Court of Appeals refuses to hold IME physician accountable for negligence
Dawn Dubuc was a Ford Motor employee when she suffered orthopaedic injuries and a closed head injury in a motor vehicle collision. About a year later she decided that she could not continue to work and began to draw disability. After a number of months, Ford sent her to its Independent [huh--if you believe that, we've got some land in a Florida swamp to sell you...] Medical Examiner, Dr. Adel Ali El-Magrabi. Dubuc's attorney accompained her to the examination solely to observe the "history" given to the doctor. The Doctor felt that Dubuc was not answering cogently and terminated the IME. In response, Ford discontinued her disability benefits and required her to report to work within five business days. She sued Dubuc for defamation and tortious interference with her employment relationship.Two of the three Court of Appeals judges, including the insurance industry's buddy, Henry Saad, concluded that the IME examiner's report (which stated that he could not determine if Dubuc was truthful because she didn't answer "with any creditibality") "did not reflect on Dubuc's reputation." The opinion concluded "While an inaccurate communication from defendant to plaintiff's employer may have given rise to inappropriate action by the employer and liability because of that, it does not constitute defamation." As a result the judges upheld the dismissal of Dubuc's claim against the IME physician and allowed the Defendants to tax costs against her.
Judge Douglas Shapiro wrote a stinging rebuttal, dissenting from the other two judges' decision.