Life Care Planner Excluded from Trial

In personal injury cases where the injured plaintiff alleges medical treatment will be required in the future, it is relatively common for the parties to hire “life care planners” to quantify that treatment.  There are two key steps to a life care plan.  1) What treatment is projected? 2) What is the cost?  Many life-care planners are not doctors.  They are instead health care economists, rehabilitation counselors, or other medical professionals.  Where the life care planner is not a doctor, the life care planner cannot take step one.  Instead, someone else must complete step one, the life care planner then performs step two.

That is what plaintiff’s life care planner should have done, but didn’t in Lologo v. Wal-Mart Stores, Inc.[1]  Dawn Cook, RN projected more than $3,000,000 in care.  “In creating this life care plan, Nurse Cook reviewed Ms. Lologo’s medical records and interviewed Ms. Lologo and her family, but failed to interview or obtain recommendations from Ms. Lologo’s treating physicians.”  Though likely qualified as a life care planner, “nothing in her education or experience qualifies her to diagnose an individual’s spinal injuries, state what course of treatment will be necessary for those injuries, or predict a person’s prospects of long-term recovery after treatment.”  Someone did not perform step 1, meaning Nurse Cook could not take step 2.  “Therefore, because Nurse Cook did not consult Ms. Lologo’s treating physicians in forming her long-term care plan, the Court finds that her opinions are based on insufficient facts or data and must be excluded.”

That is not the only time I have read of life care planners skipping step 1. Pay attention to the underlying data supporting opinions.

[1] 2:13-cv-1493, 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 100559 (D. Nev. July 29, 2016).