Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Additional Testing for Psych IME Denied by Judge Minora

In  a recent February 10, 2015 decision in the case of Trojanowicz v. Ford Motor Co., No. 2013 - CV - 223 (C.P. Lacka. Co. Feb. 10, 2015 Minora, J.), Judge Carmen D. Minora addressed issues raised by a Defendant in a motion to compel a Plaintiff to undergo additional testing requested by an Independent Psychiatric Medical Examiner in a personal injury matter arising out of a motor vehicle accident.

In this matter, the defense referred the Plaintiff to a psychiatric IME to address the Plaintiff's complaints of post-traumatic stress disorder.  The Plaintiff completed an examination with the defense expert.  The defense filed a motion to compel the Plaintiff to undergo additional psychiatric tests as part of, and to complete, the IME process.

The Plaintiff countered by arguing that the tests were not medically necessary, that the test were not identified to Plaintiff's counsel prior to the evaluation, and that the tests were not even going to be completed by the evaluating psychiatrist.

Judge Carmen D. Minora
Lackawanna County
Judge Minora essentially denied the Defendant's appeal from the decision of the Lackawanna County Special Trial Master as untimely but went on to note how he would have ruled on the merits.  As such, Judge Minora's findings noted below are arguably dicta.

Citing to Pa.R.C.P. 4010, Judge Minora noted that whether or not to allow additional examinations was a decision left to the broad discretion of the trial court.  Given that the psychiatric IME doctor wrote in his initial report that he was able to come to accurate conclusions and opinions based upon the review he had completed to date, Judge Minora found that additional testing would not be allowed.

With respect to the defense argument that there would be no prejudice to the Plaintiff in allowing for additional testing, Judge Minora pointed out that prejudice to the Plaintiff was not a part of the analysis in the determination of whether to require the Plaintiff to submit to an IME.

The court also accepted as valid the Plaintiff's objections noted above with respect to the lack of notice being provided as to the type of testing, the identity of the person performing the testing, and that the additional testing was not medically necessary.


Anyone desiring a copy of this decision may contact me at dancummins@comcast.net.


I send the prevailing Plaintiff's attorney, Christine Lezinski, Esquire of the Scranton, PA law office of Lenahan & Dempsey for forwarding this decision to my attention.



Updates, Trends and Thoughts Regarding Pennsylvania Civil Litigation Law
by Northeastern Pennsylvania Insurance Defense Attorney Daniel E. Cummins
 



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