ILLINOIS COURT SLICES CHIROPRACTOR'S HOURLY FEE
Very interesting decision recently handed down from the Illinois First District Appellate Court. Chiropractors aren’t going to like this one
In Montes v. Mai, plaintiff Montes was a passenger in a car that was struck by a Mai’s vehicle. Dr. Fernando Perez, a chiropractor with Neck and Back Clinic in Chicago provided treatment to the plaintiff. The defendant sought the deposition of Perez, which is routine in personal injury cases. Under Illinois Supreme Court Rule 204, every physician is entitled to a “reasonable fee” for time spent at a deposition. The Clinic advised defense counsel that the fee for Dr. Perez to appear at a deposition would be $550 an hour. Additionally, the Clinic required a two hour minimum. Defense counsel balked and offered to pay Perez $300 an hour. That offer was refused.
Somehow[the opinion isn’t entirely clear]the parties elected to have the trial court decide what the hourly rate for Dr. Perez should be. The Clinic submitted financial records to the court to back up the $550 rate. The trial court however, after review of the records, ruled that the hourly rate would be $66.95 an hour. The Court’s formula was pretty straightforward – the 2007 W-2 number showing Perez income was divided by 52 weeks. That number was then divided by 40 hours. Perez refused to be deposed at that hourly rate and appealed the Court’s order.
But Perez got no relief from the Appellate Court. The Appellate Court implicity endorsed the formula used by the trial court, but did note that “…myriad ways exist to fairly and reasonably compensate a physician for his time.” Additionally, the Appellate Court noted that the best approach is for the parties to reach an agreement as to compensation[meaning that Perez should have jumped on that offer of $300 an hour].