Testing Your Limits: When the Defense Orders a Mental Examination

Bronx employment law attorneyWhen filing an employment-related lawsuit, especially one involving claims such as hostile workplace or harassment, your Bronx employment law attorney might warn you that you may be asked by the defense attorney to take a mental health examination. There are two possible reasons for this, neither of which has anything to do with the stated purpose of the examination, which is to determine your medical condition. One reason is that the defense attorney wants to scare you into telling your Bronx employment lawyer to drop the lawsuit entirely or settle it for a lesser amount. The other reason is so the defense attorney can use it as a method for discovery to get negative information that you and your Bronx employment law attorney would not voluntarily provide.

When Is a Mental Examination Allowed?

The rules of evidence allow for a mental examination to be administered if ordered by a court and agreed to by you and your Bronx employment lawyer and only if your mental condition is “in controversy.” This latter term is usually interpreted broadly, depending on the jurisdiction, so if your allegations involve any claims of emotional distress at all, unfortunately, your Bronx employment law attorney will warn you that your mental condition might be in play. If your case is going to involve evidence of emotional distress due to your treatment by your employer, then the defendant employer has a right to examine the claims of you and your Bronx employment law attorney to gather counter-evidence.

Many courts have adopted a more restrictive view in favor of a balancing test. Instead, it is not enough that you and your Bronx employment law attorney simply claim mental distress or humiliation to justify a mental exam. Rather, for a mental exam to be justified, you and your Bronx employment lawyer would have to additionally claim one of several factors, such as alleging a specific mental or psychiatric injury or disorder, alleging a specific cause of action for intentional infliction of emotional distress or claiming unusually severe emotional distress. A Bronx employment law attorney can explain all of the factors where your mental condition might come into play.

For more information on pursuing an employment-related lawsuit, contact a Bronx employment law attorney at the Law Office of Delmas Costin, Jr. Call 718-618-0589.

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