In the last few years the Colorado Supreme Court has issued an opinion which has been treated very differently by plaintiff and defense counsel. In the case of Averyt v. Wal-Mart, 265 P.3d 456 (Colo. 2011) the high court concluded that it was not necessary for a party to disclose public records or information if they intended to use it at trial. The decision clearly addresses public records and does not invite litigants to expand that conclusion. However, in recent months I have seen defense attorneys try to argue that the Averyt holding stands for the proposition that they need not disclose witnesses that possess public information or expert witnesses that will offer opinions utilizing public records. This is far too expansive a reading of the decision and plaintiff’s should be ready to fight such an argument if raised in a personal injury trial. Defense counsel should not be able to elicit expert opinions from police officers just because they issued a report which is public record; or call a witness with knowledge concerning a public record who has not been endorsed.
The Averyt decision certainly created a new interpretation of the disclosure rules and how they apply to public records. From this point forward a party will not have to identify records showing building code violations or police reports but that does not mean that a building inspector who has not been identified can come into Court and give an expert opinion on the cause of an accident.
If you have questions or concerns about an injury accident case call Sisun & Scriven, P.C. (303) 377-8861.