IME Physician: Former Partner of Physician
By: Steven Babitsky, Esq.
Is a former medical partner of a treating physician sufficiently “independent” to perform an IME?
The Louisiana court in, Mitchell v. Aramark, Dist. Court, ED Louisiana 2012, held yes, despite the apparent bad blood between the physicians.
The court stated:
Finally, Mitchell argues that even if the Court finds an IME is warranted, it should be conducted by a doctor other than Stokes because Stokes is not an adequately “independent” medical examiner. Id. at 3. This is so because Stokes was George’s former partner, and the dissolution of the partnership was not amicable. Id. Therefore, Stokes has an incentive to find that George’s diagnosis of Mitchell’s was insufficient. Id. In opposition, Aramark argues that Mitchell does not provide sufficient evidence that Stokes will be unable to provide a competent, independent appraisal of Mitchell’s medical condition. (R. Doc. 22, p. 7). Stokes is a qualified medical expert in orthopedic surgery, who has affiliations with six hospitals in the New Orleans area and has served as a Professor of Surgery at both LSU School of Medicine and Tulane School of Medicine. Id.
Counsel has not directed the court to any authority, and the court has found none, which suggests that the Court has authority to make a credibility determination at the IME selection stage. Therefore, the Court does not find that the issue of Stokes’ credibility has merit.