COLLATERAL SOURCE - CROCKER V. GRAMMAR
In Crocker v. Grammar, [Ms. 2090957, Sept. 9, 2011] __ So. 3d __(Ala. Civ. App. 2011), the Alabama Court of Civil Appeals reversed a trial court order concluding that ¤ 12-21-45, Ala. Code 1975, had been abrogated by the Alabama Rules of Evidence. The trial court reasoned that ¤ 12-21-45 was inconsistent with Rules 401 and 402 of the Alabama Rules of Evidence and, therefore, that it no longer applied. However, the Alabama Court of Civil Appeals disagreed and held that under ¤12-21-45, evidence of third-party payments of Plaintiff's medical and hospital expenses would be relevant to the determination of the appropriate award of damages and, therefore, was not in conflict with Rule 401 or Rule 402. The Court concluded that the adoption of the Alabama Rules of Evidence did not in any way diminish the effect of ¤ 12-21-45. Thus, a defendant should be allowed to introduce evidence of third-party medical and hospital payments made on behalf of the plaintiff and argue to a jury that the plaintiff's damages should be reduced on account of those payments. The Court also seems to suggest that pursuant to ¤ 12-21-45, the plaintiff may introduce all evidence of the cost of obtaining the insurance, and that the jury may hear evidence of the amount(s) listed by the medical care provider(s) as well.