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Tentative Ruling
Judge Pauline Maxwell
Department 6 SB-Anacapa
1100 Anacapa Street P.O. Box 21107 Santa Barbara, CA 93121-1107

CIVIL LAW & MOTION

Sofia Silva vs Jose Antonio Trujillo

Case No: 16CV03794
Hearing Date: Wed Dec 13, 2017 9:30

Nature of Proceedings: Motion to Compel

Tentative Ruling: The court grants defendant Jose Antonio Trujillo’s motion for a psychiatric examination and orders plaintiff Sofia Silva to submit to an independent mental examination by a psychiatrist (assuming this has not already taken place). The court denies the request for a monetary sanction.

 

Background: This is an action for personal injuries and property damage arising out of a motor vehicle collision. In discovery responses, plaintiff claimed injuries including a concussion, dizziness, headaches, lower back pain, disorientation, numbness in her legs from the waist down, blurred vision, nausea, insomnia, irritability, memory problems, and sensitivity to light. Plaintiff claims she has treated with six different physicians for her alleged injuries, including practitioners of orthopedics, neurology, neuropsychology, and pain management. In correspondence, plaintiff’s counsel has said she is suffering from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (“PTSD”) and has seen a psychiatrist for treatment.

In April, an orthopedist performed an independent medical examination of plaintiff. On November 8, this court ordered an examination by a neuropsychologist. Now defendant moves to compel a psychiatric examination and for a monetary sanction in the amount of $675.

Plaintiff’s counsel says that, after this motion was filed, he agreed to produce plaintiff from a psychiatric examination. He opposes a monetary sanction. He maintains there is no good cause for a psychiatric examination. To obtain leave of court for a mental examination, a party must show good cause. CCP §§ 2032.310, 2032.320. Plaintiff’s counsel says defendant fails to distinguish between the testing that will be done during the neuropsychological and psychiatric examinations, or why the two cannot be combined into a single session to reduce the burden on plaintiff.

A neuropsychologist diagnosed plaintiff with PTSD. Plaintiff has sought treatment from a psychiatrist for PTSD. Plaintiff will be able to call both the neuropsychologist and the psychiatrist as witnesses. Plaintiff does not explain why defendant should not have the benefit of testimony from both types of experts who have examined plaintiff. The court finds that there is good cause for the psychiatric examination.

Defendant has not filed a reply to the opposition, so the court does not have the benefit of defendant’s thoughts on whether the motion is moot or whether defendant still seeks a monetary sanction. Of course, replies are not mandatory.

The court grants the motion and orders plaintiff to submit to an independent mental examination by a psychiatrist (assuming this has not already taken place). As for a monetary sanction, defendant cites CCP § 2032.240(c), which does not apply to a motion under CCP § 2032.310. The court does not find that plaintiff has engaged in a misuse of the discovery process. The court denies the request for a monetary sanction.

 
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