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Tag: Labrecque v. Tyler

More on Responding Medical Reports and Physical Exams: Reconciling the Cases to Date

As previously discussed, a debate has arisen about if and when a Defendant is allowed to compel a Plaintiff to attend an ‘independent‘ medical exam in order to obtain a ‘responding‘ report under the BC Supreme Court Rules.  Very useful reasons were released this week by the BC Supreme Court, Victoria Registry, addressing and reconciling the various authorities considering this issue to date.
In today’s case (Labrecque v. Tyler) the Plaintiff was involved in three separate collisions.  He sued for damages and all three claims were set for trial at the same time.   In the course of the lawsuit the Plaintiff obtained  a report from his GP and from a physiatrist.  The Plaintiff intended to rely on the physiatrist’s report at trial.  The Defendants intended to rely on the GP’s report at trial.  The Plaintiff never attended a defence medical exam in the course of the lawsuit and as the trial neared one of the Defendant’s brought an application to compel the Plaintiff to attend an examination in order to get a ‘responding’ report.
In support of the application the proposed examiner swore an affidavit explaining that he needs to ‘physically examine the plaintiff and ask him the questions a doctor would ask in order to elicit information upon which to ground my opinions‘.    The application was dismissed finding that this falls short of what is required in order for a physical exam to be ordered as part of a responding report.  In dismissing the application Master Bouck provided the following useful reasons reconciling the authorities addressing this issue to date:

[28] In Wright v. Bauer, the court recognized that Rule 11-6(4) “filled a lacuna” in the Rules governing civil procedure in this province: para. 12. Parties are now specifically governed by a Rule regarding delivery of responsive written expert evidence. Prior to this Rule’s enactment, the delivery of such evidence was governed by common law principles.

[29] In that case, the application for an independent medical examination was brought nearly one month before the defence would have been required to serve a responsive report.

[30] In dismissing the defendant’s application, the court found that the applicant had not met the necessary evidentiary threshold justifying an order under Rule 7-6: para. 21.

[31] The same result is found in Boudreau v. Logan and Crane v. Lee, supra.

[32] In contrast, the court in Luedecke v. Hillman was satisfied that an order should go requiring the plaintiff’s attendance at an examination…

[35] In my view, the principles enunciated in Luedecke and Wright are consistent and entirely reconcilable. The difference between the outcomes in these two cases lies in the facts.

[36] In both cases, the court concerned itself with the evidence presented to support the necessity of an examination as well as the question of prejudice.

[37] Here, the evidence from Dr. Piper as to the necessity for an examination is rather general in nature. Dr. Piper refers to the reports of both Dr. Grimwood and Dr. MacKean when in fact the responsive opinion would concern only the latter’s report. Unlike the evidence from the proposed examiner in Luedecke, Dr. Piper does not specifically identify the “medical evidence” (other than the reports themselves) that can only be addressed if a physical examination of the plaintiff occurs. Rather, Dr. Piper’s evidence suggests that an examination is necessary to respond generally to the subject matter of the plaintiff’s case and, as such, is no justification for the order sought: Luedecke at para. 52.

Chambers Practice Update: The Prohibition of Written Arguments

Last month the BC Supreme Court released reasons indicating that parties ought to use Form 32 to provide the Court with “full disclosure of the argument to be made in chambers”. It is good practice to do so because Rule 8-1(16) of the New Rules prohibits written arguments (other than those set out in Form 32) from being relied on in Chambers Applications estimated to take less than 2 hours.  Reasons for judgement were released today by the BC Supreme Court, Victoria Registry, demonstrating this prohibition in action.
In today’s case (Lebrecque v. Tyler) the Plaintiff was involved in three motor vehicle collisions.  The Defendant brought a motion for an ‘indepdendent‘ medical exam but this was dismissed.   During the course of the application the Defendant’s lawyer provided the Court with a written outline of argument.  The Court refused to consider this outline citing the new prohibition in the Rules of Court.  Master Bouck provided the following useful reasons:
Prior to July 1, 2010, provision of a written argument was recognized as good practice and often encouraged by the court — even for applications consuming less than 2 hours.
Since July 1, 2010 and pursuant to Rule 8-1(16), a written argument may only be presented to the court if the application consumes more than two hours.  There is no discretion under the Rule to receive written argument in other circumstances.  This application was estimated to be heard in 35 minutes but took one hour.
Thus, no written argument can or should have been considered by the court.
These observations should not be seen as a criticism of defence counsel whose efforts were no doubt intended to assist the court.  However, it seems worthwhile to remind litigants of the provisions of Rule 8-1(16) so that in the future, the time and expense of preparing a separate written argument is avoided.
As of today’s date the Labrecque decision is not yet publicly available but, as always, feel free to contact me and request a copy and I’ll be happy to provide one.