Trial Adjourned Where IME’s “Frustrated” Due to Misunderstanding of Covid-19 Related Deadlines
Interesting reasons for judgement were published this week by the BC Supreme Court, Vancouver Registry, granting a defence adjournment request where defence failed to obtain needed defense medical opinion evidence in part due to a misunderstanding of the waiver of service deadlines due to Covid-19.
In the recent case (Sidhu v. Sidhu) the parties agreed that the plaintiff would be examined by a defence physiatrist. When defence counsel selected a date the Plaintiff was of the view that it was beyond the date of the service of reports noting
“We write regarding your letter requesting the plaintiff’s attendance at an IME with a physiatrist.
We do not agree that the Rule 11-6 deadline for service of originating reports 84 days before trial has been suspended. You are now in receipt of the plaintiff’s expert reports. You are entitled to respond to those reports but the time for fresh opinion based on a physical assessment has passed. This is unrelated to the COVID‑19 epidemic.“
The Plaintiff did not attend. Defence counsel did not bring an application to compel attendance in part relying on the assertion of plaintiff;s counsel. In granting an adjournment the Court noted the above premise was incorrect as Covid-19 Notice #8 suspended the deadlines for the service of reports.
The court found that the IME process was ‘frustrated‘ by this misunderstanding and found a trial adjournment was an appropriate remedy. In reaching this conclusion Master Cameron provided the following reasons: