Court Rules That Defense IME Is Warranted

Personal injury defendants sought to compel an independent medical examination (“IME”) of the plaintiff under Rule 35 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure. Rule 35 allows a court to order a party whose mental or physical condition is in controversy to submit to a mental or physical examination. A court will compel such an exam if a party’s mental or physical condition is in controversy, a requirement that is almost universally satisfied where a plaintiff in a negligence action is asserting mental or physical injuries. The court must also be satisfied that there is good cause to order an examination and specific facts must demonstrate a need for the exam and the inability to obtain the information elsewhere.

Plaintiff had previously declined defendants’ request for an IME on the ground that he had already undergone a Second Medical Opinion (“SMO”) regarding his injuries. The SMO that plaintiff referenced was in connection with an unrelated worker’s compensation suit. Defendants argued that they were not parties to the worker’s compensation suit; they had no input into selecting the SMO doctor; and that the two actions were wholly unrelated and governed by different burdens of proof. The United States District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana agreed with defendants and granted the motion to compel plaintiff’s IME.

McGaughey v. Petty

Trevor M. Cutaiar