Update on S.C. law to mandate state licenses for expert witnesses

December 1, 2006

A lawsuit has been filed against the South Carolina Board of Medical Examiners, claiming that a law included in the state's recently overhauled medical practice act is unconstitutional.

A lawsuit has been filed against the South Carolina Board of Medical Examiners, claiming that a law included in the state's recently overhauled medical practice act is unconstitutional. The lawsuit asks the state Supreme Court to permanently stop the medical board from enforcing the law that requires out-of-state physicians to obtain a license before serving as expert witnesses.

Already, the high court has temporarily halted the enforcement of the law, noting that it "has the potential to substantially impair the orderly administration of justice," reported American Medical News (10/2/2006). The high court has asked state legislators to reconsider the law when they reconvene in January.

Meanwhile, the medical board has decided to fight the lawsuit, which was filed on behalf of 36 people who are part of legal cases involving medical expert witnesses. The medical board says that the law's intent is to ensure that physicians who serve as expert witnesses have a state license to which they can be held accountable.