Legal Memorandum: Necessity of Independent Medical Examinations

Issue: May a defendant obtain a second IME six years after the first by a physician of a different discipline?

Area of Law: Litigation & Procedure
Keywords: Independent medical examination; Physical or mental condition; Physician
Jurisdiction: Federal
Cited Cases: 379 U.S. 104; 106 F.3d 754
Cited Statutes: Fed. R. Civ. P. 35(a)
Date: 06/01/2007

Independent medical examinations are available under the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure upon a proper showing by the party requesting the examination.

When the mental or physical condition (including the blood group) of a party or of a person in the custody or under the legal control of a party, is in controversy, the court in which the action is pending may order the party to submit to a physical or mental examination by a suitably licensed or certified examiner or to produce for examination the person in the party’s custody or legal control.  The order may be made only on motion for good cause shown and upon notice to the person to be examined and to all parties and shall specify the time, place, manner, conditions, and scope of examination and the person or persons by whom it is to be made.

Fed. R. Civ. P. 35(a).  The language of the rule is clear that an IME may be ordered whenever the party requesting the IME demonstrates that a parties’ mental or physical condition is “in controversy” and that “good cause” exists for ordering the party to submit to an examination.  Felmly v. Hills, 222 F.R.D. 257, 259 (D.V.I. 2004).  These requirements, however, do not “mean that the movant must prove his case on the merits in order to meet the requirements for a mental or physical examination.  Nor does it mean that an evidentiary hearing is required in all cases.  . . . It does mean, […]

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