. The inquiry was presented to the Professional Guidance Committee at its meeting in October. This will constitute the formal opinion of the Committee.

Your inquiry asks whether it is appropriate for you to engage as an expert in a medical malpractice action someone who will be testifying on behalf of the defendants as an expert in a totally unrelated lawsuit.

The use of an expert on behalf of a client who has or is acting as an expert on behalf of the defendant in another action does not raise an ethical question covered by the Rules of Professional Conduct. The Rules contemplate conflict problems with regard to the representation of multiple clients, or successive clients, or clients whose interest may be adverse to one another. Since the use of an expert does not involve representing more than one client, the Committee could not discern a situation where any of the conflict rules would apply. Rather, the Committee viewed your decision regarding the choice of a witness under these circumstances as purely a question of trial tactics.

In sum, the Committee has concluded that whatever decision you make regarding the use of this expert does not violate the Rules of Professional Conduct.
   

The Philadelphia Bar Association's Professional Guidance Committee provides, upon request, advice for lawyers facing or anticipating facing ethical dilemmas. Advice is based on the consideration of the facts of the particular inquirer's situation and the Rules of Professional Conduct as promulgated by the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania. The Committee's opinions are advisory only and are based upon the facts set forth. The opinions are not binding upon the Disciplinary Board of the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania or any other Court. They carry only such weight as an appropriate reviewing authority may choose to give it.