Sean Moore v. City and County of San Francisco et al

Filing 40

ORDER RE DISCOVERY DISPUTE 39 (Illston, Susan) (Filed on 2/27/2019)

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1 2 3 4 UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT 5 NORTHERN DISTRICT OF CALIFORNIA 6 7 SEAN MOORE, Plaintiff, 8 11 ORDER RE DISCOVERY DISPUTE v. 9 10 Case No. 18-cv-00634-SI Re: Dkt. No. 39 CITY AND COUNTY OF SAN FRANCISCO, et al., United States District Court Northern District of California Defendants. 12 13 14 Now before the Court is a discovery dispute letter jointly submitted by the parties. See Docket. No. 39. 15 BACKGROUND 16 17 Plaintiff’s complaint alleges various causes of action arising from an incident with San 18 Francisco police officers in January 2017.1 19 responded to a call from plaintiff’s neighbor who alleged plaintiff violated a restraining order. 20 Complaint ¶16. As detailed in the complaint, the police officers went to plaintiff’s home to speak 21 with him and plaintiff refused to let them inside. Id. ¶18-32. The exchange between the police 22 officers and plaintiff culminated in plaintiff being shot twice. Id. ¶33. In January 2017, San Francisco police officers 23 The issue now before the Court is whether nor not plaintiff should submit to a mental 24 examination pursuant to FRCP 35. Defendants request the exam in light of plaintiff’s diagnosis 25 with schizophrenia and his behavior during his deposition. Plaintiff opposes the exam, arguing the 26 medical records sufficiently detail his diagnosis and render the exam superfluous. 27 28 1 The Complaint says in paragraph 1 that the altercation between the parties took place on January 11, however, paragraph 16 says the altercation took place on January 6. LEGAL STANDARD 1 Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 35(a) gives a court authority to order one party to comply 3 with the other’s legitimate discovery request to submit to a physical or mental examination by a 4 suitably licensed examiner. The party moving for physical or mental examination must meet two 5 requirements: (1) the physical or mental condition of the party must be “in controversy” and (2) 6 “good cause” for examination must be established. Ragge v. MCA/Universal Studios, 165 F.R.D. 7 605, 608 (C.D. Cal. 1995). “Good cause for a mental examination requires a showing that the 8 examination could adduce specific facts relevant to the cause of action and necessary to the 9 defendant's case.” Id. at 609. It is within the broad discretion of the district court to determine 10 whether a party must submit to examination. Shirsat v. Mutual Pharmaceutical Co., Inc., 169 11 United States District Court Northern District of California 2 F.R.D. 68, 70 (E.D. Pa. 1996). 12 DISCUSSION 13 14 Plaintiff’s mental state is in controversy for several reasons. First, in his second cause of 15 action plaintiff places his mental state in controversy by claiming intentional infliction of 16 emotional distress as a result of alleged Fourth Amendment violations. 17 schizophrenia diagnosis goes to his behavior on the morning in question. Finally, the medical 18 examination is appropriate with respect to plaintiff’s competency in light of his statements during 19 his deposition and during the morning in question. Second, plaintiff’s 20 Plaintiff argues the proposed exam is unnecessary because the documents, testimony, and 21 medical records already provided through the discovery process sufficiently detail plaintiff’s 22 schizophrenia diagnosis. 23 available materials relevant to plaintiff's mental health prior to the exams, both as context and to 24 avoid redundant testing. However, the Court is unpersuaded that medical records are equally as 25 informative as a comprehensive forensic psychological and psychiatric exam. The Court agrees that the examiner should thoroughly review all 26 27 28 2 CONCLUSION 1 2 3 For the forgoing reasons, the Court chooses to exercise its broad discretion and hereby GRANTS defendants’ request for a mental examination pursuant to FRCP 35. 4 5 6 7 8 IT IS SO ORDERED. Dated: February 27, 2019 ______________________________________ SUSAN ILLSTON United States District Judge 9 10 United States District Court Northern District of California 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 3

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