Judge will consider opening ex-coroner's personnel file
The decision on whether to open the Mayo Clinic personnel files of former Olmsted County coroner Dr. Eric Pfeifer for court inspection was taken under advisement Thursday by a judge in Olmsted County District Court.
The hearing was the second in three months at which defense attorneys have sought to question Pfeifer's credibility as a witness.
Judge Debra Jacobson didn't say when she will make a decision about the request. In March, Judge Joseph Chase rejected a request for a new manslaughter trial for Joshua Dean Lee due to Pfeifer's sudden resignation after providing key testimony in that case.
The request to open Pfeifer's personnel file was made by the defense attorney for Adam Ross Brandrup, Lee's co-defendant in the 2008 death of Muhidin Mumin in an alley downtown.
Mayo Clinic attorneys gave details in court Thursday about a 2006 malpractice lawsuit against the clinic in which, they said, Pfeifer made minor changes to a death certificate at the plaintiff's request. Frederic Bruno, Brandrup's attorney, questioned whether the changes were "something tantamount to forgery." Mayo attorneys said they were "semantic" changes that did not change the conclusions.
Pfeifer testified at the malpractice trial about why he made the changes, and the clinic was found not negligent in the case, Mayo attorney Matt Hanzel said.
Pfeifer provided key testimony at Lee's trial about the exact cause of Mumin's death, an issue that probably will be an issue in Brandrup's trial as well.