Finally, a win for Plaintiffs.
Judge Kane in Atlantic County recently ruled that a worker who brings claims for emotional distress damages as part of a job discrimination suit under the Law Against Discrimination can’t be made to undergo a Defense Psychological examination.
Usually, in any tort based physical injury or even psychological injury case, a Defendant can often compel exams of Plaintiffs. These exams are most often conducted by doctors who are loyal to defense, insurance and corporate interests, and who rarely, if ever, give fair reports.
More specifically, in emotional distress environments in discrimination cases, Defense psychological exams are most often used to harass, intimidate and bully the Plaintiff into feeling that the process of litigation is so daunting that he or she might as well give up now and go home, rather than submit to an abusive, one sided examination.
Just as commonly, the results of these examinations are questionable at best but often used to deceive and trick juries. Defense lawyers may urge their experts to castigate the Plaintiff for possessing personality disorders or other psychological ailments that made the Plaintiff difficult to work with or which otherwise undermine the Plaintiff’s credibility and/or undermine their Civil Rights.
I applaud Judge Kane’s decision because it’s the right decision. I don’t begrudge my Defense colleagues the opportunity to conduct a true and fair defense medical examination.
But in Law Against Discrimination cases – in other words, cases brought under our Civil Rights statutes – Judge Kane has drawn the line against an often abused discovery tool.
I support his decision and I think it was the right one.