Defendants often request an AMO (“Additional Medical Opinion,” formerly called “IME”) under La. Code of Civil Procedure article 1464 which grants the courts power to order the examination of a plaintiff’s physical or mental condition when in controversy. Increasingly, plaintiff’s counsel will object outright to such examinations or seek to impose onerous restrictions designed to limit or prevent the examination. In Sistrunk v. Florida Marine, LLC, et al, 20-0771 (La. App. 1 Cir. 9/28/20), 2020 WL 575645, the First Circuit rejected limitations sought by the plaintiff and imposed by the trial court.
In Sistrunk, the plaintiff alleged brain injury and psychological problems caused by a blow to the head. In view of the seriousness of the alleged injuries, the defense requested examinations by a neurologist, neuropsychologist, neurosurgeon, and psychiatrist. In response, the plaintiff agreed to examinations but only in areas plaintiff planned to offer medical testimony and under restrictions to include the presence of a third-party and audio or video recording. Although the trial court ordered the AMOs to move forward, it allowed the presence of a third-party who could then audio or videotape the exams. With respect to the neuropsychological examination, the trial court rejected observation by a third-party based upon industry standards which do not allow for such observation.
The defense in Sistrunk sought review from the First Circuit. Without comment, the First Circuit rejected the condition imposed by the trial court that the exams be captured through audio or videotaping. Sistrunk joins similar decisions such as Henry v. Barlow, 06-283 (La. App. 3 Cir. 8/9/06), 937 So. 2d. 895 which likewise prevented audio or videotaping of AMOs. In Henry, the court reasoned that the recording of an AMO would restrict the number of physicians willing to participate.
Brian has been doing defense work for the last 28 years. He has handled all types of defense matters over his career, but in recent years his practice has been focused in serious injury or damage cases and has worked extensively with experts involving complex cases, fire cases, and forensic work.