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Tag: Advocacy in the Guise of Opinion

ICBC Expert Witness Rejected for "Facile and Argumentative" Testimony

Adding to this ever growing database of case comments criticizing expert witnesses for advocacy, reasons for judgement were released this week by the BC Supreme Court, New Westminster Registry, rejecting the evidence of an orthopaedic surgeon hired by ICBC and providing critical comments about his courtroom testimony.
In this week’s case (Devilliers v. McMurchy) the Plaintiff was involved in a 2008 collision.  She sustained “a significant back injury leading to significant pain that has become chronic and likely permanent“.  The Plaintiff was awarded non-pecuniary damages of $75,000.  In the course of trial the Defendant called an orthopaedic surgeon who minimized the connection between the plaintiff’s symptoms and the collision.  In rejecting this opinion Mr. Justice Saunders provided the following critical comments:
[34]         I am not persuaded by the alternative theories Dr. Grypma put forward. In attributing Ms. De Villiers’ continuing symptoms in part to deconditioning, Dr. Grypma completely overlooked Ms. De Villiers’ ongoing exercise routine, which has led to a 90-pound weight loss. He also gave no explanation as to how the relatively mild degenerative changes seen in the MRI study could account for Ms. De Villiers’ chronic pain and its resistance to the various treatments she has undertaken, without the accident having been a critical factor in the onset of her complaints. To accept his changed opinion, I would have to find that the emergence of symptoms of back pain in proximity to the accident was mere coincidence. I am not prepared to make that finding.
[35]         Furthermore, Dr. Grypma’s interpretation of Dr. Schuurman’s CL-19 report as only demonstrating a Grade I soft tissue injury overlooked the fact that Dr. Schuurman clearly found it to be a Grade II injury; the second page of the CL-19 form has a ticked box next to the description of a Grade II injury:
Neck/upper back
musculoskeletal signs:
·        decreased ROM
·        point tenderness.
Dr. Grypma initially maintained on cross-examination that a Grade II injury classification requires both decreased range of motion, and point tenderness. However, he conceded that the Québec Task Force Grade II classification uses point tenderness as a clinical sign, distinguishing this injury from a Grade I injury in which there are no clinical signs. Attempting to defend his position that this was not a Grade II injury, Dr. Grypma then asserted that Ms. De Villiers’ injury could be viewed as a “Grade 1.5”. There is no evidence of such a classification being recognized. I was not impressed by this testimony.
[36]         Dr. Grypma contended that as patients waiting for hip replacements usually have chronic pain over two to three years prior to having surgery, and the vast majority of these patients eventually recover, there is every reason to believe that Ms. De Villiers will also recover from her chronic low back pain. I found this analogy facile and argumentative. Dr. Grypma did not claim any expertise in the field of chronic pain treatment.
[37]         Overall I found Dr. Grypma’s evaluation of Ms. De Villiers to be ill-considered and superficial, and I give no weight to his evidence.

Defendant Stripped of Costs For Expert Witness Advocacy

Reasons for judgement were released this week by the BC Supreme Court, New Westminster Registry, stripping Defendants of significant trial costs they otherwise would have been entitled to as a result of relying on an expert witness who crossed the line into advocacy.
In this week’s case (Jampolsky v. Shattler) the Plaintiff was involved in 4 collisions.  He alleged he sustained a traumatic brain injury and sought damages exceeding one million dollars at trial.  The Court rejected the brain injury claim and found that the Plaintiff sustained modest injuries awarding $15,000 in total damages.  Prior to trial ICBC made a formal offer of settlement of $125,000.   ICBC sought costs from the time of the offer onward. Mr. Justice Harvey held that normally such an order was appropriate but because of the Defendant’s expert witness’ evidence at trial which crossed into advocacy and further due to the Defendant lawyer’s conduct in the course of a mid-trial application, the Defendant should be stripped of their post offer costs.  In coming to this conclusion the Court provided the following reasons:
[72]         As  earlier observed, but for the matter of the conduct of defendants’ counsel in the application for withdrawal of the admission and my findings concerning the evidence of Dr. Rees, I would have made an order under Rule 9-5(d) awarding the defendants costs in respect of the proceeding after the date of delivery of the offer to settle.
[73]         The degree to which the evidence of Dr. Rees crossed the boundary from expert opinion into advocacy is a matter which rests at the feet of the defendants. He was their witness and the defendants assume responsibility for his conduct. The Rules require experts to certify that they will prepare their reports and provide testimony in accordance with their duty to assist the court and not assume the role of advocate:Jayetileke, supra.
[74]         In LeClair v. Mibrella Inc., 2011 BCSC 533, Voith J. reduced the amount of costs payable to a successful defendant by 50% to make clear to the defendant that its conduct, in certain respects, was improper. The rebuke in costs was to signal the court’s expectation that parties will expect in a manner that is consistent with the Rules of Court.
[75]         Here, similar to LeClair, I find that the conduct of the defendants, both through the actions of their counsel, Mr. Robinson, and in an expert called on their behalf, Dr. Rees, was sufficiently outside the boundaries of expected behaviour to warrant rebuke via a denial of costs to which the defendants would otherwise be entitled.
[76]         In the circumstances, despite the September Offer and the defendants’ success on the issue of whether the plaintiff suffered an MTBI as a result of any of the four accidents, it is appropriate to deny the defendants the costs of trial leaving intact the plaintiff’s entitlement to costs up to and including the date of the offer to settle but no costs thereafter.

ICBC Expert Evidence Rejected for Advocacy

Adding to this site’s archived posts highlighting judicial criticism of expert witness advocacy, reasons for judgement were released this week by the BC Supreme Court, Vernon Registry, rejecting the opinion of an ICBC retained expert in a chronic pain case.
In this week’s case (Dakin v. Roth) the Plaintiff was injured in three separate collisions.  At trial she introduced evidence from a variety of medical experts including an occupational therapist.  ICBC retained an expert who criticised this evidence.  The Court, however, was ultimately critical of ICBC’s rebuttal expert’s opinion finding it was not “fair, balanced or objective“.  In rejecting the rebuttal evidence Mr. Justice Cole provided the following reasons:
[38]         What is most disturbing about Ms. Taylor’s report is that she describes what she says are discrepancies in Ms. Dakin’s reports to various medical professionals at various points in time. She then lists approximately 1½ pages of these discrepancies and states that it was appropriate for her to make these comments as they were relevant in assessing a client’s reliability. When questioned why she also did not highlight the consistencies within the plaintiff’s reports to other medical professionals, she could not provide a rational answer. I am satisfied that the only reason she provided discrepancies in the plaintiff’s reports to other medical professionals was to attack the plaintiff’s credibility. Her evidence was not fair, balanced or objective, I am satisfied that Ms. Taylor was more of an advocate on behalf of a client. I therefore reject her evidence.

It Is Not Appropriate to Order a Medical Exam By An Expert Who previously "Bordered on Advocacy"

In my continued efforts to track judicial comments addressing expert witness advocacy, reasons for judgement were released last week by the BC Supreme Court, Cranbrook Registry, dismissing an application for a defence medical exam where the proposed examiner wrote a previous report that, in the Court’s view, “border(ed) on advocacy“.
In last week’s case (Moll v. Parmar) the Defendant sought to have the Plaintiff examined by a neuropsychologist.  Prior to the proposed exam the doctor wrote a “very vigorous critique” relating to the Plaintiff’s expert’s conclusions.  The Court held that, in such circumstances, it is “not appropriate for the court to order a medical examination…by an expert who has previously taken such a strong stance“.
In dismissing this application Mr. Justice Meiklem provided the following reasons:
[13]         Turning first to the Master’s errors alleged by the appellant, I initially gave rather short shrift to Mr. Harris’ submission that Drs. Craig and Williams had been recruited as advocates for the defence by virtue of the nature of the defence requests to them and the nature and content of their reports, that they should be viewed as lacking the necessary objectivity to warrant being appointed by the court to conduct IMEs of the plaintiff. After considering the retainer letters and the reports of Drs. Williams and Craig, I see considerable merit in the appellant’s argument with respect to Dr. Williams’ compromised objectivity. The circumstances in respect of Dr. Craig’s report are somewhat different.
[14]         The appellant’s concern was not only the advocacy bias apprehended by the plaintiff, but also the bias concerning the plaintiff’s condition that was already demonstrated by the roles these experts were retained for and the reports they had already delivered. He considered it highly improbable and purely theoretical that either of these specialists would be able to change any previously expressed views after their examinations of the plaintiff.
[15]         Dr. Williams’ report emanated from a retainer letter wherein the pertinent paragraph stated simply that Mr. Moll was advancing a claim for a head injury in a highway collision and then stated: “I ask that you please kindly review the enclosed report of Dr. Jeffrey Martzke dated May 1, 2012, together with the enclosed documentation set out in the attached schedule “A”, with a view to discussing Mr. Moll’s claim with me.” The letter promised to forward Dr. Martzke’s raw test data, which was forwarded in due course and reviewed by Dr. Williams.
[16]         Dr. Williams described the purpose of his report as responding to the reports of Dr. Martzke and Dr. Wallace (the plaintiff’s vocational consultant) and he said he limited his comments to aspects pertaining to the methods, procedures and process of the reports, as well as the sufficiency of the conclusions recommendations or diagnoses of Drs. Martzke and Wallace.
[17]         Dr. Williams’ report is, however, a very rigorous critique of Dr. Martzke’s methods and testing, as well as his conclusions, and in my view does at least border on advocacy, as argued by Mr. Harris. Dr. Williams’ criticisms of Dr. Martzke’s report and findings may well be found to be completely correct, and my comments will not fetter the trial judge’s rulings if the report is tendered, but I do not think it is appropriate for the court to order a medical examination of a plaintiff by an expert who has previously taken such a strong stance in accepting the role as a reviewer of a previous examiner’s report, particularly in view of the specific provisions of Rule 11-2(1) of the Civil Rules.

Court Considers It "Unsafe" To Rely on Defence Doctor's Opinion In Chronic Headache Case

In my continued efforts to highlight judicial scrutiny of expert testimony in BC injury litigation, reasons for judgement were released this week by the BC Supreme Court, Nanaimo Registry, finding an expert “displayed a somewhat compromised objectivity” and that it was “unsafe” to rely on his opinion.
In this week’s case (Smith v. Moshrefzadeh) the 54 year old plaintiff was injured in a rear end collision in 2008.  As a result she suffered from soft tissue injuries to her neck and shoulders which caused chronic headaches.  At trial the Defendant produced an orthopaedic surgeon who provided opinion evidence that the probability that the crash resulted in the chronic symptoms was “negligible“.  Madam Justice Dardi did not accept this evidence and provided the following critical comments:
[62]         I accept the opinions of Dr. Helper, Dr. Robinson and Dr. Craig and, where they differed, I prefer their opinions to that of Dr. Wahl.  I found each of Dr. Robinson, Dr. Helper, and Dr. Craig, who are very well-qualified and experienced practitioners, to be careful and fair-minded in their testimony.  Their opinions, without exception, were not weakened in cross-examination.  Each of the doctors persuasively discounted Dr. Wahl’s opinion that the degeneration of Ms. Smith’s cervical spine shown on her x-rays is the cause of her current symptoms.  While Dr. Wahl is no doubt a well-qualified orthopaedic surgeon, his practice is focused on the surgical management, not the medical management, of the spine.  Dr. Wahl clearly had not reviewed Ms. Smith’s medical records as carefully as the other expert witnesses and as I mentioned earlier his report was predicated on a misconception as to the timing  of the onset of Ms. Smith’s symptoms.  Given the significant concessions he made in cross-examination and the Court’s impression that he displayed a somewhat compromised objectivity in preparing his report, I consider it unsafe to rely on his opinion.
In assessing non-pecuniary damages at $80,000 the court provided the following reasons:
[65]         In summary on this point, Ms. Smith’s chronic headaches and neck and upper back pain and discomfort which were caused by the accident have persisted for some three and a half years.  She experiences episodic flare-ups.  The pain fluctuates in intensity and is aggravated by physical activity.  Ms. Smith’s symptoms are exacerbated by the physical demands of the commercial salmon and herring fisheries.  She can no longer engage in the prawn fishery.  She has constant and daily headaches which vary in intensity.  The headaches are usually of a mild to moderate severity, but at least a few times per week they become severe enough that she needs to rest in a quiet environment.  For the most part, however, even though she describes feeling like she is “hanging on by a thread”, she forces herself to carry on with her fishing work and with maintaining her household routines and family life.  In order to carry on, she takes prescription medication on a daily basis.
[66]         There is a possibility that, by undertaking the treatments recommended by the specialists who testified at trial, Ms. Smith will experience some improvement in her symptoms and will be able to manage her pain and discomfort more effectively.  However, I find that it is unlikely that she will make a full recovery to her pre-accident status…
[76]         I have reviewed all of the authorities provided by both counsel.  Although the cases are instructive, I do not propose to review them in detail as they only provide general guidelines.  In broad terms, the cases relied upon by the defence involve plaintiffs with symptoms that had significantly improved by trial.  In considering Ms. Smith’s particular circumstances, I conclude that a fair and reasonable award for non-pecuniary damages is $80,000.

Defence Expert Criticized; $60,000 Non-Pecuniary Assessment for Lingering STI's and PTSD

Unreported reasons for judgement were recently released by the BC Supreme Court, Nanaimo Registry, addressing damages for “chronic, but not disabling” soft tissue injuries and post-traumatic stress arising from a motor vehicle collision.
In the recent case (Pitts v. Martin) the Plaintiff was injured in a 2008 collision.  Fault was admitted by the Defendant.  The extent of the Plaintiff’s damages were at issue.  As is common in personal injury litigation, the Defendant produced an expert witness who provided evidence disagreeing with the Plaintiff’s physician as to the extent of the ongoing injuries and their connection to the collision.  Mr. Justice Dley was not receptive to this evidence preferring the Plaintiff’s treating physicians.  In rejecting the Defendant’s expert Mr. Justice Dley provided the following criticism:
[31]  Dr. Dommisse provided an opinion that confirms the soft tissue injury.  However, he opines that stress aggravates the physical injuries and that with proper counselling the stress would ease off; that would improve the physical injuries.  Dr. Dommisse agreed that the stress affectibng Ms. Pitts resulted from the collision.
[32]  His opinion ignores the fact that Ms. Pitts has had counselling and that she has been provided with coping techniques.  Dr. Dommisse was not critical of the counselling that had been provided and deferred that aspect of the injuries to the counsellors who had previously treated Ms. Pitts.
[33]   His opinion failed to consider that Ms. Pitts required some assistance at work.  He conceded that to be a significant factor.
[34]  Dr. Dommisse noted muscle spasm in the trapezius muscle.  However, in his opinion as to whether the collision caused Ms. Pitts’ disabilities, he did not include any reference to the spasms.  Instead, he referred to Ms. Pitts’ complaints as being subjective.  He did not provide a satisfactory answer as to why such an objective symptom would have been left out of his analysis.
[35]  Dr. Dommisse failed to consider the fact that Ms. Pitts suffers pain and discomfort from some of her work-related activities, particularly heavy lifting.  Those symptoms are brought on without any stress.  That significant omission from his report destroys any reliability that might be attached to his opinion that “it is unlikely that Ms. Pitts’ current disabilities were caused by the accident”.
[36]  Dr. Dommise commented that counselling from Ms. Pitts’ stress and anxiety will likely improve her symptoms.  His evidence did not provide any basis for that opinion to be reliable.  It ignores the reality that counselling has already been provided and there is no suggestion that the treatment was in any way lacking.  I am not satisfied that any further counselling is likely to resolve or further improve Ms. Pitts’ present condition.
In assessing non-pecuniary damages at $60,000 Mr. Justice Dley provided the following reasons:
[47]  It is now four years post-accident.  Ms. Pitts has been diligent in pursuing rehabilitation measures.  Ms. Pitts still has some lingering injuries – they are chronic, but not disabling.  Ms. Pitts can carry on with her everyday life and work, but she has limitations because she must be careful so as not to aggravate her injuries.  She continues to suffer from the post-traumatic stress of the collision.  She has learned coping techniques, but that has not eliminated the disorder.
[48]  Taking into account the injuries sustained and the impact they have had and will continue to have, I assess general damages at $60,000.
As noted this judgement is not reported therefore not publicly available.  As always, I’m happy to provide a copy to anyone who contacts me and requests one.

Expert Report Excluded for Tardiness and Credibility Comments

A short but useful analysis was set out in reasons for judgement released this week by the BC Supreme Court, Vancouver Registry, addressing the admissibility of a tardy expert report.
In the recent case (Stanikzai v. Bola) the Plaintiff was injured in a 2007 collision.  In the course of the claim the Defendant served a medical report but did so out of the time required by Rule 11-6(3).  Mr. Justice Smith declined to exercise his discretion to admit the report under Rule 11-7(6) finding that the report “would not be of assistance in any event” noting the expert’s opinion improperly delves into credibility.  Mr. Justice Smith provided the following reasons:

[28] The opinions of Dr. Caillier and Dr. Yu are not contradicted by any other medical opinion. At trial, the defendant sought to enter a medical report from an orthopedic surgeon, Dr. Ponsford, that had not been served within the 84 day notice period required by Rule 11-6(3). I declined to exercise my discretion to shorten the required notice period and admit the report, largely because I found it would not be of assistance in any event.

[29] The essence of Dr. Ponsford’s opinion was that he was unable to provide a firm medical opinion because of what he regarded as inconsistencies and contradictions within the plaintiff’s history. Credibility is, of course, a matter for the court, not the expert witness.

Defence Expert Opinion Rejected for "Compromised Objectivity"

As previously discussed, the law in BC provides expert witnesses with immunity when they provide negligent opinions in the medico-legal context.  This gap in the law is unfortunate and has been done away with in the UK.  Unless BC follows suit, the only meaningful avenue in discouraging “advocate” expert evidence is judicial rebuke.
To this end I have been highlighting judicial criticism when it arises with respect to expert opinion evidence.  Adding to this collection are reasons for judgement released this week by the BC Supreme Court, Vancouver Registry, dismissing an expert’s opinion concluding it would be “unsafe for the Court to put any stock in his opinion“.
In this week’s case (Sooch v. Snell) the Plaintiff was involved in a 2006 collision in Kelowna, BC.   He sustained soft tissue injuries to his neck and shoulder and was awarded $45,000 for his non-pecuniary damages.  In the course of the lawsuit the Defendant had the Plaintiff examined by a retired orthopaedic surgeon.  This doctor testified at trial and provided an opinion that it was “unlikely that there was any direct injury to the cervical spine or shoulder at the time of the injury“.
After cross examination the Court was unimpressed with this experts opinion.  In rejecting this expert’s evidence Madam Justice Ballance provided the following criticism:

54] Dr. Christian retired from his practice as an orthopaedic surgeon in 2005.  Since then, he has focussed his practice on disability evaluation.

[55] Dr. Christian conducted an independent medical examination of Mr. Sooch on March 18, 2010.  He spent between 45 and 55 minutes assessing Mr. Sooch.  He did not keep detailed notes, preferring instead to occasionally jot down a point or two and then dictate his findings and opinion immediately after the examination…

[60] It is obvious on the face of Dr. Christian’s report that in reaching his conclusion on causation, he relied heavily on this misconception as to the timing of Mr. Sooch’s medical appointment on the day of the Accident.  Yet, after he became aware that Mr. Sooch had actually gone to the medical clinic some hours before the Accident had taken place, he denied placing any importance on his mistaken belief.  He insisted that it was not in his “consciousness”, and was of marginal importance, if any, and maintained that knowledge of the true state of affairs would not have changed his opinion one way or another.

[61] The unfolding of Dr. Christian’s cross-examination on that and related matters was uncomfortable to observe.  At times, his demeanour was combative and the entire exchange on the issue of causation called his impartiality into question.  Dr. Christian’s responses to other lines of questioning were also sometimes argumentative and displayed a compromised objectivity.

[62] I am not able to credit Dr. Christian’s assertion that his mistaken impression about the timing of Mr. Sooch’s appointment on the day of the Accident did not impact his opinion on causation.  It plainly did…

[73] Based on the criticisms I have already expressed about the lack of balance in Dr. Christian’s assessment of Mr. Sooch’s pre-Accident soft tissue complaints, and his refusal to concede that his opinion on causation was partially fastened to his misunderstanding about the timing of Mr. Sooch’s medical appointment on the day of the Accident and other troubling aspects of his testimony, I consider it unsafe for the Court to put any stock in his opinion…

$100,000 Non-Pecuniary Damage Assessment For Bilateral Thoracic Outlet Syndrome

Reasons for judgement were released yesterday by the BC Supreme Court, New Westminster Registry, assessing damages for bilateral thoracic outlet syndrome and other chronic soft tissue injuries.
In yesterday’s case (Olson v. Ironside) the Plaintiff was involved in a ‘signigicant collision’ in 2008.  ICBC admitted fault on behalf of the Defendant. The Court heard competing evidence with respect to the extent of the Plaintiff’s injuries and ultimately sided with the Plaintiff’s experts noting ICBC’s expert failed “to consider significant material facts“.
The 19 year old Plaintiff suffered multiple injuries, the most serious of which was bilateral thoracic outlet syndrome.  These were expected to cause a permanent partial disability limiting the Plaintiff for the balance of her working years.  In assessing non-pecuniary damages at $100,000 Mr. Justice Josephson provided the following reasons for judgement:

[60] The plaintiff has proved that, but for the accident, she would have continued her healthy, active and outgoing life style. I accept the plaintiff’s submission that the following injuries were caused by the accident:

1.       chronic soft tissue injuries with myofascial pain in her neck and upper back present on a daily basis;

2.       chronic soft tissue injuries with myofascial pain in her lower back present on an intermittent basis;

3.       chronic cervicogenic headaches present on a daily basis;

4.       exacerbation of her pre-existing migraines;

5.       post-traumatic thoracic outlet syndrome bilaterally;

6.       chronic sleep disruption;

7.       major depressive disorder, presently in remission;

8        post-traumatic stress disorder, presently in partial remission; and

9.       permanent right temporomandibular joint dysfunction.

[61] The accident had a dramatic effect on all aspects of this young plaintiff’s life because of the symptoms listed in the previous paragraph. She has learned to cope as best she can with those symptoms, but is unlikely to fully recover.

[62] Of the several case authorities cited by the plaintiff to assist the Court in determining non-pecuniary damages in the case at bar, the most helpful are Parfitt v. Mayes et al, 2006 BCSC 125; Houston v. Kine, 2010 BCSC 1289; Murphy v. Jagerhofer, 2009 BCSC 335;Prince-Wright v. Copeman, 2005 BCSC 1306; and Ashmore v. Banicevic, 2009 BCSC 211.  The non-pecuniary damages awards in these cases range from $80,000 to $120,000.

[63] After reviewing the authorities cited to me and considering the impact of the proven injuries on the plaintiff’s daily life, I award the plaintiff $100,000 for non-pecuniary damages, which I consider to be a mid-range award for the circumstances of this case.

ICBC Psychiatrist Criticized for Not Being "An Impartial Expert"

In my continued efforts to archive judicial critisism of expert witnesses who cross the line into ‘advocacy’, reasons for judgement were released this week by the BC Supreme Court, Victoria Registry, finding a psychiatrist retained by ICBC failed to provided evidence with “the sufficient degree of objectivity“.
In this week’s case (Drodge v. Kozek) the Plaintiff was involved in 2006 collision.  He suffered chronic pain and cognitive dysfunction following the crash.   ICBC retained a psychiatrist who authored a report and provided opinion evidence to the court which, in contrast to the Plaintiff’s treating doctor, placed less emphasis on role of the collision with respect to the Plaintiff’s complaints.
The Court found that this psychiatrist was not sufficiently objective and placed ‘little weight‘ in his opinion.  Madam Justice Dardi provided the following criticism:

[49] Dr. Solomons is a qualified psychiatrist who at the request of ICBC examined Mr. Drodge on July 9, 2009, and prepared a report dated August 2, 2009. At trial I ordered that certain contents of his report be expurgated, on the basis that the statements were not properly admissible opinion evidence.

[50] Dr. Solomons opined that Mr. Drodge did not sustain any functional brain injury as a result of the accident; nor did he develop any psychiatric condition or disorder as a result of the accident. It is Dr. Solomans’ view that the pre-conditions for the diagnosis of post-traumatic stress disorder were not met in this case. Rather, in his opinion Mr. Drodge presented with non-specific stress symptoms that potentially related to a number of causes, including physical pain, unemployment, financial constraints, and boredom. Other than some stress associated with his financial difficulties, he opined that Mr. Drodge’s present psychological status is “essentially normal”. Insofar as a prognosis, Dr. Solomans opined that there are no cognitive or psychiatric concerns, and that Mr. Drodge has no psychiatric or neuro-cognitive impediments for any vocational activities.

[51] In cross-examination Dr. Solomans admitted that a person could suffer from cognitive symptoms as a consequence of severe headaches. He agreed that headaches of this nature could affect someone’s mood and their ability to work, and that the headaches could therefore be disabling.

[52] Although Dr. Solomons maintained that Mr. Drodge did not exhibit any cognitive difficulties during his interview, the evidence supports a finding to the contrary. In cross-examination he acknowledged that his notes from the interview indicate as follows:

Not had cognitive tests. Then he says did. Query name. Not remember when. About 18 months to two years ago. Not remember the feedback about the test results.

Not recall anything about it at all, not even why he was treated.

Moreover, Mr. Drodge had mistakenly told him he had sustained his back injury in 1986; his back injury occurred in 1996.

[53] In my view, Dr. Solomons was not an impartial expert providing a balanced discussion on Mr. Drodge’s condition. Overall, I found his evidence lacking the sufficient degree of objectivity to be of any real assistance. In the result I have accorded his opinion little weight.