Tag: Mahil v. Price

More Judicial Authority of "Responsive" Independent Medical Exams

One of the New Rules which has received more attention than most is Rule 11-6(4) which deals with responsive reports.  The issue of whether the Court could order a Plaintiff to undergo a physical exam for a responsive report has been considered a good half dozen times.  In short the authorities have held that such an order is possible but the Courts have been conservative in making these orders to date.  Further reasons for judgement were released this week by the BC Supreme Court, Vancouver Registry, addressing this topic.
In this week’s case (Mahil v. Price) the Plaintiff was injured in a 2007 motor vehicle collision.  The Defendants did not order an independent medical report in the timelines allowed by Rule 11-6(3) and brought a motion for an exam less than 84 days before trial.  They argued that they only wished to obtain a ‘responsive’ report and that the report would comply with Rule 11-6(4).  Mr. Justice Voith held that such an appointment was permitted and allowed the order.  In doing so the Court provided the following reasons:








[21] Rule 7-6(1), formerly Rule 30, allows for the conduct of an independent medical examination. The object of Rule 30 was succinctly described by Finch J.A., as he then was, in Stainer v. ICBC, 2001 BCCA 133 at para. 8:

…the purpose of Rule 30 is to put the parties on an equal footing with respect to medical evidence. …

[22] The object of placing the parties on an equal footing is, however, only achieved in real terms if the parties also adhere to those rules which govern the timely exchange of both initial expert reports and responsive expert reports.

[23] The important relationship of what was Rule 30 and what is now Rule 7-6(1) and those Rules which pertain to the time limits for the exchange of expert reports has been recognized in other decisions. In Wright v. Brauer, 2010 BCSC 1282, Savage J. said at para. 9:

In the context of an action seeking compensation for personal injuries, the parties are on equal footing with respect to medical evidence if they can independently obtain medical evidence and if such evidence is served in accordance with the Rules.

[24] In the case of Mackichan v. June and Takeshi, 2004 BCSC 1441, Master Groves, as he then was, said at para. 11:

… It is not simply a question of putting the parties on a level playing field at this stage, it is a question of really balancing the prejudice which will result to the defendants in not having a report and the prejudice that will result to the plaintiff in having a report prepared late which would no doubt, I expect, cause an adjournment of the trial.

[25] If the defendants have Dr. Gropper prepare a properly responsive report, and if that report is delivered in accordance with the Rules, the interests of both parties are concurrently advanced and safeguarded.

[26] I have, based on a request I made, been advised by counsel for the defendants that Dr. Gropper would be able to deliver his report in advance of the 42 days provided for in Rule 11-6(4).

[27] Notwithstanding some misgivings about some of the issues advanced by the defendants, I do not believe that it would be either prudent or appropriate for me to pre-determine that the specific concerns raised by the defendants will not, in fact, be properly responsive to the Reports.

[28] I have, however, earlier in these reasons, identified with some precision the very narrow issues that the defendants assert they wish to respond to in the Reports. These reasons should provide some safeguard against Dr. Gropper’s report extending or straying beyond its permitted ambit, whether inadvertently or otherwise. I note, as did Saunders J., as she then was, in Kroll v. Eli Lilly Canada Inc. (1995), 5 B.C.L.R. (3d) 7 at para. 7 (S.C.), that truly responsive evidence:

… does not permit fresh evidence to masquerade as an answer to the other side’s report.

[29] I am therefore prepared to grant the defendants’ application. Costs are to be in the cause.









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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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