Tag: Rule 7-6(1)

ICBC's Part 7 Exam Thwarts Defence Medical Exam Application

As previously discussed, when a Defendant is insured with ICBC their ability to set up an ‘independent‘ medical exam can be compromised if ICBC exercised their rights to have the Plaintiff examined under section 99 of the Insurance (Vehicle) Regulation and if that exam went beyond what was required for a ‘part 7’ opinion.  Reasons for judgement were recently released by the BC Supreme Court, Rossland Registry, demonstrating such an outcome.
In the recent case (Wocknitz v. Donaldson) the Plaintiff was injured in a 2008 collision.  Both the Plaintiff and Defendant were insured by ICBC.  Before litigation got underway ICBC had the Plaintiff assessed by a physiatrist.   As is not uncommon with these types of examinations, the report generated exceeded the narrow scope of Part 7 Benefit needs.
In the course of the lawsuit the Plaintiff obtained their own expert opinion from a physiatrist.  The Defendant’s brought an application to compel the Plaintiff to be assessed by another physiatrist and by a psychiatrist.  They argued this was necessary to ‘level the playing field’.  Mr. Justice Pearlman disagreed and dismissed the application.  In doing so the Court provided the following helpful reasons:

[14] In Robertson v. Grist, 2006 BCSC 1245, at paragraph 14, Madam Justice Dillon addressed the question of whether a Part 7 examination constitutes a first independent medical examination for the purposes of a tort claim. She said this:

[14]      Whether the Part 7 examination constitutes a first independent medical examination depends upon the scope of the examination, given the rest of the circumstances here.  There was no limitation on Dr. Jaworski’s examination and the request letter covered matters that would solely be relevant to a tort action.  The doctor’s report was not limited to a rehabilitation opinion about whether the injuries sustained in the accident totally disabled the plaintiff from work within 20 days of the accident and for a period of 104 weeks or less, the criteria in section 80 of the Part 7 benefits Regulations.  The examination was a first independent medical examination within the meaning of Rule 30.

[15] In this case, the letter from the adjustor instructing Dr. Findlay has not been put in evidence.  However, it is clear from Dr. Findlay’s report that it deals with matters which go beyond an inquiry restricted to Part 7 benefits, and deals with matters directly relevant to the tort claim. ..

[19] In this case, there have been no subsequent unforeseeable events which would, in my view, warrant a second examination by a physiatrist.

[20] With respect to the application of the defendants for an order for an independent medical examination by a psychiatrist, again this is not a case where such an examination is required in order to level the playing field.  This is not a case where the plaintiff has obtained or intends to obtain a psychiatric report.  An independent medical examination by a psychiatrist is a particularly invasive form of examination and, in the circumstances of this case, it is not one that I would be prepared to order.

[21] With respect to the defendants’ submission that because Dr. Findlay provided his report some nine months after the accident, he was not in a position to pronounce in any definitive way with respect to a prognosis, in my view the timing of Dr. Findlay’s examination was a matter that was entirely within the control of the defendants.  That does not provide a basis which would justify an order for a second independent examination by a physiatrist.  As counsel for the plaintiff has pointed out, it would still be open to the defendants to have Dr. Findlay review the report of Dr. Valentine, and the clinical records that have been produced, and to provide a rebuttal report for use at trial.

[22] The application of the defendants for the two independent medical examinations sought is dismissed.

Prejudice To Defendant Not Enough To Compel Plaintiff to Attend "Responding" IME

(Update November 16, 2011The case discussed in the below post has now been published and full reasons for judgement can be found here)
One of the patterns that is becoming very clear under the New Rules of Court is that Parties ignore the 84 day requirement for exchange of expert evidence at their peril.
Often times Defendants apply for an order compelling a Plaintiff to attend an Independent Medical Exam beyond this deadline.  Numerous cases have considered such applications with the argument that an assessment is necessary in order to obtain a ‘responding‘ report under the more generous 42 day deadline of Rule 11-6(4).  Reasons for judgement were recently released by the BC Supreme Court, Vancouver Registry, considering and rejecting such an argument.
In today’s case (Scott v. Ridgway) the Plaintiff was injured and sued for damages.  In the course of the lawsuit the Plaintiff served the report of a vocational consultant.  The Defendant applied for an order to compel the Plaintiff to attend an independent exam in order to obtain a responding report.   The Defendant brought the application after the 84 day deadline.  Madam Justice Kloegman dismissed the application finding that prejudice is not enough to compel an IME for the purpose of a responding report.  The Court provided the following useful reasons:
[6]  I am not persuaded that the plaintiff is required to attend before Dr. Banks in order for the defendant to file a responsive report.  I am aware of the prejudice claimed by the defendant that their expert’s opinion may be given less weight because of lack of examination of the plaintiff.  However, if they are prejudiced, it is of their making and not the result of any conduct of the plaintiff.
[7]  The rules are clear.  They must be obeyed in the absence of special circumstances.  There are no special circumstances here that would allow the defendant to file a report containing fresh opinion.  The defendant will be restricted to analyzing and respond to the plaintiff’s report.
I should note that some previous cases have ordered physical examination for responding report purposes, however, in such cases the Court was presented with affidavit evidence from the proposed expert explaining why such an examination is necessary.
In today’s case the Defendant did provide an affidavit from a doctor but the court placed no weight in it and criticized it for being “lifted from another affidavit sworn by another expert in another case with other expertise than that of Dr. Cook”.
Today’s reasons are unpublished but as always I’m happy to share a copy with anyone who contacts me and requests these.

Defendant Denied Second Medical Exam Despite Potential "Concerns" Of First Expert's Opinion

(Update:  The below decision was upheld on Appeal by Mr. Justice Smith on September 29, 2011)
Although Rule 7-6(2) of the BC Supreme Court Civil Rules permits multiple court ordered medical examinations, there is a general prohibition of multiple exams to comment on the same topic.  Useful reasons for judgement were released this week by the BC Supreme Court, Vancouver Registry, demonstrating this in the context of a psychiatric condition which developed following a motor vehicle collision.
In this week’s case (De Sousa v. Bradaric and Borthwick) the Plaintiff was injured in a 2003 collision which allegedly caused physical and psychiatric consequences.  In the course of the lawsuit the Defendants had the Plaintiff assessed by a psychiatrist of their choosing.  This psychiatrist (Dr. Davis) concluded that there was “no psychosis“.
Shortly after this the Plaintiff was admitted in hospital on multiple occasions.  She was ultimately diagnosed with “chronic paranoid schizophrenia” by her treating physicians.  These records were shared with Dr. Davis but despite the diagnosis from treating specialists he “rigidly and categorically rejected any diagnosis of a psychotic conditions“.
In the face of this clear diagnosis from the treating physicians a second Defence Medical Exam was sought, this time with a different psychiatrist.  The Court rejected the application despite potential “concerns….with the quality or reliability” of Dr. Davis’ opinion.  In rejecting the application Master Baker provided the following helpful reasons:

[13] I am not satisfied at all that in these circumstances, with these facts and history, that a second IME is justified. It is easily as consistent in my mind that the defence now disagrees or is concerned about issues with Dr. Davis’ position and report. It is easily consistent, in my view, that the application aims to mediate or improve upon Dr. Davis’ opinions.

[14] Yes, Mr. McIvor is absolutely correct that the psychosis, if any, was at a fairly nascent stage in 2007 when Dr. Davis saw her and that it has apparently, if one takes the evidence of the plaintiff, become full-blown. Well, so be it. In my respectful view, Dr. Davis is a psychiatrist. He is an expert in psychiatric matters. He has been consulted on, I am told, many occasions. That is not denied. I would expect him to be alive to the issue. He certainly inquired of Ms. De Sousa and very soon after was advised of the psychotic overlay or potential for it and has absolutely rejected that.

[15] In all the circumstances, I just cannot see a basis for the second opinion. It is a multi-stage test, of course. There are aspects of this both counsel have properly put before the court, starting with as Mr. McIvor has pointed out the Chief Justice in Wildemann (1990), 50 B.C.L.R. (2d) 244 (C.A.). It must be an exceptional case that justifies the second IME or one that is required to place the parties on equal footing. I cannot see that in this particular case. What is, I think, concerning the defence, I infer, is concerns they have with the quality or reliability of a report obtained in this specific area of expertise.










[16] The court should be concerned according to McKay v. Passmore, 2005 BCSC 570, that the matter is something that could not reasonably be seen or anticipated or dealt with at the time. Well, again, I do not see that that applies in this case. There was a previous committal for psychotic reasons. Counsel called and advised that she had been to the hospital, possibly not for psychotic reasons, possibly as I said earlier for cognitive reasons; possibly he did not have in hand the medical records. He probably did not. It sounds to me like it was on an emergency basis, but surely that should have given rise to real concerns on the part of any inquiring professional such as Dr. Davis.

[17] The passage of time alone does not justify a second IME. That is true. However, that may be qualified, I suppose, when the passage of time allows for the development of a whole new area of concern or symptomology. Certainly, as I have said already a couple of times, her psychosis has really developed and become much more obvious, apparently. However, I do not think this aspect applies because it should have been evident to a reasonable inquiry at the time that there was a real issue about this…











[21] Yes, this may be developing into a major claim, but that does not change all of the other considerations that I have applied and taken from the cases, all of which lead me to conclude that the application should be dismissed, and it is.

More on Part 7 Medical Exams Barring Tort Exams

As previously discussedICBC can typically arrange an ‘independent’ medical exam (IME) in one of two ways.  The first is when an insured applies for first party no-fault benefits.  Section 99 of the Insurance (Vehicle) Regulation gives ICBC the power to compel an IME in these circumstances.  The second is under Rule 7-6(1) of the BC Supreme Court rules which allows the court to order an independent exam to “level the playing field” in an injury lawsuit.
Two sets of reasons for judgement were recently brought to my attention from the BC Supreme Court, Campbell River Registry, discussing when a previous Part 7 Exam will prevent ICBC from obtaining a new expert under the Rules of Court.
In the first case (Robinson v. Zerr) the Plaintiff was injured in a motor vehicle collision.  In the course of dealing with ICBC for his Part 7 Benefits the Plaintiff attended a medical appointment arranged by ICBC with an orthopaedic surgeon.  In the course of the tort lawsuit ICBC attempted to get an opinion from a second orthopaedic surgeon.  The Plaintiff opposed this.  ICBC brought an application to compel the second exam but this was dismissed with the Court finding that the first report strayed beyond what was required for a Part 7 exam.  In dismissing the Application Master McCallum provided the following reasons:
[8]  The authorities are clear that the Part 7 report can be treated, as it was in Robertson v. Grist, as a report in the tort action if it is shown that it effectively covered all of that ground, as I understand it.  It is clear from Dr. Dommisse’s that it does cover all of what one may expect in a report.   Dr. Dommisse did not have access to the pre-accident clinical records.  However, it is clear he knew of the plaintiff’s history because he describes past treatments and past history…
[10]  Dr. Dommisse went through the examination and gave his opinion.  His opinion is not qualified in any way.  He does not suggest that there is more information he needs.  He makes no recommendaiton for treatment.  There is nothing to suggest that, if he had more information or that he wished more information before he could make the determinations he did.
[11]  The report, in my view, is the same of sufficiently similar to the report in Robertson v. Grist and obtained in circumstances that persuade me that this report is indeed the opportunity for the level playing field that the authorities call for.  The defendant has had the opportunity to have the plaintiff examined by an examiner of his choosing.  Although the adjuster references Part 7 claim and the disability benefits, Dr. Dommisse does not, in my view, treat the report as limited in any way and gives his opinion on every aspect of the claim…
[15]  In those circumstances the defendant’s application is dismissed.
In the second case (Lamontage v. Adams) a similar result was reached with a Court finding that a subsequent exam should be with the Part 7 physician as that examiner covered ground relevant in the tort claim.
The above cases are unreported but, as always, I’m happy to provide a copy of the reasons to anyone who contacts me and requests these.

More on Court Ordered Medical Exams and Travel


Further to my previous posts on this topic (which you can find here and here) further reasons for judgement were released by the BC Supreme Court, Vancouver Registry, addressing defence medical exams and the issue of travel.
In today’s case (Breberin v. Santos) the Plaintiff was injured in a motor vehicle accident.  The Defendants wished to send her for a medical exam.  The Plaintiff lived in Edmonton and argued that the exam should take place there.  The Defendants applied for a Court order to compel an exam in Vancouver.  In opposing the application the Plaintiff produced evidence from her doctor stating that “she is unable to travel….at the present time or in the forseeable future“.
Mr. Justice Willcock was not satisfied with this medical evidence and ordered that the exam take place with the Defendant’s chosen expert in Vancouver.  In doing so the Court provided the following reasons:




[5] The argument made by the parties is, first, for the defendants, that the defendants are entitled pursuant to Rule 7-6 to obtain an order requiring the plaintiff to attend at a medical examination and that the test to be addressed by the court in determining where and when the examination should take place is fully and accurately described by Master Bouck in the decision of Parsons v. Mears, 2011 BCSC 397.  In that case, the court says that the following principles are applicable to the question whether a plaintiff should be examined within British Columbia:

a.         The purpose of an independent medical examination is to put the parties on a basis of equality. It is not for the plaintiff to decide which doctor can examine him or her on behalf of the defendant …

b.         Nonetheless, an independent medical examination is an examination conducted by a person appointed by the court. The convenience of the plaintiff is to be considered in appointing such a person …

c.         Convenience to the plaintiff is but one of several factors for the court to consider in exercising its discretion under Rule 7-6: …

d.         It may be appropriate for the court to consider appointing a specialist other than the proposed examiner but only where the plaintiff demonstrates, on a preponderance of evidence, sufficient grounds to justify the court in concluding that its discretion should not be exercised in favour of the appointment of the defendant’s nominee …

[12] In my view, the logic of Master Bouck set out in the Parsons case is applicable both in relation to independent medical examinations within and outside British Columbia.  I am of the view that the plaintiff’s convenience should be considered in determining where the independent medical examination should take place.  I am also of the view, however, that the onus should fall upon the plaintiff to show that there is a reason to depart from the general rule that the defendants are entitled to choose the expert who should conduct the independent medical examination on their behalf.  Here, the plaintiff should be required to show some justification for requiring that the independent medical examination should take place in Edmonton.

[13] As I noted when I referred to the affidavit filed by the plaintiff in response to the application, there is very little evidence with respect to the nature of the medical problem that will prevent the plaintiff from attending at an independent medical examination.  The independent medical examination is scheduled in the relatively distant future, on July 8, 2011.  There is, in my view, sufficient time for the plaintiff to prepare and make careful arrangements to attend at that examination in July.  This is not a case where the independent examination is set late in the day or in circumstances that prevent the plaintiff from making appropriate arrangements so as to make it convenient for her to attend.

[14] I am not satisfied on the evidence that the plaintiff has established that there is any reason that justifies an order that she should be examined in Edmonton as opposed to Vancouver.  There is, on the other hand, considerable advantage to the parties in having the independent medical examination being conducted in Vancouver in that the expert will be available to attend at trial if required to do so and readily available for cross-examination.  Because the case is set for trial in Vancouver, I am of the view that it is in the interests of justice in this case to order that the independent medical examination take place here.  I am not satisfied on the evidence there is any reason to depart from the Rule that the defendant should be entitled to choose an appropriate expert to conduct the examination so as to put the parties on an equal footing.




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.









Can the BC Supreme Court Order a Plaintiff to Travel Out of Province for an Independent Medical Exam?


Further to my post discussing court ordered medical exams and travel, I’ve recently had the opportunity to review whether the current Supreme Court Rules place limits on Court ordered travel for independent medical examinations.  The line, it seems, is drawn at out of Province “medical practitioners“.
While I’m not aware of any cases addressing this issue under the current rules, the issue was addressed by the BC Court of Appeal under the former Rule 30(1) which reads almost identically to the current Rule 7-6(1).
In the leading case under the former rules (Hewitt v. Buell) the BC Court of Appeal held that orders for medical examinations are to be limited to BC physicians because “the phrase (medical practitioner)…as it appears in Rule 30(1) can have no meaning other than one entitled to practice in British Columbia.  This is what the chambers judge concluded and in my view he was right.
The BC Court of Appeal went on to hold that applications for out of Province examinations with “other qualified persons” (ie- experts other than medical practitioners), can be ordered in rare circumstances.
I’ve now had the opportunity to cross reference this judgement with the new Rules of Court.  It appears that the out of Province restriction for exams with “medical practitioners” remains in place.  The reason being is that Rule 7-6(1) reads almost identically to the former Rule 30(1).  Additionally, the current Rules of Court do not define “medical practitioner” requiring the Court to turn to Rule 1-1(2) which states that “Unless a contrary intention appears, the Interpretation Act and the interpretation section of the Supreme Court Act Apply to these Supreme Court Civil Rules“.
“Medical Practitioner” is defined at section 29 of the BC Interpretation Act as “a registrant of the College of Physicians and Surgeons of British Columbia entitled under the Health Professions Act to practice medicine and to use the title ‘medical practitioner’.”
So, if an out of Province medical exam is contested, a good place to start in opposing a defence application is to review whether the out of Province physician is a registrant of the BC College of Physicians and Surgeons.

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.

Multiple Defence Medical Exams: The Prohibition of "Belt and Suspenders" Applications


While the Rules of Court permit Defendants to compel a Plaintiff to attend multiple medical exams in certain circumstances, there is a general prohibition in having multiple exams to address the same topic.  Reasons for judgement were recently released by the BC Supreme Court, Vancouver Registry, dismissing an application in these circumstances calling it a “belt and suspenders application“.
In today’s case  the Plaintiff was injured in a motor vehicle collision.  In the course of the claim she attended numerous ‘independent‘ medical exams with physicians selected by the Defendant.   Some of these physicians opined that the Plaintiff’s difficulties were not from the collision but due to “opioid dependencies“.
The Defendant asked that the Plaintiff attend a further exam with Dr. Baker, a so -called “addictionologist“.  The Plaintiff refused and an application was brought.  Master Baker dismissed the application noting the general prohibition of multiple exams to bolster a previous opinion.  In dismissing the application the Court provided the following helpful reasons:

[7] To get back to the point, the defence’s position is that some or much of these difficulties relate to, they say, opioid dependencies that have arisen in advance of this motor-vehicle accident.  This is denied or contradicted by the report of her family physician, Dr. Singhal.

[8] Dr. Baker a specialist, in this area, not just of addiction and addiction parameters or aspects of that, but also chronic pain management, I understand.  Even the brief c.v. to which I was referred was impressive.  His membership in various societies, the committees he serves on, all of which impressed me.

[9] Having said all that, I cannot see that this case is in any significant way distinct from that decided by Mr. Justice Voith, to which I just referred.  With greatest respect, at least two specialists for the defence have commented on, concluded, and been quite specifically direct that they regard (the Plaintiff) as having been either habituated, as one — Dr. Smith, I think, said it — or dependent, euphemistically perhaps, addicted to opioids.  This has had consequences for her recovery, or her response to the accident.

[10] I agree entirely, with greatest respect, with Mr. Justice Voith and his impression of the case that he decided.  I agree that there’s no doubt that Dr. Baker has greater expertise on that particular point.

[11] But as Mr. Justice Voith says, that’s not the measure of whether or not to direct an I.M.E.  The phrase — I know it has a pejorative ring to it — but it was used at least a couple of times, once by me — that this is a “belt and suspenders application” by the defence.  They already have expert opinion on the subject.

[12] They were met, from the plaintiff’s perspective, by opposition to Dr. Hashimoto opining on that aspect.  The view, as taken by the plaintiff, that Dr. Hashimoto is not qualified to give this opinion that’s outside his expertise.  They have not taken that perspective in respect of Dr. Smith.

[13] It doesn’t really matter to me whether they did or didn’t, because whether or not a second or subsequent I.M.E. should be ordered does not rely upon the plaintiff’s opinion as to the admissibility of an expert’s opinion, or in fact any other evidence.  That is for the court to decide; and it is, with respect, for the defence to structure its case and its strategies.

[14] I am satisfied, on the circumstances and facts before me, that this does constitute a situation in which the defence is wishing to bolster the opinion of Dr. Smith at least, and possibly Dr. Hashimoto, with the further and yes, more focused opinion of Dr. Baker.

[15] The law in this area does not support that course.  That is sufficient, in my respectful view, to decide the issue.

For the sake of convenience I should point out that the decision of Mr. Justice Voith that Master Baker referenced was Zawadzki v. Calimoso which was recently transcribed and can be found here.

Court Ordered Medical Exams and Location: Can ICBC Send You Out of Town?


When ICBC requests a Plaintiff to attend an ‘independent’ medical exam they often pick physicians in the Lower Mainland for these assessments.  One of the obvious reasons for this is that the Lower Mainland has the highest concentration of physicians who provide these consultations to ICBC.  Is it reasonable to object to such an appointment on the basis of location?  The answer is usually not and reasons for judgement were released today by the BC Supreme Court, Victoria Registry, dealing with this area of law.
In today’s case (Parsons v. Mears) the Defendant was involved in an incident where he became trapped in an overturned tractor trailer.  The Plaintiff “allegedly suffered various injuries when attempting to rescue the Defendant“.  The Plaintiff sued for damages and in the course of the lawsuit the Defendant requested that the Plaintiff attend a Vancouver based medical exam.  The Plaintiff agreed to the assessment but insisted it take place in Victoria.  The parties could not reach agreement on this issue and an application was brought.  Master Bouck ordered that the Plaintiff attend and in doing so provided the following summary of the law:

[19] The following principles are applicable to this discussion:

a.  The purpose of an independent medical examination is to put the parties on a basis of equality. It is not for the plaintiff to decide which doctor can examine him or her on behalf of the defendant: Sinclair v. Underwood, 2002 BCSC 354 at para. 5;

b.  Nonetheless, an independent medical examination is an examination conducted by a person appointed by the court. The convenience of the plaintiff is to be considered in appointing such a person: Willis v. Voetmann, [1997] B.C.J. No. 2492 (S.C.) at para. 5;

c.  Convenience to the plaintiff is but one of several factors for the court to consider in exercising its discretion under Rule 7-6: Adelson v. Clint (1993), 16 C.P.C. (3d) 209 (B.C.S.C.) at para. 17; and

d.  It may be appropriate for the court to consider appointing a specialist other than the proposed examiner but only where the plaintiff demonstrates, on a preponderance of evidence, sufficient grounds to justify the court in concluding that its discretion should not be exercised in favour of the appointment of the defendant’s nominee: Sinclair v. Underwood and Adelson v. Clint, supra.

[20] In terms of convenience to the plaintiff, I do not understand the authorities to say that an independent medical examination should, or even might preferably, take place at the examinee’s town or city of residence. Nor do I understand those authorities to say that all things being equal, the defence should be required to schedule an examination with a specialist practicing near the examinee’s residence. For example, the court in Willis v. Voetmann, supra, deemed it reasonable for a resident of Port McNeil to travel to Victoria or Vancouver for an examination.

[21] It is almost always an inconvenience to a plaintiff to attend an independent medical examination. An employed person might miss a day’s pay; a homemaker with young children might be required to pay for childcare. However, that inconvenience can be remedied at trial by an award of damages for this suggested loss.

[22] On a very rare occasion, the court may order that the defendant’s nominee travel to the plaintiff’s town or city of residence to conduct the independent examination or assessment. Such an order might be appropriate where the examination or assessment is requested so late in the day that travel time would unduly interfere with the plaintiff’s trial preparation. The alternative to such an order would be to deny the defendant’s entitlement to an examination altogether: White v. Gait, 2003 BCSC 2023.

[23] In this case, there is no objection to the qualifications of either Dr. Leith or the proposed evaluator at Progressive Rehabilitation. The plaintiff can obviously travel although the defendant may need to offer special accommodations for that travel.

[24] In short, convenience to the plaintiff is one of several factors for the court’s consideration on this application. It is not the predominant factor and in itself does not provide justification for denying the defendant’s entitlement to the order sought.

Contact

If you would like further information or require assistance, please get in touch.

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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