"Cut and Paste Affidavit" Derails Defence Medical Exam Application

Reasons for judgement were released this week by the BC Supreme Court, Vancouver Registry, dismissing a defence request for an independent medical assessment of a Plaintiff in part due to the use of a “cut and paste affidavit”.
In the recent case (Mirzai-Sheshjavani v. Ho) the Plaintiff was involved in a collision and sued for damages.  As trial neared the Plaintiff served expert reports and the Defendant applied to compel the Plaintiff to attend an independent medical exam to obtain a responsive report.  The request was denied with the Court criticizing the supporting materials.  In dismissing the application Master Baker provided the following reasons:

[3]             The global response addressed the — I think the term used in some of the email was the “institutional litigant” approach of the defence. I agree in large measure with that. I agree just from the materials before me. Mr. Jiwa says there are too many of these applications, “these applications” being applications for defence medical examinations brought very proximate to the trial, often with short leave. He is correct.  There is no utility in my getting into an anecdotal review, but it has become quite common in chambers to have that application. Yes, short leave is typically given. Yes, the applications are heard, and I guess, yes, sometimes the applications are successful, perhaps often, I do not know, but it is becoming the case where a fair proportion of the short-leave applications that we hear on a daily basis relate to just this subject. His conclusion and his assertion is that this represents an institutional litigant who is, as he termed it, sitting on their hands until the trial date approaches. I do not know. I do not know whether that is the case or not. I suspect it may be because litigation is being driven by adjustors and not by counsel. I believe it may be the case that counsel are not being given enough latitude to exercise their professional judgment. I do not know.

[4]             It is not for me to tell them how to do their job, but that might explain a few things, but in the particular case before me, the affidavit in support — one of the affidavits in support — is by Dr. Hummel indicating why he needs to do a physical examination of the plaintiff and there is just absolutely no question that this is a cut-and-paste affidavit. It is taken literally verbatim from the affidavit of — I think it is — Dr. Reebye in one of the other cases cited to me – down to the punctuation.

[5]             The interesting paragraph, paragraph 9(d), where he says, “I understand that the plaintiff has been assessed by Dr. Heran and Dr. Kazemi…” — well, that was not verbatim, different doctors — “…whose reports I have not reviewed extensively, but sufficiently to determine that they noted the plaintiff’s complaints of neck, back, and shoulders causing headaches,” et cetera, on down to, “To properly assess his claimed injuries, I need to review the plaintiff’s history, accident information provided, and conduct a physical examination.”  These are all conclusions. He does not say, “Well, I notice that Dr. Heran did this or did not do this, performed this test which I think as a professional is inappropriate for the symptoms suggested”; no, nothing, he just simply says, “I need to look at this person,” and when he says that, he essentially, in my respectful view, says, “I need to do the same things Dr. Heran did,” but he just says that without giving us any reasons and, without reasons, there is no evidence, there is no requirement proven, and the application fails, but I also agree with Mr. Jiwa’s submissions that there is not a surprise here.

[6]             Yes, I can see the defence’s point, but I can also see the other elements and aspects of Dr. Kazemi’s report which, as Mr. Jiwa points out, says, among other things, he needs to be assessed for neurosurgery. Well, maybe you can say that is different than being assessed by an orthopedic surgeon, I do not know, but it is obvious that Dr. Kazemi certainly considered that a full understanding of the plaintiff’s circumstances would require further inquiry by another specialist and, in fact, the very specialist or physician of the same specialty that he considered who happens to be Dr. Heran. So no surprise there.

[7]             The application is dismissed.

bc injury law, Master Baker, Mirzai-Sheshjavani v. Ho, responsive opinion evidence

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ERIK
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When not writing the BC Injury Law Blog, Erik is the managing partner at MacIsaac & Company, based in Victoria, B.C. He is also involved with combative sports regulatory issues and authors the Combat Sports Law Blog.

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