Monday, March 15, 2021

Northumberland County Court Addresses Attorney Presence at Neuropsychological IME

In the case of Ackley v. Johns, No. CV-2017-1757 (C.P. North. Co. Dec. 29, 2020 Rosini, J.), entered an Order only in this Northumberland County case ruling that a representative of a Plaintiff may be present during the entirety of a neuropsychological examination, including those parts of the examination that related to objective evaluations as well as the questioning/interviewing parts of the overall examination.

The court based its decision on a literal reading of Pa. R.C.P. 4010(a)(4)(i) which permits the subject of an examination to have a representative present. The court noted that, while it recognized the distinctions raised by the parties with respect to the objective evaluation part of exam and the questioning/interviewing parts of the overall neuropsychological exam, the court felt that it was bound by a clear wording of the discovery Rule of Civil Procedure.

In terms of the defense concern that the presence or involvement of Plaintiff’s counsel or a representative at the evaluation or examination would taint the examination, the court noted in a footnote to the Order that the defense retained the right to address those issues during the course of cross-examination at trial. [In making this statement, the court did not explain how or why a defense attorney would cross-examine its own expert witness at trial.].

Anyone wishing to review a copy of this decision may click this LINK.

I send thanks to Attorney Cliff Rieders of the Williamsport, Pennsylvania law firm of Rieders, Travis, Humphrey, Waters & Dorhmann, for bringing this case to my attention.

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