An IME "Should Not Be Ordered Simply To Allow The Defendants To Ask the Same Questions Asked in Discovery"

Reasons for judgement were released this week by the BC Supreme Court, Victoria Registry, dismissing an application for an independent medical exam noting the Defendant’s could have obtained the sought information through the discovery process.
In this week’s case (Foster v. Chandel) the Plaintiff was injured in a 2009 collision.  The Plaintiff agreed to attend a Defense medical exam.  Subsequent to this the Defendant requested a second exam with a psychiatrist.   The Defendant argued that this was necessary because “the plaintiff is taking the maximum dosage of anti-depressant medication; has been seen by a psychiatrist (but not for treatment); and is suggested [by her family doctor] to be suffering from a mood disorder related to chronic pain.“.
Master Bouck dismissed the application noting all of this could be explored through the discovery process.  In reaching this conclusion the Court provided the following reasons:
[18]         There is no evidence from any medically-trained person suggesting that a psychiatric examination is necessary or useful to either diagnose or treat the plaintiff. The plaintiff is taking medication in the dosage recommended by physicians with no suggestion of prescription abuse. The emotional symptoms are said by the medical experts to emanate from the plaintiff’s physical pain, not from any alleged psychiatric condition or disorder.
[19]         The defendants submit that the psychiatric examination may reveal other causes for the plaintiff’s anxiety and depression. It may also reveal the nature and extent of these conditions.
[20]         Such information can be sought at the plaintiff’s examination for discovery. A psychiatric examination should not be ordered simply to allow the defendants to ask the same questions asked in discovery but in a different manner and venue.
[21]         The nature and extent of the plaintiff’s pain disorder and resulting symptoms is revealed in the records and reports of the treating physicians. There is no evidence to suggest that a psychiatrist could offer a “better” diagnosis or prognosis on that condition.
[22]         The facts of this case have many parallels to those discussed in Wocknitz v. Donaldson, 2010 BCSC 1991. As in that case, the defendants do not have the necessary evidentiary foundation to support an order for “this particularly invasive form of examination”: para. 20.

Foster v. Chandel, Master Bouck, Rule 7, Rule 7-6, Rule 7-6(1), Rule 7-6(2), subsequent medical exams

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ERIK
MAGRAKEN

Personal Injury Lawyer

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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